By Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin
This is a remarkable book about a man (perhaps the most important and original philosopher of our age), a society (the corrupt Austro-Hungarian Empire on the eve of its dissolution), and a city (Vienna, with its fin-de-siècle gaiety and its corrosive melancholy). The central figure in this study of a crumbling society that gave birth to the modern world is Ludwig Wittgenstein, the brilliant and gifted young thinker. With others, including Freud, Viktor Adler, Arnold Schoenberg, Gustav Klimt, and Oskar Kokoschka, he forged his ideas in a classical revolt against the stuffy, doomed, and moralistic, lives of the old regime. As a portrait of Wittgenstien, the book is superbly realized; it is even better as a portrait of the age, with dazzling and unusual parallels to our own confused society.
Ivan R. Dee, Publisher