Wittgenstein's Mistress  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Wittgenstein's Mistress is a novel by David Markson. It is a highly stylized, experimental novel in the tradition of Beckett. The novel is mainly comprised of a series of statements made in the first person; the protagonist is a woman who believes herself to be the last human on earth. Though her statements shift quickly from topic to topic, the topics are often recurrent, and often reference Western cultural icons, ranging from Zeno to Beethoven to Willem de Kooning. Readers familiar with Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus will recognize striking stylistic similarities to that work.

Though Markson's original manuscript was rejected fifty-four times, the book, when finally published in 1988 by Dalkey Archive Press, met with critical acclaim. In particular, the New York Times Book Review praised it for "address[ing] formidable philosophic questions with tremendous wit." A decade later, David Foster Wallace described it as "pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country" in an article for Salon entitled "Five direly underappreciated U.S. novels >1960."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wittgenstein's Mistress" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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