David Markson, author of Wittgenstein’s Mistress, has been awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature for “exceptional accomplishment”.

Wittgenstein’s Mistress (Dalkey Archive Press, 1988) consists almost entirely of one-sentence paragraphs. A few are two sentences. This is strikingly reminiscent of the framework of the TLP and the PI. It tells of a woman named Kate who believes she is the only person on earth. The story unfolds in a series of solipsistic meditations in which Kate attempts to unify her life-experiences, past and present, into an intelligible whole. The itinerant pace of the book reminds me of the turns and returns of the PI. The meandering ends when a panorama emerges and the landscape before one is clear and surveyable. But it is not given – every insight Kate wins is hard-won. How Wittgensteinian.

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