van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 3 letters relate to feelings - masochism...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Article by Dr. M. B. Medes da Costa
(December 2 1910)
... Vincent ought to have another try. But before long the trouble would start afresh, and then he would come to me in the morning with an announcement I knew so well, “Mendes, last night I used the cudgel again,” or, “Mendes, last night I got myself locked out again.” It should be observed that this was some sort of self-chastisement resorted to whenever he thought he had neglected a duty. In fact, during those days he lived in his uncle's house, Rear Admiral J. van Gogh, director and commander of the naval base at Amsterdam; the house was a big building inside the naval dockyard. Well, whenever Vincent felt that his thoughts had strayed further than they should have, he took a cudgel to bed with him and belabored his back with it; and whenever he was convinced he had forfeited the privilege of passing the night in his bed, he slunk out of the house unobserved at night, and then, when he came back and found the door double-locked, was forced to go and lie on...
Newspaper article
(April 12 1922)
... really don't care, sir.” Also, in those days he was always searching for some outward means of self-denial and self-chastisement. He never sat down at a table, but kept his copybook on his knees. ”Van Gogh, do sit down at the table when you are writing,” the master would say. And Van Gogh would reply: “Oh, don't worry, sir; this is good enough for me!” When he spoke at a meeting, he would read a long discourse he had already written down on paper - a thing little appreciated in that Flemish land. It is known that soon afterward he went to the Walloon country as an evangelist, labouring among the miners; he gave away all his clothes, so that he wore nothing more than a pair of trousers and a jacket; he slept on a plank. But he did not forget his fellow pupils. When he went to see one of them - an army conscript in Mons - he carried under his arm a large portfolio full of drawings of miners - all very stiff and wooden, he...
Exerpt from La vie tragique de Vincent van Gogh
... and lived like working people. But our evangelist very soon showed toward his lodgings the peculiar feelings which dominated him: he considered the accommodation far too luxurious; it shocked his Christian humility, he could not bear being lodged comfortably, in a way so different from that of the miners. Therefore he left these people who had surrounded him with sympathy and went to live in a little hovel. There he was all alone; he had no furniture, and people said he slept crouched down in a corner of the hearth.

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