I am deeply saddened by the news that Brian McGuinness, eminent Wittgenstein scholar and my very dear friend, is no longer with us. Brian was, for me, the incarnation of 'a gentleman and a scholar'. I met him at my first 'Kirchberg': he welcomed my request to join him at his table Unter den Linden, and quickly dissipated my nervousness upon learning who it was I had just joined for lunch. Brian's impeccable appearance and demeanour never hid his warm humanity and humorous spirit. His scholarship, just as impeccable, was compounded by a formidable memory, psychological acuity, incisive wit, and compelling honesty. Brian never failed to express his thoughts, never skirted the truth, whether it concerned you or himself. I will miss him enormously.
The last time I saw Brian was at a workshop organised in his honour by Alois Pichler in December 2018 near his home in Siena: Editing Wittgenstein’s Nachlass: A Workshop in Honour of Brian Francis McGuinness. The pictures below were taken on that occasion.
Brian McGuinness was a Fellow and Tutor at Queen's College, Oxford from 1953 to 1988 before becoming Professor at the University of Siena, Italy, from 1990 until his retirement. Best known for his translation, with David Pears, of Wittgenstein's Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicus, McGuinness was also an incomparable historian of philosophy. His numerous publications include the universally-acclaimed Wittgenstein: A Life: Young Ludwig, 1889-1921, as well as Approaches to Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein in Cambridge: Letters and Documents 1911-1951; Cambridge Letters: Correspondence with Russell, Keynes, Moore, Ramsey and Sraffa; Wittgenstein's Family Letters (Bloomsbury 2018).