Sartre, Marilyn Monroe, Freud, Huston…

Here is a very interesting extract from Elif Batuman’s article in The London Review of Books on Elisabeth Roudinescou’s recent book, Philosophy in Turbulent Times:

…Roudinesco begins by situating Huston’s choice of Sartre as screenwriter within the context of America’s hygienisation, medicalisation and corruption of psychoanalysis. Apparently, the one oasis in America where ‘emigrants from old Europe’ sustained the ‘high tradition’ of Freudian analysis was Hollywood, which Roudinesco represents as a European-operated machine for ‘criticising the ideals of the American way of life’.

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Ludwig in the fjords

Another Helsinki paper, this time from Juha Manninen, one of the profs here. It is on Wittgenstein’s second Norwegian period, during the 1930s.

After writing the Tractatus and giving up philosophy, Wittgenstein lived for a while in a garden shed. His career in Austria as a primary schoolteacher ended disastrously when he beat up one of his pupils, and he returned to Cambridge at the end of the 1920s. There he liked to relax by watching cowboy and other movies. He was a fan of Carmen Miranda, a Brazilian singer who danced with a bowl of fruit on her head, bananas being a particular favourite.

To sample Carmen’s act, see:


Reportedly Wittgenstein only agreed to visit the USA on condition that he got to meet Carmen Miranda. Anyway, the paper doesn’t go into these aspects of Wittgenstein much. Instead it discusses his close reading of the nineteenth century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and its possible influence on Philosophical Investigations, which Wittgenstein worked on while living in a hut by the Norwegian fjords.