Berlin in Paraggi, 1972, from the forthcoming 3rd volume of his letters
ISAIAH BERLIN (1909–1997) was one of the most celebrated thinkers of the twentieth century. His defence of freedom and diversity against control and uniformity is widely endorsed. His distinction between the monist hedgehog and the pluralist fox, and his celebration of ‘the crooked timber of humanity’, have entered the vocabulary of modern culture, together with his hugely influential elaboration of the concepts of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ political liberty. A consummate essayist and letter-writer, he was famous for his virtuosity as a lecturer and talker. His distinctive deep, rapid voice was often heard on the radio, and he led many to explore his chosen subject – the history of ideas. He founded Oxford’s largest graduate college, Wolfson, which expresses his generous, unhidebound personality to this day.
Joshua Cherniss’s important new study was published on 28 March in the UK
The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library is the website of The Isaiah Berlin Literary Trust, which looks after all aspects of Berlin’s literary estate. The Trust’s main tasks are to publish Berlin’s work, including his letters; to maintain this website, on which unpublished material and relevant information is posted; and in general to foster awareness of and access to Berlin’s intellectual, literary and personal legacy. It is also hoped that this site may help bring to light those of Berlin’s letters that are still unknown to the Trust (some of which are in library archives, some in private hands), so that they may be considered for inclusion in the edition of his letters whose third volume is now in preparation.
Forthcoming See the covers of the recent and upcoming Berlinian publications | Registration now open for the NYRB conference in Oxford in June on Berlin, Hampshire and Williams | Alfred Brendel: ‘A Piano Alphabet’ (The 2013 Isaiah Berlin Lecture)
Recent items available online (latest first) Kindle edition of The Book of Isaiah | Hedgehog and fox – again | Review of Arie Dubnov’s biography of Berlin | Can anyone identify any more of Berlin’s heroes and villains (on his study door)? | Lessons from Isaiah Berlin’s liberal Zionism | Arie Dubnov at Jewish Book Week | A Mind and Its Time: The Development of Isaiah Berlin’s Political Thought
2012 Isaiah Berlin and the Politics of Freedom: ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ 50 Years Later | Isaac and Isaiah: The Covert Punishment of a Cold War Heretic | Isaiah Berlin and the Humanity of History | Isaiah Berlin’s Cold War Liberalism: Conference Report | A note on the webmaster | IB’s Desert Island Discs | Spartacus Educational biography | Filmed interview with Michael Ignatieff | Footage of the future Aline Berlin disembarking from SS Excambion in New York, January 1941 | Berlin and Trevor-Roper | Isaiah Berlin and Counter-Enlightenment Liberalism | Berlin on Twitter | Berlin, Liberal Democracy, Russia and China | Anna: Love in the Cold War – new Hawaii run | Isaiah Berlin Memorial Lecture by Michael Ignatieff in Riga | Trailer for new film on Berlin, Eisenstein and Riga | Panels from centenary exhibition at Wolfson College | Isaiah Berlin Day in Riga, 6 June 2012 | Isaiah Berlin and the Riga of His Time | What is Jewish (if anything) about Isaiah Berlin’s philosophy? | ‘My Name Is Isaiah Berlin, and I Come from Riga’ | The Wolfson College Isaiah Berlin Lecture 2012: Helena Kennedy | Liberal Pluralism and Its Critics: September colloquium in Paris | New Facebook page for Berlin | Isaiah Berlin Riga Memorial Lecture, 6 June 2012: Michael Ignatieff, ‘Isaiah Berlin, the Soviet Empire and the Captive Nations’ | What is true political wisdom? | Berlin in Moscow | Dag Einar Thorsen on Berlin, Popper and Neoliberalism | NKVD intercepts of IB’s wartime dispatches [search for ‘Halifax’] · Other examples in Alexander Vassiliev’s notebooks | The Bed, the Map and the Butterfly | Lucian Freud paints Isaiah Berlin
2011 ‘Bastardised libertarianism’ | Charles Blattberg on Berlin | Video clips of/about Berlin | Hermione Lee on Isaiah Berlin and Anna Akhmatova | Dressing like a grownup | Isaiah Berlin, part 4: Liberalism’s flawed freedom | Treacherous liberties | Isaiah Berlin, part 3: The anti-liberalism of the ‘big society’ | Isaiah Berlin, part 2: What Is ‘Good’ Freedom? | Berlin and Derrida | Michael Ignatieff on Berlin | Isaiah Berlin, part 1: What is liberalism? | So much for the Encyclopædia Britannica | Ich bin ein Berliner | The crooked timber of Isaiah Berlin | Adam Curtis’s TV treatment of negative and positive liberty | A reply to Perry Anderson | Rights must be grounded in eternal truths | Broken Britain: Blame Isaiah Berlin! | Why America is deeply in need of a good hedgehog | Head to Head (BBC Radio 4): Quentin Skinner and Paul Kelly on Berlin’s 1974 conversation with John Vaizey about equality | Great thinkers in their own words (BBC4): clips of Berlin in Episode 2 | New collection of essays in Spanish on Berlin | Berlin and anti-liberalism in Israel | Hedgehogs and foxes in Cameron’s cabinet | Book on Berlin by Connie Aarsbergen-Ligtvoet | Negative and positive liberty defined | Berlin the preserver of forgotten genius | Berlin and Riga | Two concepts of liberty in a nutshell | Perfectionist liberalism | Berlin and human rights | Liberalism in Australia | Is Jairam Ramesh a fox? | Berlin on the USA | Can the Pope be a Berlinian? | Berlin room in Ben-Gurion University | Documentary film by Michael Ignatieff | Angus Sibley on negative liberty | Can one be an American Zionist rabbi? | Aung San Suu Kyi on Berlin | Portrait by R. B. Kitaj
Recent additions to the site A number of Chinese and Japanese items have been added to the lists of books and articles on IB; notification of any additional items in any language would be gratefully received