A pioneering insight into the life and work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, from the author of the celebrated biography, Saint Augustine of Hippo.
After the triumph of his intellectual biography, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Miles Hollingworth now turns his attention to one of Augustine's greatest contemporary admirers: the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein has had more influence on post-war philosophical investigation than almost any other and was the de facto founder of logical positivism, a major movement in the philosophical thinking of the Anglo-Saxon world. Yet he was also an Austrian Jewish refugee and a heedless ascetic, who lived a tortured existence in his final years as a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge.
Hollingworth continues to pioneer a new kind of biographical writing; here the ingredients are the hypersensitivities of Viennese society in the last part of the 19th Century, Carnegie-like wealth, the aesthetic edifice of Teutonic Ordnung, Wittgenstein's mother's tightrope between hysteria and sentimentality, his brothers' suicides -- all compounded with the academic disciplines of mathematical, linguistic and historical philosophy. This combination created a trajectory of genius and eccentricity. The eccentricity speaks for itself. The genius is more difficult to define. There is no way to describe the genesis of genius except to say that it is inborn.
His family, the buns he took to the cinema, his ability to whistle whole concertos note perfect and his Spartan existence -- all these form part of the picture -- but Wittgenstein lived his life precisely -- and note perfectly -- so that there should be no story to tell after its finish. He was in a real sense in control of the narrative, which is what makes this book so compellingly interesting.
About the Author:
MILES HOLLINGWORTH is the author of Saint Augustine of Hippo, an intellectual biography of Saint Augustine. He is also a past winner of the Jerwood Award, the Elizabeth Longford Scholarship and has been shortlisted for the Gladstone History Prize.