Bertrand Russell the Passionate Skeptic: A Biography

By Alan Wood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXII
The Rebel Becomes Revered

RUSSELL received a hero-worshipping welcome back to Cambridge. The largest lecture-room was taken for his lectures, but there were still queues of students outside who could not get in. He was able to meet again his old friends like Moore and Broad and Hardy and Littlewood. Perhaps the one man who was not altogether glad to see Russell back was Wittgenstein, who had succeeded Moore as Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge; a post for which he was somewhat handicapped by his disinterest in the teaching of philosophies other than his own. Wittgenstein seemed violently hostile to Russell. For instance, when he saw the volume on Russell in the American 'Library of Living Philosophers', he was disgusted to notice a facsimile of Russell's signature on the cover. Though every volume in the same series had the philosopher's signature in exactly the same harmless way, apparently Wittgenstein thought the whole series involved undignified display. It was not a very reasonable objection; but Wittgenstein was not always reasonable in his objections to people or things. For instance, he formed an explosive hatred of Sir Arthur Eddington, calling his 'insincere', and saying he would rather be in Hell with himself than be in Heaven with Eddington; but nobody could understand what his objection to Eddington was based on. Once, walking in the Fellows' Garden at Trinity, he flew into a quite inexplicable rage because he saw some tulips among rough grass, declaring that they looked 'artificial'.

At one time Wittgenstein had no chairs in his rooms, so that everyone had to stand or recline on couches; and he dined at Lyons or in early Hall, because he said he could not bear the company of the other Fellows.

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