Wittgenstein’s ‘Private Notebooks’

Jennifer Szalai at the NYT:

“Private Notebooks: 1914-1916” is a strange and intriguing record — illuminating when it comes to Wittgenstein’s preoccupations, his sexual anguish, his continuous struggles with his “work” in philosophy, along with his intermittent comments about his “job” in the military. (Like other writings by Wittgenstein that have been published posthumously, “Private Notebooks” is a bilingual edition, with German and English printed on facing pages.) Perloff also points out that unlike so many other war diaries, Wittgenstein’s includes very little about the larger stakes of the war itself. One exception is an entry that reads like a startlingly cheerful declaration that his own side was doomed: “The English — the best race in the world — cannot lose! We, however, can lose & will lose, if not this year, then the next!”

Nor did Wittgenstein share the average war memoirist’s sentimentality for his fellow soldiers. In fact, he seemed to despise them, only to clarify that what he felt wasn’t quite hatred but “disgust.”

more here.