Paper $32.50 ISBN: 9780226677156 Published March 2020
Cloth $97.50 ISBN: 9780226677019 Will Publish November 2020
E-book $10.00 to $32.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226677293 Published April 2020 Also Available From

A Different Order of Difficulty

Literature after Wittgenstein

Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé

A Different Order of Difficulty

Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé

336 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Paper $32.50 ISBN: 9780226677156 Published March 2020
Cloth $97.50 ISBN: 9780226677019 Will Publish November 2020
E-book $10.00 to $32.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226677293 Published April 2020
Is the point of philosophy to transmit beliefs about the world, or can it sometimes have higher ambitions? In this bold study, Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé makes a critical contribution to the “resolute” program of Wittgenstein scholarship, revealing his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus as a complex, mock-theoretical puzzle designed to engage readers in the therapeutic self-clarification Wittgenstein saw as the true work of philosophy. Seen in this light, Wittgenstein resembles his modernist contemporaries more than might first appear. Like the literary innovators of his time, Wittgenstein believed in the productive power of difficulty, in varieties of spiritual experience, in the importance of age-old questions about life’s meaning, and in the possibility of transfigurative shifts toward the right way of seeing the world. In a series of absorbing chapters, Zumhagen-Yekplé shows how Kafka, Woolf, Joyce, and Coetzee set their readers on a path toward a new way of being. Offering a new perspective on Wittgenstein as philosophical modernist, and on the lives and afterlives of his indirect teaching, A Different Order of Difficulty is a compelling addition to studies in both literature and philosophy.
Introduction    Difficulty, Ethical Teaching, and the Yearning for Transformation in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and Modernist Literature

1          Wittgenstein’s Puzzle: The Transformative Ethics of the Tractatus
2          The Everyday’s Fabulous Beyond: Nonsense, Parable, and the Ethics of the Literary in Kafka and Wittgenstein
3          Woolf, Diamond, and the Difficulty of Reality
4          Wittgenstein, Joyce, and the Vanishing Problem of Life
5          A New Life Is a New Life: Teaching, Transformation, and Tautology in Coetzee’s Childhood of Jesus

Review Quotes
Cora Diamond, University of Virginia
“Zumhagen-Yekplé’s innovative study connects a great theme of modernist literary works, that of difficulty, with Wittgenstein’s understanding of philosophy and the kinds of difficulty that it presents. A Different Order of Difficulty is enormously illuminating in the connections it makes between philosophical and literary questions—questions that are central in literary modernism and in Wittgenstein’s thought.”
Joshua Landy, Stanford University
A Different Order of Difficulty takes the very best in Wittgenstein and applies it expertly, astutely, and with impressive clarity to Woolf, Joyce, Kafka, and Coetzee. The results are both illuminating and inspiring. Instead of being mere vehicles for the transmission of ideas, modernist fictions become events, experiences, instruments of personal transformation; their opacity sets us challenges which can only be met if we change our fundamental attitude to ourselves and to the world. This is an important book, one which will, I hope, shape thinking on modernist fiction—and on Wittgenstein—for years to come.”
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