The Waste Books

Front Cover
New York Review of Books, 2000 - Philosophy - 235 pages
German scientist and man of letters Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was an 18th-century polymath: an experimental physicist, an astronomer, a mathematician, a practicing critic both of art and literature. He is most celebrated, however, for the casual notes and aphorisms that he collected in what he called his Waste Books. With unflagging intelligence and encyclopedic curiosity, Lichtenberg wittily deflates the pretensions of learning and society, examines a range of philosophical questions, and tracks his own thoughts down hidden pathways to disconcerting and sometimes hilarious conclusions.

Lichtenberg's Waste Books have been greatly admired by writers as very different as Tolstoy, Einstein, and Andre Breton, while Nietzsche and Wittgenstein acknowledged them as a significant inspiration for their own radical work in philosophy. The record of a brilliant and subtle mind in action, The Waste Books are above all a powerful testament to the necessity, and pleasure, of unfettered thought.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Westwest - LibraryThing

A gem. From now on Lichtenberg will rest side by side with my Plutarch Moralia, Gracian Oracle, Montaigne Essays and Scopenhauer Parerga and Paralipomena. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BlackGlove - LibraryThing

Man loves company, even if it is only that of a smouldering candle. Lichtenberg's THE WASTE BOOKS is a book I've been dipping into for years and years. Chock-full of humorous, insightful, wise and ... Read full review

Contents

Notebook B 17681771
15
17721773
31
Notebook E 17751776
61
Notebook F 17761779
79
Notebook G 17791783
109
Golden Notebook Winter 1789
125
Notebook K 17931796
183
17961799
211
Notes
231
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was born in 1742 in Oberramstadt, Germany. In 1763 he joined the University of Gottingen where he studied mathematics and the natural sciences and, in 1770 was appointed a professor at the university. In addition to his scientific writings, he wrote Letters from England and a book on Hogarth's etchings. Lichtenberg died in 1799.

R.J. Hollingdale (1930-2001) was born in London and after serving in the RAF became a prominent scholar and biographer of Nietzsche. Among his many translations are Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, The Anti-Christ, and Beyond Good and Evil; A Nietzsche Reader; Goethe's Elective Affinities; Schopenhauer's Essays and Aphorisms; and a selection of Hoffmann's Tales.

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