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PUBLISHER
Badlands Unlimited

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 5.5 x 8.25 in. / 96 pgs / 15 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2020 p. 77   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781943263240 TRADE
List Price: $39.95 CDN $55.95

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In stock

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BADLANDS UNLIMITED

Word Book

By Ludwig Wittgenstein. Introduction by Désirée Weber. Translated by Bettina Funcke. Art & cover design by Paul Chan.

Word Book

Wittgenstein’s dictionary for children: a rare and intriguing addition to the philosopher’s corpus, in English for the first time

“I had never thought the dictionaries would be so frightfully expensive. I think, if I live long enough, I will produce a small dictionary for elementary schools. It appears to me to be an urgent need.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein

In 1925, Ludwig Wittgenstein, arguably one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, wrote a dictionary for elementary school children. His Wörterbuch für Volksschulen (Dictionary for Elementary Schools) was designed to meet what he considered an urgent need: to help his students learn to spell. Wittgenstein began teaching kids in rural Austria in 1920 after abandoning his life and work at Cambridge University. During this time there were only two dictionaries available. But one was too expensive for his students, and the other was too small and badly put together. So Wittgenstein decided to write one.

Word Book is the first-ever English translation of Wörterbuch. This publication aims to encourage and reinvigorate interest in one of the greatest modern philosophers by introducing this gem of a work to a wider audience. Word Book also explores how Wörterbuch portends Wittgenstein’s radical reinvention of his own philosophy and the enduring influence his thinking holds over how art, culture and language are understood.

Word Book is translated by writer and art historian Bettina Funcke, with a critical introduction by scholar Désirée Weber, and accompanied with art by Paul Chan.

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) was an Austrian-born British philosopher, regarded by many as the greatest philosopher of the 20th century. He played a decisive if controversial role in 20th-century analytic philosophy, and his work continues to influence fields as diverse as logic and language, perception and intention, ethics and religion, aesthetics and culture.


Featured image is reproduced from 'Word Book.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

T Magazine

Thessaly La Force

A compelling artifact of a brilliant philosopher.

BOMB

Corina Copp

Word Book goes beyond the practical, Weber says. Matters of responsibility, experience, and authorship in a community are mentioned in prefatory materials and diffuse like light across our current intellectual moment, as if discourse were a mirror made of beveled, baroque Fels (rock), ongoing.

Lapham's Quarterly

Désirée Weber

Wittgenstein’s keen interest in how his students were learning the use of words and their spelling becomes clear through his justifications and explanations provided in the dictionary’s preface. His meticulous choices and attention to detail in how to construct the book helped to “guard [the student] against confusions in the best way possible.”

Vogue

Dodie Kazanjian

Who knew that the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote a textbook for children? Paul Chan did. Chan is an artist and the founder of Badlands Unlimited, which has just brought out Word Book, the first English-language edition of Wittgenstein’s Wörterbuch für Volksschulen (Dictionary for Elementary Schools) from 1926. Chan also provided the illustrations—ink drawings made with his nondominant (left) hand—which manage somewhat miraculously to convey both childlike playfulness and sophisticated meaning.

New York Times

Will Heinrich

Working in black ink at a large scale, and with his left hand (he’s a righty), Mr. Chan achieves a thrilling kind of naïveté. The drawings feel at once guileless and fully formed, like thoughts plucked fresh from the artist’s head.

Believer Magazine

Ryan Ruby

Word Book is less a contribution to Wittgenstein scholarship than an artist’s book. Wittgenstein’s carefully curated list of words becomes the vehicle for paratextual play and for Chan’s striking black-and-white illustrations, whose thick, jagged lines recall the woodcuts of the German expressionists.

Word Book

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/7/2020

Printed Matter presents 'Translating Wittgenstein: A Conversation with Bettina Funcke and Paul Chan'

Printed Matter presents 'Translating Wittgenstein: A Conversation with Bettina Funcke and Paul Chan'

Monday, December 7 at 5PM EST, Printed Matter celebrates the release of Word Book by Ludwig Wittgenstein—the first and only English translation of the influential philosopher’s “dictionary” for elementary children—by hosting an online conversation between Bettina Funcke, the translator of Word Book, and Paul Chan, its editor and publisher. Funcke and Chan will discuss the experience of translating Wittgenstein for English readers, the relationship that binds philosophy and contemporary art and the enduring significance of artist books and publications in the age of digital media. This event will take place on zoom. Click here to register! Purchase a copy of the book from Printed Matter here.
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 11/17/2020

Metrograph presents a live screening of Derek Jarman's 'Wittgenstein,' introduced by artist and Badlands Unlimited 'Word Book' publisher Paul Chan

Metrograph presents a live screening of Derek Jarman's 'Wittgenstein,' introduced by artist and Badlands Unlimited 'Word Book' publisher Paul Chan

Tuesday, November 17 at 8PM EST, Metrograph presents a live screening of Derek Jarman's 1993 film, Wittgenstein. The screening will be introduced by artist and Badlands Unlimited publisher Paul Chan, who will be launching the English edition of Wittgenstein’s Word Book—a dictionary for children—available now through Mast Books. To attend the screening, please join Metrograph here.
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