Happy 80th Birthday, Allan Janik!

Knut Olav Åmås

Allan Janik has been the single most influential thinker in my academic career. His authorship is utmost inspiring, and has shaped my own interests in Wittgenstein and the whole Viennese culture fin-de-siècle. My time in Innsbruck with him as my advisor is a very fond memory.
Knut Olav Åmås
Director of Fritt Ord Foundation Oslo




Bente Angell-Hansen
EFTA Surveillance Authority, Brussels

Styra Avins

For Allan Janik at 80
It is a pleasure and an honor to wish Allan well on his 80th birthday. Always helpful and forthcoming, his Wittgenstein’s Vienna was most important as I was writing about Brahms in Vienna and his extensive connections to two generations of the Wittgenstein family. In the process we became pen pals – maybe even one day in person! Here’s a photo of me wearing my other hat, also of interest to Allan. Good health and many more birthdays is my wish for you!
Hugs from afar,
Styra Avins
Music Historian


Allan Janik and Emil Brix

„Sto Lat” to my friend. We have every reason to be thankful that Allan Janik did not only bring Wittgenstein back to Vienna but that he urges us to apply his concept of critical modernism on today’s world.
Emil Brix
Director of the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna





Erhard Busek

Lieber Allan,
Ich bin glücklich, Dich kennenglernet zu haben. Du hast mit Wittgensteins Wien viel bewirkt, vor allem einen Prozess, der kulturellen Erinnerung an Wien um 1900 ausgelöst. Dir verdanken wir, dass wir ein Stück unserer eigenen Geschichte, Wissenschaft und Kultur wieder kennen.
Von Herzen alles Gute zu Deinem Geburtstag!
In alter Freundschaft
Erhard Busek
Vizekanzler und Bundesminister a.D. Dr. Erhard Busek


Maria Rosaria Egidi

It is a welcome opportunity for me to pay tribute to the eminent colleague and friend Allan Janik and to express best wishes on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
The colleagues of the University of Roma Tre and I personally have had the great privilege of having Allan as a guest in our University and of enjoying his scientific collaboration and his high philosophical competence. I particularly like to remember our last meeting at the University of Siena on the occasion of a meeting in honor of our common and unforgettable friend Brian McGuinness.
Rosaria Egidi
Emerita at the Università Roma Tre

Carla Carmona Escalera

My dearest Allan, I remember with crystal clarity our first encounter in Café im Schottenstift about fifteen years ago (!). If it hadn’t been for Wittgenstein’s Vienna and that exciting cup of coffee, my way of looking at things and my intellectual voyage would have been entirely different! You changed my life in many ways!
Carla Carmona Escalera
Universidad de Sevilla


Christian Erbacher

Allan has been most important for my life as a young researcher: his encouragement has given me hope, his writing has shown to me new ways of thinking, his style has taught me a sense of quality. Allan is an example for me in the best sense, a light in dark times. Happy Birthday!
Christian Erbacher
Universität Siegen




Rune J. Falch

Dear Allan, Happy octogenarian birthday! Your work has been important to me in my understanding of both Wittgenstein and philosophy in general, and it is always a treat to meet you, be it in text or person.
Very best, Rune J. Falch
Wittgenstein Archives Bergen (WAB)





Reinhold Hohengartner

Lieber Allan,
Was wäre Wittgenstein ohne Janik? Einen guten Teil Deines bisherigen wissenschaftlichen Lebens hast Du dem großen österreichischen Philosophen Ludwig Wittgenstein gewidmet.
Für all Deine Arbeit, Dein Engagement und Deine Beharrlichkeit danke ich Dir sehr herzlich! Anlässlich Deines 80. Geburtstages, zu dem ich Dir sehr herzlich gratuliere, möchte ich
Dich bitten, Dich weiterhin so energisch für Wittgenstein und die Wittgenstein-Initiative einzusetzen, wie schon bisher. Alles Gute und viel Gesundheit!
Herzlichst, Reinhold Hohengartner
Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlichen Dienst und Sport

Nicole Immler

Dear Allan,
I still remember our first talk after I finalized my Phd on ‘Das Familiengedächtnis der Wittgensteins’. ‘The book is far too complex’, ‘you need a simplified narrative’ and a long list of critical remarks followed. You were most surprised that I appreciated our discussion. For me it was an important lesson about different academic cultures. Merci!
And all very best wishes for your birthday,



Peter Kampits

Zu all den Lorbeeren die er sich erworben hat, kann und will ich mich in zwei Sätzen nicht äußern – ich vermisse unsere gemeinsamen Auftritte, besonders in Cerisy-la-Salle, wo wir wahrscheinlich noch immer geächtet sind….
Würde es Allan nicht geben, müsste man ihn erfinden!
Peter Kampits





James Klagge

Dear Allan,
As I wrote in the Introduction to my new book Tractatus in Context: “I want to give honor to three scholars in particular. Allan Janik was an inspiration as co-author of Wittgenstein’s Vienna, but I have since come to know him as a friend. His ongoing work has always been provocative, interesting, and original, and his encouragement has been appreciated.”  (The other two were David Pears and Richard Brockhaus.)
Thanks, Allan, and Happy #80!
-Jim Klagge
Philosopher, Virginia Tech



Karoly Kokai

Wittgenstein’s Vienna 1973 introduced the idea of Vienna 1900 to a wider audience. The work on the book was for Allan Janik the start of a lifelong exploration of Austrian intellectual life. His own academic career in Austria since then proves that his diagnosis fifty years ago – e.g. Balkanization of Culture p. 249. – did not lose its validity until today.
Karoly Kokai
University of Vienna




Christoph Limbeck-Lilienau

As a great admirer of Allan’s work since my student days, I had the great chance to work with him in my first academic employment, a research project on the history of analytic philosophy in Austria.
There, I always profited tremendously from his insightful and stimulating input.
His work on Wittgenstein and Austrian philosophy is invaluable for us who work in this field.
I wish all the best to Allan for his birthday.
Christoph Limbeck-Lilienau
University of Toronto



Ray Monk

In print and in person, Allan Janik has been a constant presence in my engagement with Wittgenstein’s work ever since I first read Wittgenstein’s Vienna while a graduate student at Oxford in the 1980s. That book had a profound effect on my understanding of Wittgenstein, enabling me to break free from the limitations of the way he had been understood in British academic life. I first met Allan in person a few years later when I was writing my biography. He was unfailingly helpful and extraordinarily amiable and I have enjoyed his company and learned from his erudition on every occasion I have met him since. Happy birthday Allan!
Ray Monk


Tore Nordenstam

Kirchberg 1977 was the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship.
May we continue to agree and disagree for many years to come!
Tore Nordenstam
Professor Emeritus, University of Bergen





Marjorie Perloff

“Our subject is a fourfold one—a book and its meaning; a man and his ideas; a culture and its preoccupations; a society and its problems.”  So begins Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin’s unique study of Wittgenstein’s Vienna in all its subtle and contradictory manifestations.  Allan has gone on to write many more studies of Wittgenstein and of his contemporary Otto Weininger among others.
Where would we be without these wonderful writings?  And where would we be without Allan’s great company and dry wit??  HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY, young man, from your horribly senior friend, Marjorie!  Oh to be 80 again!
And, as a friend quipped, 80 is the new 79.
Much much love and congratulations,


Alois Pichler

Liaber Allan, Olls Guate zi Deinen 80schten! Und i winsch Dir gonz viel Gsundtheit.

Dein Lois





About ten years ago, after a beautiful conference in Innsbruck, participants got this letter from Allan. I thought it was remarkably well written and to the point. I pinned it on my office wall where I have it till today.

Alois Pichler and Allan Janik / Vienna, April 2016

It was Allan who brought me to the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen.
Alois Pichler
Director Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen





Martin Pilch / Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort

Lieber Allan, danke, dafür dass Du mich immer wieder mit Deiner Begeisterung für die Forschung ansteckst. Deine Ideen und Arbeiten sind uns ohnehin ständig präsent – aber es ist Deine persönliche Aufmunterung und Wertschätzung, sei es in emails oder auf Tagungen oder ausgerichtet von Radmila, über die ich mich immer gefreut habe. Liebe Grüße und alles Gute zu Deinem Geburtstag wünscht Dir





Esther Ramharter

Allan Janik hört man gern zu. Man hört ihm die Freude an der Philosophie an; sie spricht keineswegs nur aus dem Anekdotischen, das er zu erzählen weiß, sondern vor allem aus den Ideen, dem Forschergeist und der Anregungskraft seiner wissenschaftlichen Arbeit. Nicht zuletzt daraus erklärt sich auch der unschätzbare Beitrag, den er dazu geleistet hat, Wittgenstein in Österreich – auch einer breiteren Öffentlichkeit – bekannt zu machen.
Esther Ramharter
Universität Wien



Simo Säätelä

Dear Allan,
congratulations on your birthday! You are truly an ever-fixed mark among the changing constellations of Wittgenstein interpretation, and a continuing source of inspiration. I wish you many productive years, and look forward to seeing you in Bergen soon again!
on behalf of the Nordic Wittgenstein Review
Simo Säätelä
Editor-in-chief, Nordic Wittgenstein Review, University of Bergen



Roman Sandgruber

Lieber Allan Janik,
so lange, seit meinen wissenschaftlichen Anfängen in den Gesprächen bei der Österreichischen Forschungsgemeinschaft, begleiten Sie meine wissenschaftliche Arbeit. Dass ich mich einmal so nahe an Ihr “Wittgensteins Wien” und an das Wien der Jahrhundertwende heranwagen werde, war mir damals noch gar nicht bewusst. In meinen beiden Büchern “Traumzeit für Millionäre” und “Rothschild. Glanz und Untergang des Wiener Welthauses” habe ich unendlich viel von Ihren Pionierarbeiten profitiert.
Danke und noch viel Freude und vor allem auch Gesundheit wünscht
Roman Sandgruber / Johannes-Kepler-Universität Linz


Gerhard Schmezer

Through decades of extraordinary scholarship, Allan Janik has indelibly marked the world of Wittgenstein research with his representation of Wittgenstein as a philosopher, thinker and man of his time. Moreover, he has done so with such remarkable generosity and warmth, sharing with innumerable researchers his knowledge and offering them his amiable support … to say nothing of his good-hearted humor! From one of his many readers, admirers and friends: ad multos annos!
Gerhard Schmezer (Université Paris 8)



Alfred Schmidt

Lieber Allan, zu Deinem runden Geburtstag alles, alles Gute, vor allem viel Energie für Deine weitere Forschung.
Ich denke, Du kannst stolz darauf sein, Wittgenstein – zumindest ein Stück weit – wieder zurück nach Wien geholt zu haben, wo seine geistige Heimat war. Danke für Deine vielen wertvollen Beiträge zu unserem Wittgenstein-Bild heute!
Alfred Schmidt / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek




Joachim Schulte and Allan Janik, November 2018

When I was reminded of Allan’s imminent 80th birthday I started wondering when and on which occasion I first met him. Now I recall: it was in April 1980 in London at a colloquium on Austrian philosophy and politics. I cannot quite remember, though, what Allan’s paper was about, but I’m fairly sure that Wittgenstein and Vienna came into it. It must have been around the same time that I read Wittgenstein’s Vienna, and I’ve admired Allan’s work ever since. Happy birthday, Allan!
Joachim Schulte


Radmila Schweitzer

Dear Allan!
You were the first ever Wittgenstein scholar I met and it was certainly your humanity and generosity in sharing your knowledge that enticed me to go on this improbable Wittgenstein journey in Vienna. Everything you taught me, even if I doubted it at first, turned out to be true. Especially that trying honestly to grasp Wittgenstein is like being hit with a wet rag across the face. Thank you for teaching me humility.
Happy Birthday and many happy returns! (we need you for a long time to come)
Radmila Schweitzer / Wittgenstein Initiative

Wittgenstein’s effect, according to Allan Janik / photo via Twitter


Annick Sjögren & Allan Janik Valevägen, 2007

from Annick & Andreas Sjögren in Stockholm

All our best wishes  and  welcome among the 80+.
To so many good memories of the past 35 years
and, hopefully, to many of the coming ones
with Hermann, Fanny & company,
not forgetting exchange of our best recipes,




Antonia Soulez

J’ai le bonheur d’avoir l’occasion de m’exprimer au sujet d’Allan Janik dont j’ai pu apprécier la verve philosophique dans les années où je me suis attachée à faire connaitre la pensée de Wittgenstein dans un pays,  la France,  où sa réception n’était pas encore évidente ni (‘ailleurs celle du Cercle de Vienne, bien inconnu chez nous. Bénéficiant des encouragements de Brian McGuinness alors installé et actif à Sienne en Italie, j’ai pu  bénéficier auprès de lui aussi de sa reconnaissance relative à mes travaux qui bientôt bifurquèrent sur la musique. Des séminaires tenus grâce à son soutien au Brenner Insitut, à Innsbruck,  ouverts à l’art, furent du coup une chance confirmant l’intérêt que le paradigme de l’art représentait à mes yeux pour comprendre Wittgenstein . S’offraient ensuite  des échanges avec les jeunes aspirants à la connaissance plus experte de la philosophie autrichienne dans les trois pays d’où ressortissaient les jeunes chercheurs, Norvège, Autriche et France. Nous nous rencontrions aussi à Kirchberg toujours avec enthousiasme, mais aussi dernièrement à Paris à l’occasion d’une soutenance de thèse sur Otto Neurath, d’une chercheuse turque ayant travaillé sous la direction de Christiane Chauviré. Enfin, il me fit le grand honneur de présenter un discours à la Sorbonne en hommage à mes travaux sur Wittgenstein et ses rapports avec le Cercle de Vienne, dans une journée du séminaire parisien, alors dirigé par Sandra Laugier et dédié aux Dictées de Wittgenstein sur Waismann et pour Schlick que nous avions traduites et commentées en collaboration avec Gordon Baker. Il s’était déplacé exprès. Je lui en sus profondément gré. Ses écrits sur les ressemblances de famille et son point de vue «  artisanal »  sur  la philosophie de Wittgenstein au contact de grands penseurs autrichiens des formes, en lien avec l’édification de formes de vie  à la hauteur d’une conception sociale et politique, dans le contexte viennois d’entre-deux-guerres,  eurent sur moi une importance qui continue d’influer sur mon travail, ainsi celui que je mène aujourd’hui dans le champ de la composition musicale. Il avait un style passionné  d’exposé que je ne peux oublier. Bon anniversaire, Allan !
Antonia Soulez,  agrégée,  docteur d’état, émérite de philosophie, Université de Paris.


Walter Springer

Dear Allan,
I wish to extend to you my best wishes regarding your 80th birthday! As a highly esteemed member of the international Wittgenstein community you have played a decisive role in launching the initiative „Bringing Wittgenstein back home to Vienna“  as being one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century in the rest of the world. Your prospective activities concerning Ludwig Wittgenstein will be highly appreciated as ever.
Ad multos annos!
Walter Springer



Café Engländer, 31.1.2014
Friedrich Stadler & Allan Janik








Allan is one of the most important pioneers and scholars in the field of Wittgenstein research in cultural context. For my generation his pathbreaking co-authored “Wittgenstein’s Vienna” opened the world to a comprehensive and deep investigation of Wittgenstein’s life and work and Austrian philosophy.
Besides this unique inspiration I had the honor to enjoy his personal friendship and scholarly cooperation since the 1970s – with a lot of amicable conversations, also in Viennese coffee houses.
Dear Allan, in the hope of the continuation of these pleasing encounters let me express my congratulations and best wishes to you on the occasion of your 80th birthday.
Fritz (Stadler) / Institute Vienna Circle


Perspektivenweg, Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen. Snøhetta 2018.


Kjetil Thorsen, Founding Partner of Snøhetta

Dear Allan,
What would our Perspektivenweg have been without Wittgenstein and you? The meaning is embedded in the direct experience of words, sight and object. Let us continue to investigate real transitions of seemingly abstract notions!
Happy birthday Allan,
from all us at Snøhetta, from Studio Innsbruck and Patrick and from me,
Try to rotate the 8 ninety degrees.



Arild Utaker

Dear Allan, best wishes with my memory of Chantilly, Dominique and Paris!
Arild Utaker






Nuno Venturinha

I first met Allan Janik in the winter of 2004. I was writing my doctoral thesis on Wittgenstein and went to Innsbruck for a short-term research stay at the Brenner Archives. Ilse Somavilla introduced us soon after my arrival and Allan kindly invited me to his tenth-floor office with a wonderful view of the high mountains. After a pleasant conversation, he offered me the use of a vacant desk in his office and generously put in my hands some unpublished writings on Wittgenstein, Weininger and others, which would later make their way into Assembling Reminders. I learned a lot from him about Wittgenstein, his influences and philosophical method, and feel fortunate to have benefited from his mentorship. We have been friends since then. Happy 80th birthday!
Nuno Venturinha, NOVA University of Lisbon


Reception for Allan at WAB 30 October 2015 / photo: Rune J. Falch

Dear Allan,
Our warmest congratulations and most indebted thanks on your 80th birthday! Without you the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen would not be what it is. Your support, advice and contributions from the very beginning have been invaluable – thank you, and here is to many more years of friendship and cooperation! Very best,
Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen (WAB)


Thomas Wallgren

Allan Janik is 80 today. It is a good time to celebrate, also from Helsinki, Finland. Allan’s inspiring contributions over more than half a century to scholarship with depth and charm and with a bite far beyond the confines of the specialties of Wittgenstein-studies. Thank you, Allan, for keeping Wittgenstein, and me, alive and for inspiring conversations over the years.
Thomas Wallgren
Director of the Von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives
University of Helsinki



Joseph Wang-Kathrein

Dear Allan! You have heard this from me many times; still I think I should say this again: ‘Thank you!’
Joseph Wang-Kathrein / University of Inssbruck






Anja Weiberg

Lieber Allan,
es war und ist immer wieder eine Freude, Dir zu begegnen – in intellektueller wie in menschlicher Hinsicht. Unvergesslich auch Deine großartige Betreuung bei der Konferenz in Innsbruck 2004.
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag – lasse Dich feiern!!
Liebe Grüße,




Paul Wijdeveld, Amsterdam


Hans-Peter Wipplinger

Lieber Allan,
Du kamst in den schweren Zeiten des zweiten, apokalyptischen Weltenbrandes des 20. Jahrhunderts in den Vereinigten Staaten zur Welt und hast Dich in einer postmodern-geprägten Zeit mit den geistigen Errungenschaften der Moderne vertraut gemacht. Amerikanische Wissenschaftler wie Carl Schorske, Eric Kandel und Du haben mit dem analytischen Blick von außen das Innerste der Wiener Moderne ergründet. Dein Buch Wittgensteins Wien zählt längst zu den Klassikern der Kultur- und Philosophiegeschichte und ist doch von ungebrochener Aktualität. Der Erfolg der neuen Wien 1900. Aufbruch in die Moderne-Dauerausstellung im Leopold Museum wurzelt im profunden geisteswissenschaftlichen Fundament der Präsentation. Als Teil des Expert*innengremiums und als Autor des Beitrages Wiens Kultur und Gesellschaft um 1900 im Ausstellungskatalog hast Du Dein Wissen dem Leopold Museum großzügig zur Verfügung gestellt. Dafür danke ich Dir und gratuliere Dir von Herzen zum 80. Geburtstag.
Dein Hans-Peter
Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Direktor des Leopold Museum

Christian Witt-Dörring

Dear Allan on the occasion of your 80th Birthday I would like to thank you for having entered the discussion on Vienna 1900 in its early stages. Your contribution provided and continues to be a holistic and creative base not only for me but for a coming generation of researchers. You provided a necessary outside view that allowed for a clear view, unobstructed by the baggage of inside considerations. When our paths cross it is always a pleasure.
Fondly, Christian