978-0-940322-09-7 / 9780940322097

The First and the Last


Publisher:New York Review Books



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About the book:

Isaiah Berlin's last essay, "My Intellectual Path," offers a concise summary of his thoughts, from his early philosophical work at Oxford to his later writings on intellectual history-particularly on the problems of freedom, determinism, pluralism, romanticism, and nationalism.

The First and the Last brings "My Intellectual Path" together with Berlin's earliest surviving work, "'The Purpose Justifies the Ways.'" This short story, written when he was twelve and just one year after his family emigrated from St. Petersburg to London, was based on an incident he witnessed during the Russian Revolution that inspired his lifelong horror of violence and his doubts about the pursuit of an ideal society.

This collection also includes tributes by Noel Annan, Stuart Hampshire, Aileen Kelly, Avishai Margalit, and Bernard Williams that vividly recall Berlin as conversationalist, music lover, philosopher, and friend. It provides the perfect introduction to Berlin's ideas.

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