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Wittgenstein and Modernism

Edited by Michael LeMahieu and Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé

Wittgenstein and Modernism

Edited by Michael LeMahieu and Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé

336 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226420400 Published December 2016
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226420370 Published December 2016
E-book $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226420547 Published December 2016
Ludwig Wittgenstein famously declared that philosophy “ought really to be written only as a form of poetry,” and he even described the Tractatus as “philosophical and, at the same time, literary.” But few books have really followed up on these claims, and fewer still have focused on their relation to the special literary and artistic period in which Wittgenstein worked. This book offers the first collection to address the rich, vexed, and often contradictory relationship between modernism—the twentieth century’s predominant cultural and artistic movement—and Wittgenstein, one of its preeminent and most enduring philosophers. In doing so it offers rich new understandings of both.
           
Michael LeMahieu Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé bring together scholars in both twentieth-century philosophy and modern literary studies to put Wittgenstein into dialogue with some of modernism’s most iconic figures, including Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, Walter Benjamin, Henry James, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Adolf Loos, Robert Musil, Wallace Stevens, and Virginia Woolf. The contributors touch on two important aspects of Wittgenstein’s work and modernism itself: form and medium. They discuss issues ranging from Wittgenstein and poetics to his use of numbered propositions in the Tractatus as a virtuoso performance of modernist form; from Wittgenstein’s persistence metaphoric use of religion, music, and photography to an exploration of how he and Henry James both negotiated the relationship between the aesthetic and the ethical.

Covering many other fascinating intersections of the philosopher and the arts, this book offers an important bridge across the disciplinary divides that have kept us from a fuller picture of both Wittgenstein and the larger intellectual and cultural movement of which he was a part. 
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Wittgenstein, Modernism, and the Contradictions of Writing Philosophy as Poetry
Michael LeMahieu and Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé

Part 1 Wittgenstein’s Modernist Context
1          Wittgenstein and Modernism in Literature: Between the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations
Anthony J. Cascardi
2          “To Become a Different Person”: Wittgenstein, Christianity, and the Modernist Ethos
Marjorie Perloff
3          The Concept of Expression in the Arts from a Wittgensteinian Perspective
Charles Altieri
4          Wittgenstein, Loos, and Critical Modernism: Style and Idea in Architecture and Philosophy
Allan Janik

Part 2 Wittgenstein’s Modernist Cultures
5          Loos, Musil, Wittgenstein, and the Recovery of Human Life
Piergiorgio Donatelli
6          Wittgenstein, Benjamin, and Pure Realism
Eli Friedlander
7          What Makes a Poem Philosophical?
John Gibson

Part 3 Wittgenstein and Literary Modernism
8          In the Condition of Modernism: Philosophy, Literature, and The Sacred Fount
Kristin Boyce
9          The World as Bloom Found It: “Ithaca,” the Tractatus, and “Looking More than Once for the Solution of Difficult Problems in Imaginary or Real Life”
Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé
10        Lectures on Ethics: Wittgenstein and Kafka
Yi-Ping Ong
11        Bellow’s Private Language
Michael LeMahieu

Notes
List of Contributors
Index
 
Review Quotes
Choice
"This is an interesting book. The idea governing the collection is that Wittgenstein can, and perhaps should, be read in the context of modernist art and literature. This is not to say that LeMahieu (Clemson Univ.) and Zumhagen-Yekplé (Tulane Univ.) and their fellow contributors deny that Wittgenstein is a philosopher, but instead that they claim that modernism sheds light on the philosopher's aims and methods. The approach proves fertile, since Wittgenstein always had a strong interest in the arts. However, his literary interests tended more towards Romanticism, in particular the work of Goethe. The one weakness of this collection is that none of the essays addresses the Romantic elements of Wittgenstein's work and whether his purported Romanticism can be reconciled with his purported modernism. Whatever the case may be, this volume will certainly interest philosophers working on Wittgenstein and students of modernism in the arts and letters more generally. Recommended."
Alice Crary, author of Inside Ethics
“The absence of extensive debate about the fruitfulness of reading Wittgenstein through the lens of the idea of modernism—and vice versa—is notable to anyone with even a casual interest in these matters. This book creates a space in which those cross-readings can happen, and I can’t imagine a more successful attempt at doing so. Addressing a wide range of thinkers, texts, and topics, this ambitious and arresting volume should be widely discussed across disciplines.”
Garry L. Hagberg, author of Describing Ourselves
Wittgenstein and Modernism is a model of its genre, a collection of thought-provoking essays bound together with LeMahieu and Zumhagen-Yekplé’s richly insightful introduction. As the volume progresses, its central themes resonate and find variations in sinuous interworkings. We move from the European context of Wittgenstein’s life, to the scope of his influence from his Cambridge base outward to broader intellectual circles, and on to the many interrelations between his work and modernist literature. The result is a book that will be of wide use: for scholars of Wittgenstein, it will immediately take its place as a benchmark contribution, but it should also serve as an illuminating introduction for anyone with an interest in modernism who has not yet looked into Wittgenstein’s thought.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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