The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library

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Photograph of IB by Clive Barda© Isaiah Berlin was often described, especially in his old age, by means of superlatives: the world’s greatest talker, the century’s most inspired reader, one of the finest minds of our time – even, indeed, a genius. It may be too early to be sure about such strong claims. But there is no doubt that he showed in more than one direction the unexpectedly large possibilities open to us at the top end of the range of human potential, and the power of the wisely directed intellect to illuminate, without undue solemnity or needless obscurity, the ultimate moral questions that face mankind. 
Isaiah Berlin, philosopher and historian of ideas: born Riga, Latvia, 6 June 1909; Lecturer, New College, Oxford, 1932–8, Fellow 1938–50; Fellow, All Souls College, 1932–8, 1950–66, 1975–97; Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, University of Oxford, 1957–67; FBA 1957; knight 1957; Vice-President, British Academy, 1959–61,  President 1974–8; (first) President of Wolfson College, Oxford, 1966–175; Professor of Humanities, City University of New York, 1966–71; OM 1971; married 1956 Aline Halban (née de Gunzbourg; three stepsons); died Oxford, 5 November 1997. 

Works include Karl Marx: His Life and Environment (1939, fourth edition 1978), The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953), The Age of Enlightenment: The Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (1956), Four Essays on Liberty (1969)  and the following volumes edited by Henry Hardy: Russian Thinkers (1978, co-edited with Aileen Kelly), Concepts and Categories: Philosophical Essays (1978), Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas (1979), Personal Impressions (1980), The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas (1990),The Sense of Reality: Studies in Ideas and their History (1996), The Proper Study of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays (1997, co-edited with Roger Hausheer), The Roots of Romanticism (1999), The Power of Ideas (2000), Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder (2000), Liberty (2002) and Freedom and its Betrayal: Six Enemies of Human Liberty (2002).
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The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library