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Genius and the Dutiful Life: Ray Monk's Wittgenstein and the Biography of the Philosopher as Sub-Genre

From: Biography
Volume 25, Number 2, Spring 2002
pp. 301-342 | 10.1353/bio.2002.0020



This article argues for the existence of the "biography of the philosopher" as a sub-genre of life writing, and identifies a number of coordinates that assist in characterizing the writing, reading, and interpretation of examples of this sub-genre. Exemplifying the need to consider biographies of philosophers on a case-by-case basis, a reading of Ray Monk's biography of Wittgenstein in light of these coordinates reveals a resemblance between Wittgenstein's later thought and Monk's biographical methodology.