Translated into English for the first time, the letters collected here bring to life one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
In letters written over forty years, we see how his ideas and relationships developed during his time as a prisoner of war, a school teacher, an architect and throughout his years at Cambridge.
Always frank and often brutally honest, these letters between Wittgenstein, his brother Paul and his three sisters, Hermine, Margaret and Helene are filled with a familiarity and an intimacy. They allow us to enter the bygone world of an extraordinary family, revealing a side of Wittgenstein we have never seen before.
About the Author
Brian McGuinness is Professor of the History of Philosophy at the University of Siena, Italy. Past publications include the translation of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico–Philosophicus (with David Pears) and A Life of Wittgenstein (Volume 1, Young Ludwig, 1988).
The letters Wittgenstein exchanged with his siblings and other family members make fascinating reading for the light they shed on his cultural background, particularly the central role that music played in his life. Here, they are presented in a beautiful edition, superbly translated and edited. * Ray Monk, author of Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius *
There are not many families of the twentieth century as fascinating as the Wittgensteins. This is a valuable and often moving collection. The letters reveal how tight the bonds between family members were - but they also expose the tensions, that led ultimately to an irreparable split. * David Edmonds, co-author of Wittgenstein's Poker *
This beautifully illustrated and edited translation of Wittgenstein's correspondence with his family will appeal to anyone interested in learning more about his life or in exploring connections between his life and work. The present edition includes a new introduction, family tree, an annotated list of people and places and informative footnotes, all of which will be invaluable to readers. * David G. Stern, Professor of Philosophy, University of Iowa, USA *
Wittgenstein fans will want this newly translated, intimate look over 40 odd years into the on-going soap opera that characterized the Wittgenstein family, ranging from personal hurts to life-or-death decisions; ranging from aesthetic, mainly musical, judgments to assessments of the obligations of friendship and family relations. It includes some three dozen newly published letters between Ludwig and his brother Paul. * James C. Klagge, Professor of Philosophy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA and editor of Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy (2001) *
The publication of this, the first English translation of the correspondence between Ludwig Wittgenstein and family-specifically, with his siblings Hermine, Margarete, Helene, and Paul-is an important event. As Brian McGuinness says in his incisive introduction, "The Wittgenstein's were a family that might well have figured in one of the nineteenth century sagas they read." A close but often contentious family, the siblings, especially Ludwig's elder sister Hermine, wrote long and detailed letters to their famous brother; he responded with unusual candor -and often severity-- and so we learn a great deal about the Wittgenstein way of doing things-which was by no means always Ludwig's way. The letters of the World War II years are especially interesting. This excellent translation by Peter Winslow, thoroughly annotated and copiously illustrated, is a real page-turner. * Marjorie Perloff, Sadie Dernham Patek Professor of Humanities, Emerita, Stanford University, Author of Wittgenstein's Ladder *