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Showing posts from August, 2009

The House of Wittgenstein - Family at War

Having only read Ray Monk's biography of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, I was a little disappointed that Alexander Waugh, in his House of Wittgenstein - Family at War, chose to portray Ludwig in an unnecessarily harsh light compared to his brother, Paul. Paul was obsessive about music, although this is no surprise when we learn that the piano was this eminent Austrian family's way of dealing with violent and undiscussed emotion, brought about by an overbearing father, Karl, who piled undue pressure on his sons, and a passive mother. Yet one feels that Waugh, just as mad about music, as he is also the Chief Opera Critic for the Mail on Sunday and the London Evening Standard, was using what was supposed to be the biography of a family, because that is what the title implies, as the opportunity only to put Paul in the most favourable light. This is hardly a surprise, for the inside of the book jacket states that it is concerned ultimately with Paul, yet I was also left want…

Currently...

It was brought to my attention that I haven't posted for a while. The reason is that the black dog of depression has had its jaws at my ankles for some time; just when I think I've kicked him away he latches on again! Anyway, hopefully onwards. I've had yet another crisis on 'the novel' and am thinking of scrapping the 35,000 words of my second draft and starting all over again, albeit incorporating sections from both first and second drafts. Isn't that the way it's done? Well, I have to say, I've never felt writing to be this hard before. Maybe it's a sign that I'm becoming more critical of my own writing that will serve it well if I can roll with it, no matter how frustrating that process is. Or it might not be. Whatever. I've been dipping in and out of Francis Wheen's Strange Days Indeed, which I heartily recommend for Wheen's sharp sense of the absurd, which works well when talking about world leaders and their various mental ill…

Reading.....

I'm reading Francis Wheen's Strange Days Indeed, Adrian Gregory's The Last Great War - British Society and the First World War, and Orwell in Tribune, edited by Paul Anderson.

Harry Patch

Guardian/CiF piece asking what we can learn from the anti-war stance of Harry Patch, oldest surviving Tommy of the First World War, who was buried yesterday.