Jonathan Rée writes insightfully about Wittgenstein’s life and work, but he does skate over one crucial detail (LRB, 21 November). After six years working in village schools in the Austrian Alps, Rée remarks, Wittgenstein ‘gave up teaching and returned to Vienna’. He doesn’t say why. During that stint, Wittgenstein had a habit of boxing the ears of his less intelligent pupils. On one occasion he struck a particularly unresponsive boy, Josef Haidbauer, several times. The child lost consciousness and later died; it transpired that he suffered from haemophilia. Wittgenstein fled the village the same night.