History + PoliticsPhilosophy + TheoryTeacher Preparation

Wittgenstein’s Stint as an Elementary Schoolteacher (Revealed in Letter to Bertrand Russell)

What I would give for a glimpse of Wittgenstein teaching children my son’s age.  According to sources, it didn’t ultimately go well.  Nevertheless, here’s the text of the letter:

Dear Russell,

Thank you for your kind letter. I have now obtained a position: I am to be an elementary school teacher in a tiny village called Trattenbach. It’s in the mountains, about four hours’ journey south of Vienna. It must be the first time that the schoolmaster at Trattenbach has ever corresponded with a professor in Peking. How are you? And what are you lecturing on? Philosophy? If so, I wish I could be there and could argue with you afterwards. A short while ago I was terribly depressed and tired of living, but now I am slightly more hopeful, and one of the things I hope is that we’ll meet again.

God be with you! Kindest regards.

Yours ever,

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Credit to Open Culture for the find and pic. 

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