Recordings of Isaiah Berlin

Enquiries are often received about publicly available recordings of Berlin speaking. This page gives the current answer.

A selection of recordings of Berlin’s lectures and broadcasts is being made available online. These can be found both on the Oxford University website and on iTunes U.

On this site there is a link to a 1959 film clip on the right of the picture gallery, under the search box. The UK hardback edition (now out of print) of The Roots of Romanticism includes a CD of IB delivering the last lecture; this lecture is also available on this site. All six lectures can be heard at the British Library Sound Archive in London, and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Some recordings of Berlin dictating, speaking on the radio and being interviewed are excerpted briefly in an article on editing his work, posted on this site where you can also listen to a complete recording of his initial dictation of Two Concepts of Liberty

Berlin appears with Stuart Hampshire in an hour-long film entitled ‘I’m Going to Tamper with Your Beliefs a Little’, the second of six educational films on philosophy made by Michael Chanan, collectively known as Logic Lane (1972). These films are available online to universities with access to Edinburgh University’s Film & Sound Online holdings. They are also available on YouTube (the IB film begins here), which is worth monitoring (there is a search facility), since several other recordings are posted there unofficially, for example the first of Michael Ignatieff’s two obituary documentaries about his life. There is an excerpt from the IB film in the first, introductory, film of the series, also called ‘Logic Lane’. Another extract is available here.

Numerous other recordings can be heard by prior appointment at the British Library Sound Archive. See the catalogue of broadcasts on this site.

A recording of Berlin’s appearance on Desert Island Discs and other Berlinian radio programmes are available on the BBC website.

Online searches reveal further items.

In preparation for his biography of IB, Michael Ignatieff recorded many long conversations with IB, and several with others. Transcripts are available here, and the recordings themselves here.