Those who knew the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell at the turn of the century referred to him as 'the Day of Judgement'. This acclaimed selection of his early letters, available in paperback for the first time, reveals the full scope of Russell's life and innermost thoughts up to the First World War. It includes letters to his first wife, Alys Pearsall Smith, reveals the background to his now famous work in philosophy and the foundations of mathematics and how his mind was stirred by socialism, free trade and...
Those who knew the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell at the turn of the century referred to him as 'the Day of Judgement'. This acclaimed selection of his early letters, available in paperback for the first time, reveals the full scope of Russell's life and innermost thoughts up to the First World War. It includes letters to his first wife, Alys Pearsall Smith, reveals the background to his now famous work in philosophy and the foundations of mathematics and how his mind was stirred by socialism, free trade and votes for women. It also contains letters on his famous affair with Ottoline Morrell, providing yet another insight into one of the great intellectual figures of the twentieth century.
'These letters will be an invaluable addition to the literature about [Bertrand Russell]. This paperback edition is most welcome.'Contemporary Review
The letters have been so interestingly and skilfully edited by Nicholas Griffin that one has the impression of following a continuous thread of life month by month...A splendidly arranged and edited collection, opening the way for many different impressions.
With the appearance of the The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell, the non-specialist reader is given the run of that extraordinary headpiece as it applied itself to more accessible topics like sex, love and marriage.
Griffin's achievement in this first volume is a splendid augury for its successor. He has in effect given us a new biography of Russell, skilfully weaving the letters into an explanatory narrative...The Russell one meets in these pages is enormously likeable and admirable. He merits celebration and this volume marvellously demonstrates why.
Bertrand Russell wrote the best English prose of any 20th century philosopher... The publication of his Selected Letters deserves, therefore, to rule an important literary event. Nicholas Griffin...has done his editorial work meticulously—his linking narrative is a masterpiece of concision.
...the letters are as transparent as Russell wished them in his own mind to be. It is strking to discover that, unlike any other genius who has written his own biography, Russell told the truth about himself and invented next to nothing...This volume is the first of several and no doubt its successors will be just as hard to put down. Russell was fortunate in his life: he has been equally fortunate in his posthumous editor.
- Publisher's Weekly
By turns impassioned, acutely analytical, witty and peevish, these 240 candid letters--all but one previously unpublished--provide an unparalleled intimate glimpse of British philosopher Russell's (1872-1970) private life. We see the solitary, morbidly introspective child manipulated by the domineering grandmother who raised him, and the priggish young lover who escaped his family by plunging into a disastrous marriage with Quaker feminist Alys Pearsall Smith. After their bitter divorce, Russell had an obsessive, clinging affair with freewheeling Lady Ottoline Morrell, a politician's wife who liberated his repressed sexuality. Skillfully linked to one another by commentary and notes, the letters reflect Russell's compulsive hunger for affection, his support for women's suffrage, his early jingoist defense of British imperialism and his philosophical forays into ethics, logic and mathematics. Griffin, a Canadian philosophy professor, also edited Russell's Collected Papers. (July)
Russell was one of the foremost philosophers and mathematicians of this century. In this volume, Griffin presents more than 200 previously unpublished letters from the Russell Archives at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, which show various facets of Russell's life between the ages of 12 and 44. The letters illuminate an aspect of Russell that does not come through in his more formal and technical writings, giving him humanity and dimension. Considering that Russell died in 1970 at the age of 97, Griffin has several more volumes of correspondence to edit before his work is done. This, however, is a fine beginning. For academic and large public libraries.-- Terry Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec