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Monk's energetic enterprise is remarkable for the interweaving of the philosophical and the emotional aspects of Wittgenstein's life' Sunday Times. 'Ray Monk's reconnection of Wittgenstein's philosophy with his life triumphantly carries out the Wittgensteinian task of "changing the aspect" of Wittgenstein's work, getting us to see it in a new way' Sunday Telegraph. 'This biography transforms Wittgenstein into a human being' Independent on Sunday. 'It is much to be recommended' Observer. 'Monk's biography is deeply intelligent, generous to the ordinary reader...It is a beautiful portrait of a beautiful life' Guardian.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099883708
ISBN-10: 0099883708
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 37mm)
Pages: 704
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 5-Sep-1991
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » This is one of the outstanding biographies of a philosopher. Wittgenstein's contribution to 20th-century philosophy is immense. Monk manages both to illuminate Wittgenstein's psychologically complex, yet outwardly austere life and to give a sense of the philosophical problems with which Wittgenstein was grappling. Review by Nigel Warburton, author of 'Philosophy: The Classics' (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A first-rate, massive (647 pp.), and accessible biography of the influential Austrian philosopher. Debut book-writer Monk. who studied philosophy at Oxford and York Universities, relies mainly on Wittgenstein's previously unpublished letters and notebooks, plus interviews with the philosopher's family and friends. By deftly juxtaposing anecdotal details with clear, nontechnical analyses of Wittgenstein's philosophy, he allows even lay readers with no background in logic to follow the text. According to Monk, Wittgenstein's struggles with the problems of logic invariably reflected the more personal woes of his frequently tormented life; he rejected family and fortune, had consistently troubled intimacies, and simultaneously longed for and despised acceptance by peers and scholars. Particularly interesting here is Monk's depiction of the long, varied relationship between Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell, which he describes as a changing and complex series of roles. According to Monk, Wittgenstein began as Russell's student, became his colleague and friend, then eventually his master, before communication effectively broke down years later. Also of note is Monk's efficient summary of Wittgenstein's major contributions to modern philosophy, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Reflection. Monk's research is impeccable, his tone nonjudgmental In consequence, Wittgenstein emerges as one of the most complex and fascinating intellectuals of the modern era, Worthwhile reading, then, for anyone interested in philosophy - or creative genius. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Ray Monk

Ray Monk is also the author of Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude and Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Centre. He is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton.

Books By Author Ray Monk

Bertrand Russell by Ray Monk

Bertrand Russell

Paperback / softback, May 2016
Robert Oppenheimer by Ray Monk

Robert Oppenheimer

Paperback / softback, March 2014
Inside the Centre by Ray Monk

Inside the Centre

Paperback, November 2013
How to Read Wittgenstein by Ray Monk

How to Read Wittgenstein

Paperback, October 2005