[ilds] Wittgenstein

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 14 11:03:10 PDT 2011


True, it's not necessary to bring in Wittgenstein in order to see how Durrell comes up with his ideas.  It is interesting to see how Durrell fits in with the intellectual history of the 20th century, the most important philosopher of which is Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Durrell would probably have been pleased that the Austrian, living and teaching in Cambridge, the hub of analytic philosophy, shared some of his thoughts about "the self."

Bruce


On Mar 14, 2011, at 10:22 AM, James Gifford wrote:

> I'm not sure if LD had any Wittgenstein in his various libraries, but 
> I'll check my files once I'm back home.
> 
> That said, I don't think you'd need Wittgenstein to make this particular 
> point.  There are plenty of ways to access it.  I personally am of the 
> mind that Durrell presents selfhood as suspicious yet a necessary 
> illusion.  The self is, in Nietzsche's sense, hard to find, which isn't 
> quite the same thing as saying it doesn't exist -- for LD, it's also 
> quite clearly subject to change, revision, and may be impossible for the 
> subject to actually locate or identify with any clarity.  However, and 
> perhaps this relates to my earlier comments on anarchism and Miller's 
> views on it, I don't think it's possible to align Durrell with the 
> anti-humanist vision of some forms of Marxism we might find in 
> Althusser.  Durrell's subjects don't appear to be created from the 
> social conditions of production that call subjectivity into existence...
> 
> FWIW, I'm always intrigued by what happens to selfhood or subjectivity 
> when Durrell's characters cross borders, discover a new sexual passion, 
> or are recast by different narrative voices.  Think, for instance, of 
> Bruce's identity in /Monsieur/, especially in the "Macabru" chapter.
> 
> What of selfhood when characters "become members of one another" in the 
> Quintet?  Hmmm.
> 
> Best,
> James
> 
> On 14/03/11 10:05 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>> Is there any evidence that suggests LGD had read or was familiar with
>> the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)? I cannot find any in
>> the Bowker (1997) or MacNiven (1998) biographies, nor in /The
>> Durrell-Miller Letters/ (1988). I doubt that Durrell dabbled in
>> Wittgenstein, although how Pursewarden got his first name is an
>> interesting question, which is probably just a coincidence.
>> Wittgenstein, however, was committed to the idea, in the words of Hans
>> Sluga, "that there is no such thing as the self" (see "'Whose house is
>> that?': Wittgenstein on the Self" in /The Cambridge Companion to
>> Wittgenstein/ [1996], p. 350). This is a big topic in philosophy, and
>> the ideas of a "philosophical self" and an "everyday self" are not the
>> same. Wittgenstein dealt with the former, Durrell with the latter (I
>> tend to believe — but maybe not).
>> 
>> 
>> Bruce
>> 
>> 
>> 
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