By Isaiah Berlin
"People are my landscape," Isaiah Berlin cherished to assert, and nowhere is the reality of this statement extra glaring than in his letters. This moment quantity of Berlin’s letters takes up the tale while, after warfare carrier within the united states, he returns to existence as an Oxford don. opposed to the historical past of post-war austerity, the letters chart years of educational frustration and self-doubt, the highbrow explosion whilst he strikes from philosophy to the heritage of rules, his turning out to be nationwide reputation as broadcaster and lecturer, the e-book of a few of his best-known works, his election to a professorship, and his response to knighthood. Berlin’s visits to American universities, the place he sees McCarthyism at paintings, and his trips eastwardto Europe, Palestine (and later Israel), and the Soviet Unioninspire acute and sometimes very humorous portraits. These are the years, too, of momentous advancements in his inner most existence: the bachelor don’s lack of sexual innocence, the emotional turmoil of his father’s demise, his courtship of a married girl, and his transformation into husband and stepfather.
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Extra resources for Enlightening: Letters 1946-1960
His interpretation of political events, historical and contemporary, and his views on how life should be lived, are always grounded in the personal, and his fiercest condemnation is reserved for purveyors of grand abstract theories that ignore what people are really like. This second volume of Berlin’s letters takes up the story when, after war service in the United States, 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 a broadcaster and lecturer, the publication of some of his best-known works, his election to a professorship and his reaction to knighthood.
Thus far, the main group of American Zionists have shown conspicuous wisdom and self-restraint in publicly supporting the Loan to Britain21 against their own zealots & despite their equally deep disapproval of British policy in Palestine; but no wisdom is proof against indefinite delays; Jews and Arabs alike can point to all too many occasions where, in their dealings with Britain, force has paid and patience, reason & goodwill have not; indeed Mr Attlee 22 honourably recognises that this is so: and that only a clear and immediate final decision imposed by HM Government and countersigned by that of the United States, providing territories & economic conditions within which both Jews & Arabs cd live & grow, would restore the tottering prestige of the Western Powers in the Middle East and above all end the long, intolerably painful story of broken hopes and pitifully ineffectual remedies.
36 + Alexander, & irritation with Reb Yoshe,37 who indeed is behaving very tiresomely. m. […]. Diana39 pressed me to spend day in Chantilly,40 but I did not want to offend Ben Cohen,41 George Backer42 & the rest of the Minyan,43 so I declined. Terrible complaints. Why can’t I first have a little pleasure? however I stuck to guns, saw Ben, Loudon44 etc. all of whom I enjoyed seeing for different reasons. Loudon is really a v. nice man & most kind. I like him more than his wife & he is a very decent public spirited person with a sensitive heart about things which matter.
Enlightening: Letters 1946-1960 by Isaiah Berlin