Isaiah Berlin a life review Ö 103

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Isaiah Berlin a life review Ö 103 ï Isaiah Berlin refused to write an autobiography but he agreed to talk about himself and so for ten years he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him Isaiah Berlin 1909 97 was one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers; historian of the Russian intellgentisia biographer of Marx pioneering scholaIsaiah Berlin refused to write an autobiography but he agreed to talk about himself and so for ten years he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him Isaiah Berlin 1909 97 was one of the greatest and most humane of modern philosophers; historian of the Russian intellgentisia biographer of Marx pioneering scholar of the Romantic movement and defender of the liberal idea. Fantastic

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Of freedom His own life was caught up in the most powerful currents of the century The son of a Riga timber merchant he witnessed the Russian Revolution was plunged into suburban school life and the ferment of 1930s Oxford; he became part of the British intellectual establishment During the war he as at the heart of Anglo American diplomacy in Washington; afterwards in M. Is it too much to ask that America be like Canada where people like Trudeau Charles Taylor Michael Ignatieff can create good public policy and also be serious thinkers Do you see Bachmann writing a biography of Kant Bought this on liuidation at Borders They're selling even the fixtures counters and shelves What an abject ending That summer he paid a visit to the most famous refugee from Nazi Europe Sigmund Freud Freud's wife was a relative of a family friend Oscar Phillip Through his intermediary Isaiah arranged a call at Maresfield Gardens one Friday afternoon in October 1938 Freud himself answered the door bell and ushered Berlin into the famous study with the Egyptian and Greek statuettes and figurines already displayed on every free space of the desks cabinets and bookcases When Freud asked Berlin what he did and Isaiah replied in German that he attempted to teach philosophy Freud replied sardonically 'Then you must think me a charlatan' This was close to the mark but Berlin protested 'Dr Freud how can you think such a thing' Freud then pointed to a figurine on the mantelpiece 'Can you guess where it is from' When Berlin said he had no idea Freud replied'It comes from Megara I see you are not pretentious' Then he explained he had reached London thanks to the intercession of Princess Marie Bonaparte and asked whether Isaiah was familiar with other members of the Greek royal family When Berlin said he wasn't Freud replied 'I see you are not a snob' This part of the interrogation completed Freud began musing aloud about whether he might set up practice in Oxford Berlin said there was bound to be a lot of demand for his services in a place like Oxford and in his mind's eye imagined a burnished brass plaue in an Oxford doorway reading 'Dr Freud 2pm 4pm' and a ueue of neurotics stretching back a mileBerlin had a liberal temperament and an expansive independent cast of mind that's very appealing  He could criticize the technocratic busy bodying foibles of left progressivism  and find an adamantine firmness of purpose admirable in Churchill but still put into circulation ideas from neglected controversial writers like Holbach or SorelWhat makes Berlin particularly attractive in Ignatieff's description is that he never believed in the consolations of philosophy and was deeply skeptical about reaching for ultimate uestions of grasping the meaning of life in ten easy steps     If history had no libretto why should an ordinary life have one

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Isaiah Berlin a lifeOscow he saw the grim despair of Stalinism The book is full of memorable meetings with Virginia Woolf and Sigmund Freud with Churchill with Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova Yet Ignatieff is not afraid to delve into Berlin's conflicts his jewish idealism his deep aspirations This is a work of great subtelty and penetration exhilarating and intimate powerful and profound. A very interesting exposure of Berlin's life and thought done delicately by Mr IgnatieffI feel like re reading some of Berlin's essays now that I learned about his personal lifeThis reading only came to reaffirm the congruence of my own views in relation to those of Berlin's a middle way rational liberal but not an over rational capitalist a social socialist but not an over socialist and above all a true humanistI also liked his connection with and admiration of the Russian intelligentsia of soviet times since I also read many writers and poets of this period finding them fascinatingI was pleasantly surprised to discover he really liked Turgenev and even translated to English one of his plays since I also after recently reading one of Turgenev's books have chosen to place him as an author in front of Tolstoy and DostoevskyAll in all had our personal histories been different I genuinely believe Berlin and I would have been able to become fast friends and talk about philosophy history poetry literature and ideas in general for hours on end