Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Typical" Stories

I have been reading some of the stories of Katherine Mansfield in the old 1956 Vintage Books collection.  This has an introduction by Elizabeth Bowen, in which she states that there is “no ‘typical’ Katherine Mansfield story to anatomize.”  My immediate reaction is that there is also no “typical” fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach or symphony by Joseph Haydn (or, for that matter, string quartet or piano sonata).  Then it hit me:  Bowen was up against the same issue to Ludwig Wittgenstein had taken on with respect to our understanding of the word “game.”  However, Wittgenstein’s name did not come up very much in the scholarly discourse of 1956.  The first edition of Philosophical Investigations had been published in 1953, but he was still regarded as an oddity among many philosophers and hardly regarded at all by anyone else.  Perhaps that is one reason by Vintage released a new edition with an introduction by Jeffrey Meyers!

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