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Wittgenstein's Mistress is a novel unlike anything David Markson or anyone else has ever written before. It is the story of a woman who is convinced and, astonishingly, will ultimately convince the reader as well that she is the only person left on earth.
Presumably she is mad. And yet so appealing is her character, and so witty and seductive her narrative voice, that we will follow her hypnotically as she unloads the intellectual baggage of a lifetime in a series of irreverent meditations on everything and everybody from Brahms to sex to Heidegger to Helen of Troy. And as she contemplates aspects of the troubled past which have brought her to her present state―obviously a metaphor for ultimate loneliness―so too will her drama become one of the few certifiably original fictions of our time.
“The novel I liked best this year,” said the Washington Times upon the book’s publication; “one dizzying, delightful, funny passage after another . . . Wittgenstein’s Mistress gives proof positive that the experimental novel can produce high, pure works of imagination.”
gotten to the angle from which Phidias had taken his perspective, the Parthenon almost seemed to glow. Actually, the best time to see that is generally also at four o'clock. Doubtless the taverns from which one could see that did better business than the taverns from which one could not, in fact, even though they were all in the same street. Unless of course the latter were patronized by people who had lived in Athens long enough to have gotten tired of seeing it. Such things can happen. As
paintings too, even if I cannot remember whether Andrea del Sarto or Taddeo Gaddi ever did. In addition to which, Rembrandt's pupils used to paint gold coins on the floor of his studio and make them look so real that Rembrandt would stoop to pick them up, although I am uncertain as to why this reminds me of Robert Rauschenberg again. I have always harbored sincere doubts that Helen was the cause of that war, by the way. A single Spartan girl, after all. As a matter of fact the whole thing was
two are also. Though I naturally possess more practiced equipment for making such a determination, should that become necessary. In either event, what now occurs to me is that the painter was doubtless not a guest in this house either, but more likely was somebody who lived nearby. Which would more readily explain why there are three paintings by her in a house in which there are an inordinate number of books but not one of those books is about art. Being so closely familiar with the painter's
practically never worn a shirt, while rowing. Very likely I was not wearing anything on the day when I played tennis either, to tell the truth. I am still having my period, by the way. Having my period is another matter I do not particularly mean to give any weight to. In this case it is just something that happens to be happening. Although I have lost track of how long it is now, actually. Doubtless I could look back through what I have been writing, and try to calculate that. But I am
it is also partly age, which will sometimes blur certain distinctions. And by now there could well be a question of hormones too, and of change of life. In fact the entire story may have had something to do with somebody sitting in one of Pascal's chairs. And what I had really intended to have said by now was that I was familiar with the names of the writers on certain other of the books from the carton as well, besides the seven by Martin Heidegger. Such as Johannes Keats, for instance.