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The Waste Books (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – September 30, 2000
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''One of the most compulsively readable books to come out of the 18th-century German Enlightenment.'' -- The Vancouver Sun
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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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Terrific book that belongs on the shelf with Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. Had never heard of it until recently. Wish I had long before.Published 18 months ago by Jack Murray
Wow, check it out. It will not disappoint and your brain will thank you.Published 20 months ago by Downtown Pearl
An insight into the author- perhaps?
Of interest - perhaps - to students of this author's works. Read more