A man of thought in times of action (Isaiah Berlin, 1940)

I juni 1940 befinner sig Isaiah Berlin i stor ovisshet om framtiden. Inte bara är utgången av kriget helt öppen och en tysk invasion av de brittiska öarna fullt tänkbar, utan även hans personliga roll i krigsinsatsen är osäker. Många av hans vänner och kollegor har tagit värvning, men Isaiah är förhindrad av hälsoskäl att ge sig in i soldatlivet, och i egenskap av judisk exil-ryss är dörrarna stängda till poster högre upp i administrationen. Han skriver följande i ett brev till Marion Frankfurter. I join on the whole in the general chorus of condemnation of Auden, Isherwood, Macneice, who … Fortsätt läsa A man of thought in times of action (Isaiah Berlin, 1940)

Begreppsanalys ger svindel (Paul Valery & Isaiah Berlin)

Brev till Cressida Nonham Carter, mars 1939. [Paul Valery] said words were like thin planks over precipices [stup/avgrund], & if you crossed rapidly nothing happened, but if you stopped on any of them & stared into the gulf you would get vertigo & that was what philosophers were doing. Isaiah Berlin, Flourishing. Letters 1928—1946, Chatto & Windus, London, 2004, s. 295. Fortsätt läsa Begreppsanalys ger svindel (Paul Valery & Isaiah Berlin)

Nyheten om Chamberlain i München (Isaiah Berlin)

Brev till Elizabeth Bowen, september 1938. Isaiah har åkt nattåg och delat kupé med en hästhandlare. In some wayside station at 6. am. men in pyjamas ran out & bought newspapers, with Chamberlain’s journey in them: ‘the war is postponed’ said my horsedealer & then something like ‘whizzbang’ & went to sleep again. [. . .] [The] newspapers read like a cheap serial, Chamberlain from having been a sad, mean, bedraggled figure is a national hero, Runciman sold the Czechs piecemeal & bit by bit while he prepared I think to sell them wholesale. Isaiah Berlin, Flourishing. Letters 1928—1946, Chatto … Fortsätt läsa Nyheten om Chamberlain i München (Isaiah Berlin)

Om den förtjusande Professor Russell (Isaiah Berlin)

Brev till Felix Frankfurter, 23 augusti 1937. Isaiah Berlin beskriver oenigheterna inom hans college angående förslaget att bjuda in Bertrand Russell till Oxford under en termin. Det fanns många som var ytterst fientliga till detta förslag, framförallt med tanke på Russells radikalism och okristliga moral. . . My conversation with the Warden [of All Souls college] I cannot reproduce, it was absolutely wonderful: he plainly hates Russell & all connected with him, but finally said ‘I suppose, at bottom, he is a very lovable kind of man?’ really I didn’t know what to say. I might have said, I suppose, … Fortsätt läsa Om den förtjusande Professor Russell (Isaiah Berlin)

Isaiah Berlin om kommunistpartier (1936)

Isaiah Berlin, Flourishing. Letters 1928—1946, Chatto & Windus, London, 2004, s. 167. Brev till Stephen Spender, 25 april 1936. News […] that you have joined the C.P. seems to me to alter nothing. You are quite right about it in England. On the continent, where in any case there was a tradition of government persecution, revolutionary parties automatically were conspiratorial, met abroad, talked about nothing save tactics & revolution, had no time for life or art, & were like Lenin so to speak. In England where this is not so, the C.P., is as you say, neo-liberal. It is a … Fortsätt läsa Isaiah Berlin om kommunistpartier (1936)