Enlightening: Letters 1946-1960

Enlightening: Letters 1946-1960


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Written by a man with political contacts that yield an inside view of major world events—the creation of Israel, the Suez Crisis, the Cold War; as well as a writer who revels in describing his observations of human beings in all their variety to his many correspondents, this second volume of Berlin's letters is uniquely enthralling

"People are my landscape," Isaiah Berlin liked to say, and nowhere is the truth of this observation more evident than in his letters. This second volume of Berlin’s letters takes up the story when, after war service in the U.S., he returns to life as an Oxford don. Against the background of post-war austerity, the letters chart years of academic frustration and self-doubt, the intellectual explosion when he moves from philosophy to the history of ideas, his growing national fame as broadcaster and lecturer, the publication of some of his best-known works, his election to a professorship, and his reaction to knighthood. Berlin’s visits to American universities, where he sees McCarthyism at work, and his journeys eastward—to Europe, Palestine (and later Israel), and the Soviet Union—inspire acute and often very funny portraits. These are the years, too, of momentous developments in his private life: the bachelor don’s loss of sexual innocence, the emotional turmoil of his father’s death, his courtship of a married woman, and his transformation into husband and stepfather.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781844138340
Publisher: Random House UK
Publication date: 07/01/2011
Pages: 854
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

Isaiah Berlin (1909–1997) was a noted political philosopher and is widely regarded as one of the leading liberal thinkers of the 20th century. He was awarded the Erasmus, Lippincott, and Agnelli prizes for his contributions to philosophy.

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"He was one of the greatest talkers—lecturer, broadcaster, raconteur—who has ever lived. . . . Superbly edited and annotated . . . these extraordinary letters, transcribed with great difficulty and care, by those attuned in every sense to their author and accustomed to his ways, replicate to an extraordinary degree that torrential conversation with its preternatural mix of gossip, philosophy, and politics."  —Washington Times

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