Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On the Graphic Novel "Logicomix"



You know, someone out there had the idea that a comic book based on the early academic career of Bertrand Russell, as he searched for a logical foundation for mathematics (if you didn’t know that was necessary, you are not alone) would have a large enough audience that it would be worth it to plow their creative energies into such a book. Logicomix is the result, and it works.

I can say it works because of this.  I have always wanted to try to read Wittgenstein to the point that  I have quoted his work in poetry (even without reading the book – what we cannot speak of, we must pass over in silence).  I have not read it to this point, but this comic made me want to have a go at it.

There’s not many comic books that I can say this about: It made me want to read the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.  One small thing though: it isn’t straight narrative.  It has this unnecessary metafictional frame story about the writing of the book “Logicomix.” It is thus a book about writing a book about philosophers writing about foundational mathematics.  That is not the headiest blurb, but it is well worth it.