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Private Notebooks: 1914-1916

Private Notebooks: 1914-1916

By Ludwig Wittgenstein
Translated by Marjorie Perloff

Written in code under constant threat of battle, Wittgenstein’s searing and illuminating diaries finally emerge in this first-ever English translation.

"Thanks to Perloff, we can now relate the public notes to Wittgenstein’s private remarks. The interest is not merely voyeuristic: it is emotional and intellectual. As the notes progress, Perloff sees a growing correspondence between public and private. She allows us to glimpse the convergence by quoting selections from Wittgenstein’s uncoded remarks.... These passages are riveting."-Kieran Setiya, Boston Review

"Perloff has done a consummate job of revealing the humanity of this enigmatic figure. This crisp translation acquaints us with a conflicted young man struggling to understand himself and his world... These notebooks will be an invaluable resource for understanding Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus... Perloff’s introduction and editor’s notes are fervent and instructive."-Raúl Niño, Booklist

During the pandemic, Marjorie Perloff, one of our foremost scholars of global literature, found her mind ineluctably drawn to the profound commentary on life and death in the wartime diaries of eminent philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951). Upon learning that these notebooks, which richly contextualize the early stages of his magnum opus, the Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicus, had never before been published in English, the Viennese-born Perloff determinedly set about translating them. Beginning with the anxious summer of 1914, this historic, en-face edition presents the first-person recollections of a foot soldier in the Austrian Army, fresh from his days as a philosophy student at Cambridge, who must grapple with the hazing of his fellow soldiers, the stirrings of a forbidden sexuality, and the formation of an explosive analytical philosophy that seemed to draw meaning from his endless brushes with death. Much like Tolstoy’s The Gospel in Brief, Private Notebooks takes us on a personal journey to discovery as it augments our knowledge of Wittgenstein himself.

Hardcover
240 pages
Liveright, 2022
6.3 x 9.4 inches
ISBN 9781324090809
Theory and Aesthetics, Biography

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