The Roots of Romanticismby Isaiah Berlin
Pub. Date: 02/12/2001
Publisher: Princeton University Press
The Roots of Romanticism at last makes available in printed form Isaiah Berlin's most celebrated lecture series, the Mellon lectures, delivered in Washington in 1965, recorded by the BBC, and broadcast several times. A published version has been keenly awaited ever since the lectures were given, and Berlin had always hoped to complete a book based on them. But despite extensive further work this hope was not fulfilled, and the present volume is an edited transcript of his spoken words.
For Berlin, the Romantics set in motion a vast, unparalleled revolution in humanity's view of itself. They destroyed the traditional notions of objective truth and validity in ethics with incalculable, all-pervasive results. As he said of the Romantics elsewhere: "The world has never been the same since, and our politics and morals have been deeply transformed by them. Certainly this has been the most radical, and indeed dramatic, not to say terrifying, change in men's outlook in modern times."
In these brilliant lectures Berlin surveys the myriad attempts to define Romanticism, distills its essence, traces its developments from its first stirrings to its apotheosis, and shows how its lasting legacy permeates our own outlook. Combining the freshness and immediacy of the spoken word with Berlin's inimitable eloquence and wit, the lectures range over a cast of the greatest thinkers and artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including Kant, Rousseau, Diderot, Schiller, Schlegel, Novalis, Goethe, Blake, Byron, and Beethoven. Berlin argues that the ideas and attitudes held by these and other figures helped to shape twentieth-century nationalism, existentialism, democracy, totalitarianism, and our ideas about heroic individuals, individual self-fulfillment, and the exalted place of art. This is the record of an intellectual bravura performanceof one of the century's most influential philosophers dissecting and assessing a movement that changed the course of history.
Author Biography: Sir Isaiah Berlin was, until his death in 1997, a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He was renowned as an essayist and as the author of many books, among them Karl Marx, Four Essays on Liberty, Russian Thinkers, Against the Current, Personal Impressions, The Sense of Reality, The Proper Study of Mankind, The Crooked Timber of Humanity (Princeton), and, forthcoming from Princeton, Concepts and Categories. Dr. Henry Hardy, a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, is one of Isaiah Berlin's literary trustees. He has edited several other books by Berlin, and is currently preparing his remaining unpublished writings and letters for publication.
Table of Contents
|1||In Search of a Definition||1|
|2||The First Attack on Enlightenment||21|
|3||The True Fathers of Romanticism||46|
|4||The Restrained Romantics||68|
|6||The Lasting Effects||118|
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