Wittgenstein and Russia
In 1922 Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote to a friend that he was haunted by the possibility of an eventual flight to Russia. About two years later he sent the same friend some newspaper clippings of prize-winning poems by workers, urging him to preserve them. In 1937 he wrote him again that he might go to Russia.  Paul Engelmann, Letters from Ludwig Wittgenstein with a Memoir, Oxford 1967, pp. 52–3, 58–9. In the interim he had spent a short time there. G. H. von Wright, one of his literary executors,  With Rush Rhees and G. E. M. Anscombe (Mrs Peter Geach). writes that in 1935 Wittgenstein ‘had plans for settling in the Soviet Union. He visited the country with a friend and apparently was pleased with the visit. That nothing came of his plans was due, partly at least, to the harshening of conditions in Russia in the middle thirties.’  ‘Biographical Sketch’, p. 16 in Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir, London 1958, by Norman Malcolm. The sketch was first published in The Philosophical Review, 64(1955). Wolfe Mays, a former student, writes that in the early forties Wittgenstein gave the impression in his classes of being ‘distinctively apolitical, despite his desire to live in Russia’.  Wolfe Mays, ‘Recollections of Ludwig Wittgenstein’ in Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Man and His Philosophy, ed K. T. Fann, New York 1967, p. 82.
Subscribe for just £45 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3
- New Left Review: Introduction to Moran
- Jacob Collins: Thinking Otherwise Politico-philosophical profile of Jacques Bouveresse, close friend and colleague of Bourdieu, examining the relation of his large, idiosyncratic body of work to the French philosophical traditions it explicitly disavows. Can thinkers as divergent as Wittgenstein, Musil and Kraus be mobilized to provide a coherent and countervailing ‘Kakanian’ tradition?