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Wittgenstein's Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary
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Wittgenstein's Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Marjorie Perloff, among our foremost critics of twentieth-century poetry, argues that Ludwig Wittgenstein provided writers with a radical new aesthetic, a key to recognizing the inescapable strangeness of ordinary language. Taking seriously Wittgenstein's remark that "philosophy ought really to be written only as a form of poetry," Perloff begins by discussing Wittgenstein ...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published March 15th 1999 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1996)
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Recommend as an introductory text to poets, this will give a poststructural sensibility to understanding language, philosophy, thought. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on "Border Games" -- for in a way, games and language go hand in hand to determine our thinking. If we stop and think... we start to look at words differently, especially in this age of "commodification". What is the use of writing... of studying philosophy, if it doesn't improve your thinking about the important questions of e ...more
An engaging, down-to-earth look at the connections between Wittgenstein's aphoristic philosophy and some of the 20th-century writers who've followed his lead up the "ladder of the ordinary." Perloff's at her best with close readings of difficult writers like Stein, Beckett, and Creeley, who flower into comprehensibility under her sharp attention and good sense.

Whether Wittgenstein would recognize his more allusive postmodern heirs is a tough question to answer. Where Wittgenstein himself strugg
Les Johnson
If you start by dipping into Perloff's readings of individual poets you might be disappointed. Not all readings feel right. But, she has successfully adapted Wittgenstein's conception of language games to give a fresh analysis of contemporary language poetry.

"What is the `right' poetry game to be played today?" she asks. Using Wittgenstein's "distrust of grammar" she presses her case for the demise of lyrical poetry and the growth of "ordinary language poetics".

The title of the book 'Wittgenste
First piece of lit crit I've ever read for fun. I'd recommend it as a good introduction to Wittgenstein for English majors. Anyways, that was what I used it for, and I think I've got a bit of a handle on the guy and how he's used in literature. I'm not familiar with most of the other books she discussed either, so it was pretty much just a sit back and learn experience. It did get me wanting to read pretty much everything discussed, so that's something. Also I see myself going to Christmas parti ...more
Perloff writes clearly but vibrantly and makes complex text approachable for beginners like myself.
Stewart Neill
Very complicated literary analysis.
Perloff is gold.
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  • The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets
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  • The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry
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  • Laocoon: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry
  • Wittgenstein's Vienna
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Frank O'Hara: Poet Among Painters The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language of Rupture Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media 21st-Century Modernism

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