Letters by Mary Wortley Montagu

By Mary Wortley Montagu

Immensely realized, self-educated in an period whilst formal education used to be denied to girls, Mary Wortley Montagu used to be an trendy poet, a always scandalous doyenne of eighteenth-century London society, and, in a interval whilst letter-writing were increased to an paintings shape, one of many maximum letter writers within the English language. Her epistles, intended for either private and non-private intake, are the manufactured from a brain uncommon by means of its adventurousness, its indifference to conference, and its eagerness not just to procure wisdom yet to show it with unmitigated variety and beauty.

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28 Autobiographical Consciousness Wittgenstein asks if we cannot imagine that the people around us are automata, that they lack consciousness, and that, for example, the liveliness of a group of children is the result only of automatism (§420). He predicts that we will, in one reaction to this suggestion, find the words, the sentences, expressing this ‘automata view’ of persons becoming quite meaningless when they are, as it were, held up against the reality of the persons. Or as a second reaction to the suggestion, we might momentarily provoke an uncanny feeling in ourselves.

In accordance with the picture, the genuine understanding of another person’s thinking, another person’s thought, would be a metaphysical impossibility; in accordance with a far less neat reality, such understandings, sometimes characterized as genuine in contexts where that word marks an ¹⁸ The reality of those autobiographical processes is far closer, in fact, to what pragmatism might suggest. Very briefly, we would find an individual or group of individuals working within a problem-field of self-or-other understanding—or working within particularized contexts within which the criteria relevant to the determination of the particular issue will emerge as relevant in highly context-sensitive ways that no generalized theory of autobiographical writing or person-interpretation could possibly accommodate.

G. H. von Wright and Heikki Nyman. ’ This idea, of course, co-conspires with those guilty conceptions and pictures, and in giving us a dualistic conceptual model for the content of experience, at the same time gives us a conceptual model for the content of autobiography. At this stage of his reflections the answer to his question is clear, and he wastes no time in answering it. ’ That private object²³ would be the inner object upon which the private diarist introspects,²⁴ and (for our present concerns) it would be the inner representation of world-constituting Schopenhauerian significance, knowable only to the autobiographer, and upon which that self-describing, self’s-world-defining author introspects in order to capture the inner content for which the autobiographical writing serves as external descriptive-narrative counterpart.

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