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The House of Wittgenstein

No, I haven't bought Alexander Waugh's The House of Wittgenstein yet simply because buying big hardbacks in a crisis economy is not the wisest move when you've already bought three new books in the past few days! But I will be ordering it from the library. I was, however, in Hatchard's on Piccadilly last Saturday and read the first few pages (they had it on display and everything even though Waterstone's a few stores down weren't expecting it in for another few days!) Ludwig Wittgenstein was a fascinating character. He was neurotic which isn't so fascinating by itself but tiresome as half the population are neurotic. But he focused his unlimited mental energy in pondering 'private languages', although he did spend much time in retreat, up in the Connemara mountains for one. It's easy to see why he made such an impact when he arrived at Cambridge under Bertrand Russell. I read a short work on him a couple of years ago and always remember how, when he went to America, he was found by his friends washing the dishes in the bath - it probably made sense! What I hadn't realised is the struggle his father, Karl, had with his father and how he ran away to America and then returned to set up his own business from which he would become 'stupendously' rich. Ludwig's brother, Paul, was a one-armed pianst, although it doesn't seem as impressive to me when one takes into account the fact that he was able to throw money at composers to write work specifically for the left hand! If you're interested then there's a Telegraph review here which also features an extract here or you can even listen to it here.

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-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-


And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised

***


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

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