One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Reading: Back to Thomas Bernhard

Wittgenstein’s Nephew is an autobiographical work by Thomas Bernhard, originally published in 1982. It is a recollection of the author's friendship with Paul Wittgenstein, the nephew of Ludwig Wittgenstein and a member of the wealthy Viennese Wittgenstein family. Paul suffers from an unnamed mental illness for which he is repeatedly hospitalized, paralleling Bernhard's own struggle with a chronic lung disease.


The author narrates moments of his friendship with Paul Wittgenstein, "nephew" (actually son of a first cousin) of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (not to be confused with the latter's brother, the pianist Paul Wittgenstein). The title is a reference to Diderot's Rameau's Nephew who also deals with the eccentric nephew of a preeminent cultural figure. A very sensitive man, unsuitable for the world, obsessed by an exclusive and cruel passion for music as well as for race cars and sailing, Paul Wittgenstein dissipated his whole fortune and ultimately died poor.

[From Wikipedia:]

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