Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas

Overview

In this outstanding collection of essays, Isaiah Berlin, one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century, discusses the importance in the history of thought of dissenters whose ideas still challenge conventional wisdom--among them Machiavelli, Vico, Montesquieu, Herzen, and Sorel. With his unusual powers of imaginative re-creation, Berlin brings to life original minds that swam against the current of their times.
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Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas (Second Edition)

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Overview

In this outstanding collection of essays, Isaiah Berlin, one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century, discusses the importance in the history of thought of dissenters whose ideas still challenge conventional wisdom--among them Machiavelli, Vico, Montesquieu, Herzen, and Sorel. With his unusual powers of imaginative re-creation, Berlin brings to life original minds that swam against the current of their times.
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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe - Mark Feeney
Isaiah Berlin was the most esteemed intellectual figure in the English-speaking world. Against the Current may be the most representative of [his] books.
Independent on Sunday - Anthony Storr
A historian of ideas, [Berlin] has no equal; and what he has to say is expressed in prose of exceptional lucidity and grace.
Observer - Keith Thomas
Berlin expounds the ideas of half-forgotten thinkers with luminous clarity and imaginative empathy. . . . exhilarating to read.
Encounter - Goronwy Rees
A most remarkable intellectual achievement. There are few books published in our time which more dazzlingly illuminate some of the most crucial problems of western culture and civilisation.
From the Publisher
"Isaiah Berlin was the most esteemed intellectual figure in the English-speaking world. Against the Current may be the most representative of [his] books."—Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

"Berlin expounds the ideas of half-forgotten thinkers with luminous clarity and imaginative empathy. . . . exhilarating to read."—Keith Thomas, Observer

"A most remarkable intellectual achievement. There are few books published in our time which more dazzlingly illuminate some of the most crucial problems of western culture and civilisation."—Goronwy Rees, Encounter

Boston Globe
Isaiah Berlin was the most esteemed intellectual figure in the English-speaking world. Against the Current may be the most representative of [his] books.
— Mark Feeney
Independent on Sunday
A historian of ideas, [Berlin] has no equal; and what he has to say is expressed in prose of exceptional lucidity and grace.
— Anthony Storr
Observer
Berlin expounds the ideas of half-forgotten thinkers with luminous clarity and imaginative empathy. . . . exhilarating to read.
— Keith Thomas
Encounter
A most remarkable intellectual achievement. There are few books published in our time which more dazzlingly illuminate some of the most crucial problems of western culture and civilisation.
— Goronwy Rees
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140060492
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/1982
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Author's Note
Editor's Preface
Note to the Princeton Edition
Introduction
The Counter-Enlightenment 1
The Originality of Machiavelli 25
The Divorce between the Sciences and the Humanities 80
Vico's Concept of Knowledge 111
Vico and the Ideal of the Enlightenment 120
Montesquieu 130
Hume and the Sources of German Anti-Rationalism 162
Herzen and his Memoirs 188
The Life and Opinions of Moses Hess 213
Benjamin Disraeli, Karl Marx and the Search for Identity 252
The 'Naivete' of Verdi 287
Georges Sorel 296
Nationalism: Past Neglect and Present Power 333
A Bibliography of Isaiah Berlin 357
Index 399
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