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Books by Isaiah Berlin

  • Personal Impressions

    Isaiah Berlin

    Product Code: BRZMB
    Paperback
    The third, enlarged edition of Isaiah Berlin's remarkable series of character portraits, Personal Impressions Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Albert Einstein, Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova: Isaiah Berlin's Personal Impressions collects the essayist and intellectual historian's most remarkable portraits of prominent twentieth-century thinkers, writers and politicians. For this third, enlarged edition, ten new pieces have been added, including portraits of David Ben-Gurion, Maynard and Lydia Keynes, and Stephen Spender, as well as Berlin's autobiographical reflections on Jewish Oxford and his Oxford undergraduate years. Rich and enlightening, Personal Impressions is a vibrant demonstration of Berlin's belief that ideas truly live only through people.
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  • Russian Thinkers

    Isaiah Berlin

    Product Code: BIGIH
    Paperback
    Few, if any, English-language critics have written as perceptively as Isaiah Berlin about Russian thought and culture. Russian Thinkers is his unique meditation on the impact that Russia's outstanding writers and philosophers had on its culture. In addition to Tolstoy's philosophy of history, which he addresses in his most famous essay, 'The Hedgehog and the Fox,' Berlin considers the social and political circumstances that produced such men as Herzen, Bakunin, Turgenev, Belinsky, and others of the Russian intelligentsia, who made up, as Berlin describes, 'the largest single Russian contribution to social change in the world.'
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  • Affirming

    Isaiah Berlin

    Product Code: BGZBC
    Paperback
    "IB was one of the great affirmers of our time." (John Banville, New York Review of Books). The title of this final volume of Isaiah Berlin's letters is echoed by John Banville's verdict in his review of its predecessor, Building: Letters 1960-75, which saw Berlin publish some of his most important work, and create, in Oxford's Wolfson College, an institutional and architectural legacy. In the period covered by this new volume (1975-97) he consolidates his intellectual legacy with a series of essay collections. These generate many requests for clarification from his readers, and stimulate him to reaffirm and sometimes refine his ideas, throwing substantive new light on his thought as he grapples with human issues of enduring importance. Berlin's comments on world affairs, especially the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the collapse of Communism, are characteristically acute. This is also the era of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the Iranian revolution, the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, and wars in the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. Berlin scrutinises the leading politicians of the day, including Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev, and draws illuminating sketches of public figures, notably contrasting the personas of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrey Sakharov. He declines a peerage, is awarded the Agnelli Prize for ethics, campaigns against philistine architecture in London and Jerusalem, helps run the National Gallery and Covent Garden, and talks at length to his biographer. He reflects on the ideas for which he is famous - especially liberty and pluralism - and there is a generous leavening of the conversational brilliance for which he is also renowned, as he corresponds with friends about politics, the academic world, music and musicians, art and artists, and writers and their work, always displaying a Shakespearean fascination with the variety of humankind. Affirming is the crowning achievement both of Berlin's epistolary life and of the widely acclaimed edition of his letters whose first volume appeared in 2004.
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  • The Crooked Timber of Humanity

    Isaiah Berlin

    Product Code: BCQAI
    Paperback
    "Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made". (Immanuel Kant). Isaiah Berlin was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century - an activist of the intellect who marshalled vast erudition and eloquence in defence of the endangered values of individual liberty and moral and political plurality. In The Crooked Timber of Humanity he exposes the links between the ideas of the past and the social and political cataclysms of our own time: between the Platonic belief in absolute truth and the lure of authoritarianism; between the eighteenth-century reactionary ideologue Joseph de Maistre and twentieth-century Fascism; between the romanticism of Schiller and Byron and the militant - and sometimes genocidal - nationalism that convulses the modern world. This new edition features a revised text, a new foreword in which award-winning novelist John Banville discusses Berlin's life and ideas, particularly his defence of pluralism, and a substantial new appendix that provides rich context, including letters and previously uncollected writings by Berlin, notably his virtuoso review of Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy.
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  • Building

    Isaiah Berlin

    Product Code: ASOBE
    Paperback
    In the period covered here (1960-75) Isaiah Berlin creates Wolfson College, Oxford; John F. Kennedy becomes US President (and is assassinated); Berlin dines with JFK on the day he is told of the Soviet missile bases in Cuba; the Six-Day Arab-Israeli war of 1967 creates problems that are still with us today; Richard M. Nixon succeeds Johnson as US President and resigns over Watergate; and the long agony of the Vietnam War grinds on in the background. At the same time Berlin publishes some of his most important work, including Four Essays on Liberty - the key texts of his liberal pluralism - and the essays later included in Vico and Herder. He talks on the radio, appears on television and in documentary films and gives numerous lectures, especially his celebrated Mellon Lectures, later published as The Roots of Romanticism. Behind these public events is a constant stream of gossip and commentary, acerbic humour and warm personal feeling. Berlin writes about an enormous range of topics to a sometimes dazzling cast of correspondents. This new volume leaves no doubt that Berlin is one of the very best letter-writers of the twentieth century.
    • £16.00
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  • Affirming

    Isaiah Berlin

    Product Code: AOYZY
    Hardback
    "IB was one of the great affirmers of our time." (John Banville, New York Review of Books). The title of this final volume of Isaiah Berlin's letters is echoed by John Banville's verdict in his review of its predecessor, Building: Letters 1960-75, which saw Berlin publish some of his most important work, and create, in Oxford's Wolfson College, an institutional and architectural legacy. In the period covered by this new volume (1975-97) he consolidates his intellectual legacy with a series of essay collections. These generate many requests for clarification from his readers, and stimulate him to reaffirm and sometimes refine his ideas, throwing substantive new light on his thought as he grapples with human issues of enduring importance. Berlin's comments on world affairs, especially the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the collapse of Communism, are characteristically acute. This is also the era of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the Iranian revolution, the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, and wars in the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. Berlin scrutinises the leading politicians of the day, including Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev, and draws illuminating sketches of public figures, notably contrasting the personas of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrey Sakharov. He declines a peerage, is awarded the Agnelli Prize for ethics, campaigns against philistine architecture in London and Jerusalem, helps run the National Gallery and Covent Garden, and talks at length to his biographer. He reflects on the ideas for which he is famous - especially liberty and pluralism - and there is a generous leavening of the conversational brilliance for which he is also renowned, as he corresponds with friends about politics, the academic world, music and musicians, art and artists, and writers and their work, always displaying a Shakespearean fascination with the variety of humankind. Affirming is the crowning achievement both of Berlin's epistolary life and of the widely acclaimed edition of his letters whose first volume appeared in 2004.
    • £32.00
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  • Three Critics of the Enlightenment

    Isaiah Berlin

    Product Code: AILGY
    Paperback
    This book brings together three major studies from Isaiah Berlin's central intellectual project - to explain the opposition to the excessively scientistic French Enlightenment by getting under the skin of its critics and giving a sympathetic account of their views. The contributions of these particular critics could hardly be more important. Giambattista Vico estabished that the humanties are and must remain crucially different from the sciences: J G Herder - sometimes called the father of European nationalism - originated populism, expressionism and pluralism (an idea which Berlin enriched and made powerfully his own); and the anti-rationalist J.G. Hamann lit the fuse of romanticism, the major movement to arise out of the various currents of hostility to Enlightenment thought. The intellectual tension that existed between Enlightenment advocates and these critics is as crucial today as it was at its inception. With his customary humane understanding, Berlin analyses the ideas of three deeply original but often neglected thinkers, and demonstrates their disturbing relevance to the central issues of today's world. This new edition includes three previously uncollected pieces on Vico, an interesting passage excluded from the first edition of the essay on Hamann, and Berlin's thoughtful letters responding to two reviewers of that same edition.
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  • The Proper Study of Mankind

    Isaiah Berlin

    Product Code: AGYQH
    Paperback
    This is edited by Henry Hardy and Roger Hausheer and with a new foreword by Andrew Marr. Isaiah Berlin was one of the leading thinkers of the century, and one of the finest writers. The Proper Study Of Mankind selects some of the best of his essays. The full (and enormous) range of his work is represented here, from the exposition of his most distinctive doctrine - pluralism - to studies of Machiavelli, Tolstoy, Churchill and Roosevelt. In these pages he encapsulates the principal movements that characterise the modern age: romanticism, historicism, Fascism, relativism, irrationalism and nationalism. His ideas are always tied to the people who conceived them, so that abstractions are brought alive. His insights both illuminate the past and offer a key to the burning issues of the today.
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