Lost archive found

“The archive, around 170,000 words plus mathematical equations, provides fresh insights into the philosopher’s mind and also shines a fascinating light on the complex relationship he had with the man who, as amanuensis, put most of the words on to paper – his young male lover Francis Skinner.”

“It has some eye-popping elements, not least the only known handwritten version of Wittgenstein’s Brown Book – notes from his Cambridge lectures in the mid-1930s. There are an additional 60 pages of manuscript for the Brown Book with a revised opening and other changes.”

“Many of the manuscripts are in the handwriting of the Trinity mathematician Francis Skinner, who plays a leading role in the story of the archive, both as Wittgenstein’s friend and amanuensis (assistant and scribe). One of the most interesting manuscripts urges us to look for the unknown in the familiar as a means of unlocking new ways of thinking.”

“The archive comprises two boxes of manuscript books and papers. When Professor Gibson first opened the boxes, he was stunned by what lay before him. The two boxes contain a series of dictated lecture notes in Skinner’s handwriting with Wittgenstein’s own handwritten revisions and corrections. A series of exercise books contain a verbatim manuscript record of material dictated by Wittgenstein to Skinner with Wittgenstein’s later amendments. These consist of the work that is now known as the Brown Book, with a revised opening, some other changes, an additional 60 pages of manuscript, together with exercise books and papers containing dictation completely unknown to Wittgenstein scholars.”

Advertisements