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Wittgenstein’s Mistress

Wittgenstein's Mistress

It’s frustrating! Rewarding! Brilliant! Difficult!

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of reading David Markson’s famous novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress, maybe you should bring a friend along.

That’s what Kelsey Osgood did.

Kelsey is a contributor to The New Yorker, The New Republic, Salon, and Vice, but even she didn’t feel up to the task of reading Wittgenstein’s Mistress alone. So she read it with Nemira Gasiunas, a Philosophy PhD candidate at Columbia University, whose qualifications for understanding a novel based on the ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein include “a very sage-sounding British accent.”

Osgood / Gasiunas

Osgood / Gasiunas

Now you can bring Kelsey and Nemira along as you read Wittgenstein’s Mistress. Divided into five parts, their smart, funny, occasionally exasperated commentary will help you tackle one of the most enduring novels of our time.

Just grab the book and read along.

Eighty Dollars and No Sense (Pages 1-50)

Alone Again, Naturally (Pages 50-100)

Maybe He’s Just Fucking With Us (Pages 100-150)

The End is Nigh (Pages 150-200)

The Ends (Pages 200-240)

Good luck!

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The End is Nigh

The End is Nigh

Wittgenstein's Mistress

Part 4 of 5

Pages Read: 150-200

In this section–the penultimate for our purposes!–two things of philosophical importance happen. Well, two things that we will discuss, as doubtless loads happen, but we can’t examine each one of them for fear of exhausting the ever-dwindling attention span of the modern day reader (whose diet consists mostly of blog posts). Let’s jump right in, shall we?

“So let’s talk about these books,” Nemira says, referring to an episode that begins on page 160. In this anecdote, Kate goes downstairs into the basement and begins to rifle through a box of books, most of which are in languages other than English. “First, what basement is she in? Is this the space where she’s living now?”

“I thought she was in the basement of her house.”

Her house?” Nemira asks, accusatorily.

“Well… the house that she’s living in now. Whether or not that makes it ‘her’ house is a different question.”

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