Enlightening
Enlightening

Enlightening

Letters 1946–1960

By Isaiah Berlin, Edited by Henry Hardy, Edited by Jennifer Holmes

BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Formats: Cloth, Trade Paper

Trade Paper, (US $29.95)

Publication Date: July 2011

ISBN 9781844138340

Rights: US

Random House UK (Jul 2011)
Pimlico

Available from local and national retailers throughout the US.
 

Overview

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.

Reviews

"Amusing." —Library Journal

"Delightful." —New Republic

Author Biography

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.