Michael Frayn, playwright and novelist

The Guardian, May 31, 2008

He is currently writing an introduction to Constructions, a book of philosophical aphorisms to be republished by Faber, “and I think one of the sources of all this is Wittgenstein, late Wittgenstein.” The undergraduate Frayn’s first encounter with early Wittgenstein, and specifically the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which made Frayn want to dance – or so his tutor once said – but late, mature Wittgenstein, where a confident belief in the direct correspondence between the world and words is replaced by a richer sense, that there is more to language than just pointing at a thing and naming it, is what really appeals now. “We also communicate very extensively with gesture and looks on our faces, and also with just guesswork – making estimates on the basis of almost nothing at all” – the essence, one could say, of dramatic tension.

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