to be frank, i was disappointed that the actual discussion of the myth itself was so brief. most of the book concerns suicide, and although it's diffi...moreto be frank, i was disappointed that the actual discussion of the myth itself was so brief. most of the book concerns suicide, and although it's difficult to criticize camus, i found the arguments throughout to be rather cold. camus frequently displays -- dare i say abuses? -- his talent for writing seamless, compact, seductive sentences that are easy to believe because of their syntactical beauty. however, it seems to me that statements of this sort are to be regarded with special caution. i also find it somewhat suspect that one could write an entire volume on suicide without ever mentioning the word "pain." however, it's certainly an essential exposition of camus' thought. (less)
i read the golden oldie translation first (ralph manheim's [incidentally, i am utterly in awe of manheim, who also translated gunter grass' dog years...morei read the golden oldie translation first (ralph manheim's [incidentally, i am utterly in awe of manheim, who also translated gunter grass' dog years and many other important works from several languages into english]) and then compared it to this nota bene edition.
i could write forever on this book, but i will limit myself to a few comments: first, i am so taken with heidegger's linguistic discussions that i feel as though i'm reading two texts at once whenever i examine chapter 2. second, i've decided to learn german, due in no small part to my desire to read what heidegger actually wrote. third, of the dozens of books i read in several months of hellish disillusionment and hatred of humanity in general, this book helped me the most as i arduously tried to find my way back to myself. (less)
I don't much care for the format: the book consists simply of 600-700 numbered aphorisms, or in some cases simply statements, of Wittgenstein's. There...moreI don't much care for the format: the book consists simply of 600-700 numbered aphorisms, or in some cases simply statements, of Wittgenstein's. There is no real structure, though certain statements follow from those which preceded them.
That said, the numbered statements are really interesting and sometimes quite odd while quite logical. Also, as a beginning German student, it's wonderful to have short statements like this in a bilingual edition. Many words are used over and over again, and it provides excellent practice for reading aloud and thus memorizing new vocabulary.
I know this review says next to nothing useful about Wittgenstein's work itself, but I've never read him before, so I can't speak with any authority about much of anything relating to the content. I do feel that he could explore the linguistic aspect of his assertions in more depth; his discussions of certainty and doubt hinge on the concept of "Sprachspiele" or "language game." So it is a bit frustrating that Wittgenstein fails to discuss the game's significance for statements like "Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius." He asks whether such a statement can be made with any certainty, and yet does not acknowledge the difference between such a statement and "I know that this is my hand." It seems to me that the next step follows naturally: to talk about the fact that what we call "boiling" happens at 100 degrees because we (humans, speakers) decided to call boiling boiling and because we decided to call the temperature at which "boiling" takes place by the measurement "100 degrees." The question of how I know that my hand is my hand or the question of whether a table still exists when no one is looking at it is of a different nature entirely.
Perhaps I am foolish to judge this work as I have; it is a collection of thoughts that dates up to two days before Wittgenstein's death. Maybe he planned to deal with the linguistic issues and never got to it.(less)