This article argues that it is helpful to discuss the logico-philosophical contents of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in terms that confront the poetic and literary qualities of its form and style. To begin with, it analyzes Wittgenstein's short remarks about expression as manifested in the “tone” of Georg Trakl's poetry and the “ineffability” of Ludwig Uhland's poem “Count Eberhard's Hawthorn.” Then it proceeds to consider his exchange of letters with Gottlob Frege about the form and style of the Tractatus. The final part of the article considers such Tractarian metaphors as “showing and saying,” “logical space,” “reflecting the world as in a mirror,” “ineffability,” and “climbing and throwing away a ladder.” The proposed examination concentrates mainly on the distinction—but also the connection—between what, through language as used in both philosophy and poetry, can be said and what can be shown, this being one of the central themes of the Tractatus itself. It is then claimed that the roots of Wittgenstein's later understanding of both “ordinary language” and the connection between philosophy, poetry, and the ethical form of one's life are already present in his first period of creativity.

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