Isaiah Berlin: Volume 1 - Isaiah Berlin



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Isaiah Berlin: Volume 1 - Letters, 1928-1946
Isaiah Berlin
Cambridge University Press
UK Publication Date

This first volume of letters inaugurates a keenly awaited edition of Berlin's letters. Berlin's life was enormously worth living, both for himself and for us; and fortunately he said a great deal to his friends on paper as well as in person. When this volume opens Berlin is eighteen, a pupil at St Paul's School in London. He becomes an undergraduate at Oxford, then a Fellow at All Souls, where he writes his famous biography of Karl Marx. When that is complete he moves to New College to teach philosophy, and after the outbreak of the Second World War sails to America in somewhat mysterious circumstances with Guy Burgess. He stays in the USA, working for the British Government (apart from visits home and his famous trip to the Soviet Union in 1945-6) until July 1946, when he returns to Oxford, and the volume closes.

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'Isaiah Berlin was one of the great letter writers of the twentieth century: witty, indiscrete, passionate, wise and unbuttoned. He also lived through extraordinary moments of 20th century history, and these letters capture these moments: Nazi brown shirts in Austrian cafes in the 1930s, German refugees in Jerusalem, the debates at All Souls about the war, Washington during the height of the Churchill-Roosevelt alliance. In Henry Hardy, Berlin has found an ideal editor: scrupulous, self-effacing, dogged and tenaciously accurate. The result is one of the great editing achievements in modern letters.' Michael Ignatieff, author of Isaiah Berlin: A Life

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