- Series: New York Review Books Classics
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: NYRB Classics; Main edition (September 30, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0940322501
- ISBN-13: 978-0940322509
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Waste Books (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – September 30, 2000
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Scientific American
Odd title, unusual book. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) was a German polymath: astronomer, experimental physicist, mathematician and critic of art and literature. In his student days he began the lifelong practice of recording his thoughts, observations and reminders in notebooks that he called Sudelb¸cher after the "waste books" in which English business houses of the time entered transactions temporarily until they could be recorded in formal account books. By the end of his life he had accumulated 11 Sudelb¸cher, which he labeled as volumes A through L (skipping I). Hollingdale, a translator of Nietzsche, Goethe and Schopenhauer, has translated the notebooks. Here he presents excerpts, focusing on what he says are best called aphorisms. Lichtenberg turns out to be quite an aphorist, repeatedly surprising and entertaining the modern reader. Examples: "Whenever he was required to use his reason he felt like someone who had always used his right hand but was now required to do something with his left." "You can make a good living from soothsaying but not from truthsaying." "The book which most deserved to be banned would be a catalog of banned books." "Astronomy is perhaps the science whose discoveries owe least to chance, in which human understanding appears in its whole magnitude, and through which man can best learn how small he is."
EDITORS OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
''Among the great achievements of the German spirit.'' -- Gordon Craig, author of The Germans
''One of the most compulsively readable books to come out of the 18th-century German Enlightenment.'' -- The Vancouver Sun
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
One point to note for this translation: Mr. Hollingdale sometimes omits some part of an aphorism without obvious reasons. Take the first aphorism as an example: the translation reads:'the great artifice of regarding small deviations from the truch as being the truth itself is at the same time the foundation of wit...'; while the original is 'Der grosse Kunstgriff, kleine Abweichungen von der Wahrheit fur die Wahrheit selbst zu halten, worauf die ganze Differentialrechnung gebaut ist, ist auch zugleich der Grund unserer witzigen Gedanken...'; why the phrase 'worauf die ganze Differentialrechnung gebaut ist' is not translated? Sometimes Lichtenberg's idea just keeps rambling, and it makes sense on the translator's part to cut it short, but in some cases Mr. Hollingdale's chopping puzzles me.
All the same, this edition is a valuable one, supplementing the "Lichtenberg Reader" translated, edited and introduced by Franz H. Mautner and Henry Hatfield. Readers who have German can consult the 4-vol. "Schriften und Briefe" edited by Wolfgang Promies (with 2 useful vol.s of "Kommentar"; Hanser Verlag, 1967).
I guess any lover of Lichtenberg would often murmur to themselves: 'May this wonderful man be better known!' And I think this translation has served well to make Lichtenberg better known in many parts of the world.
However, I find hints in here, just as the description says, of a deep influence. It is wittier than most sources, and the quality of thought is rather high. Some may be disappointed at how dirty and uncut these thoughts seem, but in a way it's a good quality. To paraphrase one of Lichtenberg's enigmatic quotations, 'the work wouldn't get done if we did a good job'.
Excellent overall, but less striking than Friedrich Nietzsche or Elias Canetti.
Of interest - perhaps - to students of this author's works.
Nothing spectacular - perhaps - if compared to Nietzsche for example.
It may be helpful for the buyer if more pages are made available for viewing?