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Word Book

Word Book

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In 1925, Ludwig Wittgenstein, arguably one of the most influential philosophers in the 20th century, wrote a dictionary for elementary school children. His Wörterbuch für Volksschulen (or Dictionary for Elementary Schools) was designed to meet what he considered an urgent need: to help his students learn to spell.

Wittgenstein began teaching kids in rural Austria in 1920 after abandoning his life and work at Cambridge University. During this time there were only two dictionaries available. But one was too expensive for his students, and the other was too small and badly put together. So Wittgenstein decided to write one.

Word Book is the first ever English translation of Wörterbuch. This publication aims to encourage and reinvigorate interest in one of the greatest modern philosophers by introducing this gem of a work to a wider audience. Word Book will also explore how Wörterbuch portends Wittgenstein’s radical reinvention of his own philosophy and the enduring influence his thinking holds over how art, culture, and language are understood.

Word Book is translated by noted writer and art historian Bettina Funcke, with a critical introduction by scholar Désirée Weber, and illustrated by artist Paul Chan.

  • Published by Badlands Unlimited, 2020
  • Softcover, 112 pages, 6 x 8 inches 
  • ISBN: 9781943263240
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