The Danger of Words; Drury

by Witty Ludwig

Yet to purchase the book (I can’t seem to find it anywhere for less than £100), I spent a great deal of Saturday reading this in the British Library.

Of particular interest were his memoirs–  I remember Monk commenting that this work was the most Wittgensteinian of anything written by his students and, as much as this becomes apparent quite quickly in his writing, the memoirs, too, are distinct. There is something that little bit more personal about the recollections and it is the way Drury decides that little things are worth commenting on (Wittgenstein’s comment on the lighting at dusk; the writer’s observation of Skinner delicately returning the bugs and slugs to the garden when washing lettuce; the comment L.W. made when giving him a silver cup as a gift; etc.). These little things that he considers important to mention give a great insight into Drury himself.  Where others (Rhees; Bouwsma; et al.) aren’t sure what made Wittgenstein keen on their friendship, it is very easy to see why these two were friends.

A great deal of their discussions focused on religion, which of course was particularly interesting for me.  Especially the discussions on Catholicism and how Drury was clearly haunted to some extent over his decision in respect to Wittgenstein’s funeral arrangements.  I found myself thinking about it at a funeral at the Brompton Oratory yesterday.  It is a harsh and uncompromising faith.

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