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(12/01/2007) Against The Current by Isaiah Berlin. New York. 1980. Viking Press. Edited By Henry Hardy. keywords: Philosophy History. 394 pages. Jacket design by Tony Pollicino. 0670109444. February 1980.

Isaiah Berlin was a master of the philosophical essay. In fact, nearly all of his literary output comes to us in this form. His essays are timeless, mentally stimulating, and simply a pleasure to read. He is one of those authors whose works inevitably lead one to other authors, usually the classics. His point of view is fresh and his writing is engaging. Don’t miss out on the experience of reading Isaiah Berlin.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   For most of Sir Isaiah Berlin’s life, the history of ideas has been the focal point of his interest and work and the background against which he has forged his own eloquent and deeply felt opposition to the fanaticism of the singleminded. His main theme in Against the Current is the importance in the history of thought of dissenters whose ideas still challenge conventional wisdom; Machiavelli, Vico, Montesquieu, Hamann, Herzen, and Georges Sorel are central examples. He is especially concerned with the phenomenon of originality, with the unpredictable capacity of men with exceptional minds to battle against the current of their times and contribute something entirely new to our intellectual heritage. This book is a celebration of some of the most original and influential, misunderstood, or neglected thinkers of the Western world. It is essential reading for anyone responsive to the force of ideas in history. ‘Berlin expounds the ideas of half-forgotten thinkers with luminous clarity and imaginative empathy. [These essays] are exhilarating to read. ’ - The Observer.

ISAIAH BERLIN, O. M. , B. C. E. , president of Wolfson College, Oxford from 1966 to 1975, is a Fellow of All Souls. He was a Fellow of New College from 1938 to 1950 and professor of social and political theory in Oxford from 1957 to 1967. He was president of the British Academy from 1974 to 1978 and is an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. For his writings on the freedom of the individual in society he was awarded the 1979 Jerusalem Prize.

HENRY HARDY, editor of the four-volume series of Sir Isaiah’s collected essays, took his B. Phil, and D. Phil, from Wolfson College, and is now an editor and publisher. His edition of selected writings by Arnold Mallinson, Quinquagesimo Anno, was published under his own imprint in 1974. ROGER HAUSHEER is a member of Wolfson College, Oxford, and is studying the philosophy of J. G. Fichte. At present he is also Lecturer in British Studies at the University of Giessen, West Germany.

 

 

 

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