Atomic Facts

Russell sat out the war and for a time was imprisoned as a dissenter. Wittgenstein served in the Austrian army, was captured shortly before the war ended, and spent the remainder of the war in a prison camp. In the trenches, he had composed his Tractatus.

—It has nothing to do with anything that matters, his companion Klein told him in Tarnev, near the front.

—That’s what makes it important.


—If it’s said, we can get rid of it.

One morning, a bullet passed through Klein’s liver. Wittgenstein cradled his companion’s head in his arms, said nothing.

Wittgenstein may have hoped for a homosexual relationship with Russell, or he may not have, and everything else remains the same.

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