Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Chronology of his Life & Work

Wittgenstein Day-by-Day

In mid-October 2011, the website will begin to fill in the pages of this chronology detailing the events in Ludwig Wittgenstein's life, and his philosophical thoughts, exactly one century ago.

This will start with Wittgenstein's arrival in Bertrand Russell's rooms, in Trinity College Cambridge, on 18th October 1911. It will continue (circumstances allowing) through Wittgenstein's first period in Cambridge (1911-1913), his first extended stay in Skjolden, Norway (1913-1914), his experiences during the First World War and his detention afterwards (1914-1919), until exactly one hundred years after he succeeded in getting his book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus published, first in German (1921) and then in English (1922). Thus this project should end in 2022.

(Since the dates of each day of the weeks of 1911 don't coincide exactly with those of 2011, the pages will be populated on the correct date (rather than the correct day of the week in question)).

The pages will feature information on what Wittgenstein was doing on the day in question. So, for example, there will reports on his correspondence during the period, the notes he wrote in his various philosophical notebooks, and any diary entries to which I have access. His correspondence and philosophical thoughts will be reported on, but not quoted in their entirety or at length (since copyright considerations preclude that) and not analysed (since the account here is intended to be factual).

It is intended that these pages will constitute a unique resource for following the formation and development of many of Wittgenstein's ideas in 'real time', at the same pace as that in which they occurred to him.

Wittgenstein Day-by-Day - the Future

If and when my University purchases the rights to access the main databases of Wittgenstein's full correspondence and diaries, I hope to offer an email service, to be sent to subscribers, which will detail his thoughts and activities on every day about which we have such evidence. (Where details of Wittgenstein's life on a given day are not known, no email would be sent. Where only what Wittgenstein was doing in a given week (or month, in some cases) is known, a single email to this effect would be sent).

Each such message, having been sent to subscribers, would subsequently be added to the chronological account of Wittgenstein's life and work on this site (i.e., the pages 'Cambridge & Norway 1911-1914', 'Wittgenstein in the First World War, 1914-1919', and 'Ludwig Wittgenstein: Ex-philosopher, Schoolteacher, etc, 1919-1926').

(Caveats: If this service proved to be more popular than I anticipate, and the number of people signing up to it vast, I reserve the right to begin charging a (modest) fee for signing up! (Those already signed up would of course be given the option of no longer receiving the emails at that point). I also reserve the right to discontinue the service if in any way my running it threatens to take over all my waking-hours, or makes me too stressed or too depressed to function normally as a human being).