The Book of Isaiah: Personal Impressions of Isaiah Berlin

May 2009
20 black and white illustrations
368 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
Boydell Press

The Book of Isaiah: Personal Impressions of Isaiah Berlin

Edited by Henry Hardy


Hardback out of stock

eBook for Handhelds
This collection of pen-portraits of the renowned public intellectual Isaiah Berlin, published to mark the centenary of his birth, brings him vividly to life from many vantage-points: essential reading for all who seek to understand the full range of his impact.
Isaiah Berlin was born a century ago. One of the most celebrated British thinkers of the twentieth century, he was a tireless champion of freedom and diversity against control and conformity. His generous, open vision of life is displayed with special immediacy in his brilliant pen-portraits of contemporaries, Personal Impressions, in which he sees the point of radically differing personalities, enters into their distinctive outlooks, and describes his encounters with them, in arrestingly idiosyncratic prose.

The Book of Isaiah turns the tables on Berlin, offering a series of personal impressions of him and his ideas by a range of people who knew him, or have been affected by his work. This multi-faceted testimony enriches and supplements Michael Ignatieff's celebrated authorised biography. The volume includes tributes written when Berlin died, essays specially commissioned from friends and from students of his work, and a previously unpublished family memoir by Berlin's father, which preserves for his son, and for posterity, the story of his Hasidic forebears, and of the many relatives murdered by the Nazis. The result is a collection indispensable both for existing enthusiasts and for those who are curious to learn about Berlin's unique, compelling appeal.

HENRY HARDY is a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and one of Isaiah Berlin's Literary Trustees.

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Table of Contents

In Search of Isaiah Berlin - Evan Zimroth-Wollman
Tribute - Annan and Stuart Hampshire and Avishai Margalit and Bernard Williams and Katharine Graham and Arthur Schlesinger Jr and James Billington and Robert Silvers and Charles Taylor
Isaiah As I Knew Him - Bryan Magee
So Much There - Anthony Quinton
Akhmatova and Sir - Anatoly Naiman
Run Over by Isaiah - Peter Oppenheimer
Working for Isaiah - Patricia Utechin and Humphrey Carpenter
New York City, Autumn 1966 - Samuel Guttenplan
Lunching with Isaiah - Alan Montefiore and Nick Rankin
A Luminous Personality - Aileen Kelly
In the President's Office - Serena Moore
Tea at the Athenaeum - Joseph Brodsky
Some Musical Encounters - Alfred Brendel
Editing Berlin, Interpreting Berlin - Henry Hardy and Kei Hiruta
One of the Giants of the Twentieth Century - Beata Polanowska-Sygulska
The Day After - G A Cohen
Fast Talker - Alistair Cooke
Isaiah the Jew - Shlomo Avineri and Alan Ryan
All Ears - Robert Wokler
A Philosopher's Stroll - Nicholas Henderson
Berlin in Autumn: The Philosopher in Old Age - Michael Ignatieff
When a Sage Dies, All Are His Kin - Leon Wieseltier
The Last Englishman - Ian Buruma
The Value of the Personal - Joshua Cherniss
A Berlinian Education - George Crowder
The Legacy of Open Thought - Steffen Gross
The Fox is Still Running - James Chappel
Isaiah Berlin on Himself - Jennifer Holmes
The Berlin Papers in the Bodleian Library - Michael Hughes
Elysian Schools - Isaiah Berlin
For the Benefit of My Son - Mendel Berlin


[Includes] first-rate contributions from, among others, the philosopher Bryan Magee; his biographer Michael Ignatieff; and Henry Hardy. DAILY TELEGRAPH
An impressive cast assembles to pay [Berlin's] genius homage. THE INDEPENDENT