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John Stuart Mill: A Biography

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2004 Hard cover Illustrated. ABSOLUELY BRAND NEW(gift quality)! ! / publisher's mark at bottom edge. ships immediately Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 456 p. Contains: ... Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

"Nicholas Capaldi's biography (no competitor is currently in print) traces the ways in which Mill's many endeavors are related and explores the significance of Mill's contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of education. He shows how Mill was groomed for his role in life by both his father, James Mill, and Jeremy Bentham, the two most prominent philosophical radicals of the early nineteenth century. Yet Mill revolted against this education and developed friendships with Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who introduced him to Romanticism and political conservatism." "A special feature of this biography is the attention devoted to the relationship with Harriet Taylor. No one exerted a greater influence on Mill than the woman he was eventually to marry. Nicholas Capaldi reveals just how deep her impact was on Mill's thinking about the emancipation of women. Clarifying this relationship helps to explain why Mill was concerned not only with such issues as the franchise and representation, but also with a fundamental concept of personal autonomy that became pivotal to his thought." There has never been a serious attempt to set out the interconnections of Mill's thought in this manner. Moreover, this biography presents the private life as both a reflection and an instantiation of ideas and values - a life so constructed as to be a Romantic work of art.
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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Capaldi's Mill may not be everyone's Mill. Indeed, the final sentence of the book, "Mill was the greatest of the English Romantics," almost invites dissent. Yet even when one disagrees with his analysis of one or another of Mill's works, one can appreciate its seriousness and thoughtfulness -- the distinction, for example, in On Liberty between "freedom" and "liberty," the former signifying an internal quality of "autonomy," the latter an external lack of constraints. One may also admire his determination to give Mill the status of a major thinker by insisting upon the integrity and unity of his entire body of work -- and, moreover, of his personal life in relation to his work. — Gertrude Himmelfarb
From the Publisher
"A very welcome new intellectual life of Mill, which gives full weight not just to his philosophical and technical writing but also to his status as a public intellectual. The highly readable biography is particularly illuminating about Mill's status within nineteenth-century theories of the place of the creative artist and the imagination, and it gives extended and thoughtful treatment to his intellectual and personal relationship with Harriet Taylor." Kate Flint, Studies in English Literature

"...solidly grounded, briskly argued...a considerable achievement. Nicholas Capaldi is a deft commentator. John Stuart Mill is a good and persuasive book." Alan Ryan

"As a work of biography, it succeeds in forcefully presenting Mill as a theorist concerned above all with defending liberal culture in general, and highlights the absolute centrality of individual autonomy to that defense." Metapsychology Online

"Capaldi has succeeded nicely in bringing together Mill's life and Mill's ideas - his theories and his values - , illuminating both. This study is recommended for anyone with an interest in the man and his thought." Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Mill scholars and students of 19th-century thought and English Romanticism will find this biography engrossing." The New York Sun

"It is solidly grounded, briskly argued, and agreeably free from the sound of grinding axes." New York Review of Books

"Capaldi's intellectual biography passes, with flying colors, the important test for the success of a biography: after reading it, I have both a sense of having learned a great deal and a desire to learn more about the part of history that both influenced and was influenced by John Stuart Mill."
P.A. Woodward, The Review of Metaphysics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521620246
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2003
  • Pages: 436
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Childhood and early education: the great experiment (1806–20); 2. Company man and youthful propaganda (1821–6); 3. Crisis (1826–30); 4. The discovery of romance and romanticism (1830–40); 5. The transitional essays; 6. Intellectual success (1840–5); 7. Worldly success (1846–50); 8. Private years (1850–9); 9. The memorial essays: utilitarianism, representative government, on liberty; 10. Public intellectual (1859–69); 11. Last years (1869–73).

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