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Thomas Meaney: Coetzee’s Diaries, 21 May 2015

... relations.’ In a draft of an essay later collected in Stranger Shores, Coetzee compares her to Isaiah Berlin: In describing the complex and highly ambivalent feelings of Russian liberals to Russian radicals, Berlin captures much of Nadine Gordimer’s attitude towards South African leftist radicals, at least prior ...

Bitter as never before

David Blackbourn: Einstein, 3 February 2000

Einstein's German World 
by Fritz Stern.
Princeton, 335 pp., £15.95, October 1999, 9780691059396
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... After making his name in Karlsruhe by discovering how to fix nitrogen from the air, Haber moved to Berlin in 1911 to head the new Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry. There he became a leading figure in the campaign to attract Einstein to Berlin with the offer of a university professorship ...


Geoffrey Hawthorn, 3 December 1992

English Questions 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 370 pp., £39.95, May 1992, 0 86091 375 9
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A Zone of Engagement 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 384 pp., £39.95, May 1992, 0 86091 377 5
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... Roberto Unger, W.G. Runciman. Andreas Hillgruber, Max Weber, Ernest Gellner, Carlo Ginzburg, Isaiah Berlin, Fernand Braudel and Francis Fukuyama. More recently (LRB, 24 September and 22 October), he has extended himself to Michael Oakeshott and others of Oakeshott’s generation on ‘the intransigent right’, and to those in Ukania who have been ...


A.J.P. Taylor: The Mosleys and Other Affairs, 17 November 1983

... out of everything, a good man and a good friend. I still miss him and treasure his memory. I and Isaiah Berlin were the only members of Oxford University who attended his cremation. All this seems long ago. I am, however, delighted to read that the Mosley affair is causing embarrassment to the Government. After Mosley was arrested he was interrogated at ...

The Central Questions

Thomas Nagel: H.L.A. Hart, 3 February 2005

A Life of H.L.A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream 
by Nicola Lacey.
Oxford, 422 pp., £25, September 2004, 0 19 927497 5
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... to write about him – he was not, in spite of his great distinction, world-famous like his friend Isaiah Berlin. But he certainly could have predicted that his widow Jenifer, whose indiscretion was well established, would do nothing to protect his privacy or her own. Perhaps he didn’t care. One never knows how people will feel about what happens after ...

Living like a moth

Michael Ignatieff, 19 April 1990

The Other Russia: The Experience of Exile 
by Michael Glenny and Norman Stone.
Faber, 475 pp., £14.99, March 1990, 0 571 13574 9
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Inferences on a Sabre 
by Claudio Magris, translated by Mark Thompson.
Polygon, 87 pp., £9.95, May 1990, 0 7486 6036 4
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... a free soul, a vitality in a kind of Russian tradition, something spiritual and cultural.’ When Isaiah Berlin visited the Soviet Union in 1945, he believed that apart from heroic pre-Revolutionary survivors like Pasternak and Akhmatova, the great Russian intellectual tradition had been extinguished. With delight, he now reports – in Granta magazine ...


Denis Donoghue, 2 February 1984

Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... calls him – Richard Titmuss, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, John Berger, E.P. Thompson and Isaiah Berlin. If you need a stereotype of the English socialist, you may as well take this one as any other, though it’s hard to do any worthwhile thinking so long as you burden yourself with such a thing. I infer from Inglis’s reference to ‘the chic ...

Anna of All the Russias

John Bayley, 24 January 1991

Selected Poems 
by Anna Akhmatova, selected and translated by Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward.
Harvill, 173 pp., £5.95, November 1989, 0 00 271041 2
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The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova 
translated by Judith Hemschemeyer, edited by Roberta Reeder.
Zephyr, 1635 pp., £85, October 1990, 0 939010 13 5
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The Garden: New and Selected Poetry and Prose 
by Bella Akhmadulina.
Boyars, 171 pp., £9.95, January 1991, 0 7145 2924 9
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... to her by Western intellectuals, and particularly from the visit she received in 1945 from Isaiah Berlin, ‘the guest from the future’, who was then working with Randolph Churchill for the British Foreign Office in Moscow. They talked for a whole night in her room in Leningrad near the Fontanka, and he took his place in the haunting, shifting ...

Dark Fates

Frank Kermode, 5 October 1995

The Blue Flower 
by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Flamingo, 226 pp., £14.99, September 1995, 0 00 223912 4
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... to the rationalism of Enlightenment, Novalis can presumably be thought of as participating in what Isaiah Berlin named the ‘counter-enlightenment’. As Berlin remarks, irrationalists such as J.G. Hamann could turn Enlightenment thought to their own purposes, and it is here slyly hinted that Novalis could have ...

The Flow

Paul Myerscough: ‘The Trap’, 5 April 2007

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom 
directed by Adam Curtis.
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... for Tomorrow, in which J.B. Priestley sits smoking a cigar and reaching for the port while Isaiah Berlin and A.J. Ayer discuss concepts of liberty. Curtis stays with Berlin for an unusually long time, perhaps as relieved as we are to have a talking head worth listening to, especially one so idiosyncratic, caught ...

Proud to Suffer

G.S. Smith: The Intellectuals Who Left the USSR, 19 October 2006

The Philosophy Steamer: Lenin and the Exile of the Intelligentsia 
by Lesley Chamberlain.
Atlantic, 414 pp., £25, March 2006, 1 84354 040 1
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... Russia by other routes before and sometimes after the 1922 expulsions are considered: they include Isaiah Berlin, Roman Jakobson and Pitirim Sorokin, three members of the first wave who had a huge impact well beyond Russian-speaking circles (outside Russia, that is; their work remained unmentionable in the old country until much later). What began as an ...

A Third Concept of Liberty

Quentin Skinner: Living in Servitude, 4 April 2002

... goal or end. There is, in other words, only one concept of liberty. These observations bring me to Isaiah Berlin, a thinker who devoted himself to many disparate themes, literary and historical as well as philosophical, but whose most important and influential work was on the theory of freedom. It is on that topic that I propose to concentrate. I shall ...

The Nutcracker

Jon Stallworthy, 17 September 1987

... for Isaiah Berlin My story? Yes, I got my story though not the one I was assigned. It was a Voyage of Discovery all right, but of another kind. The latest Russian Revolution was no sooner known than it– whoosh– un- corked Moscow like shaken champagne, filled Red Square to the brim again with chanting thousands ...

Sizing up the Ultra-Right

David Butler, 2 July 1981

The National Front 
by Nigel Fielding.
Routledge, 252 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 7100 0559 8
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Left, Right: The March of Political Extremism in Britain 
by John Tomlinson.
Calder, 152 pp., £4.95, March 1981, 0 7145 3855 8
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... of St George and the National Front can find an answer in Mr Tomlinson’s pages. Thirty years ago Isaiah Berlin identified the Extreme Centre, a group whose uniting belief was that all members of the extreme Right and extreme Left should be shot. Mr Tomlinson has provided the Extreme Centre with a brief campaign ...

Out of Sight, out of Mind

Frank Kermode: A.J. Ayer’s Winning Ways, 15 July 1999

A.J. Ayer: A Life 
by Ben Rogers.
Chatto, 402 pp., £20, June 1999, 9780701163167
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... Locke Prize, the All Souls Fellowship; but Ayer’s fate was to be pipped by his contemporaries, Isaiah Berlin, Goronwy Rees and the slightly younger J.L. Austin. As an undergraduate he had been taken up by Maurice Bowra and acquired a certain celebrity by having a mistress, but this was no help to his professional career. The wind that favoured ...

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