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Russian Thinkers (Penguin Classics) Paperback – March 25, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a volume anyone interested in the history of ideas should not miss.
-the hedgehog and the fox metaphor ("The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing"). Human beings are categorized as either "hedgehogs" (whose lives are embodiment of a single, central vision of reality according to which they "feel", breathe, experience and think- "system addicts", in short. Examples include Plato, Dante, Proust and Nietzsche.) or "foxes" ( who live rather centrifugal than centripetal lives, pursue many divergent ends and, generally, possess a sense of reality that prevents them from formulating a definite grand system of "everything"-simply because they "know" that life is too complex to be squeezed into any Procrustean unitary scheme. Montaigne, Balzac, Goethe and Shakespeare are, in various degrees, foxes.)
-precarious position of liberalism-something Berlin was well aware of. A "non-belief belief", liberalism certainly doesn't satisfy "deeper" human needs; also, it managed, following its very nature, to stay away from planned genocides & siren songs of totalitarian power. Yet- Berlin has failed (maybe due to the "history of ideas" nature of this compilation of essays) to answer more fundamental questions plaguing liberal mindset: is it fit to grapple with the 20th/21st century burning issues ?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting essays. Provides a good background for those interested in this intellectual period/thinking.Published 2 months ago by Grendel
Excellent book. One can read and re-read these illustrative essays by Dr. Berlin, and never feel overwhelmed. Read morePublished 12 months ago by M. A. Seifter
This book gives me life. Isaiah Berlin, even if you disagree with him, has phenomenal body of work.Published 14 months ago by gp8675
a very good book about Russian thought prior to the Russian revolution. I learned a lot and discovered people I never knew about. Good historic summaryPublished 22 months ago by Frederick Mazie
Berlin writes a comprehensive book on the history of Russian philosophers and authors going back to the 19th century. Read morePublished on August 31, 2012 by William Roden
This is probably the best single collection of Berlin's essays. Berlin wrote a number of notable essays but this collection has a thematic integrity not found in most other... Read morePublished on November 14, 2009 by R. Albin