The Sense of Reality: Studies in Ideas and Their History

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Macmillan, Dec 26, 1998 - History - 304 pages
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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Isaiah Berlin's The Sense of Reality contains an important body of previously unknown work by one of our century's leading historians of ideas, and one of the finest essayists writing in English. Eight of the nine pieces included here are published for the first time, and their range is characteristically wide: the subjects explored include realism in history; judgement in politics; the history of socialism; the nature and impact of Marxism; the radical cultural revolution instigated by the Romantics; Russian notions of artistic commitment; and the origins and practice of nationalism. The title essay, starting from the impossibility of historians being able to recreate a bygone epoch, is a superb centerpiece.


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The sense of reality: studies in ideas and their history

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Berlin was the leading historian of Western ideas in the post-World War II period until his recent death. His essays and interviews have now been published in several volumes. In this representative ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Sense of Reality
Political Judgment
Philosophy and Government Repression
Socialism and Socialist Theories
Marxism and the International in the Nineteenth Century
A Crisis in the History of Modern Thought
A Russian Legacy
Kant as an Unfamiliar Source of Nationalism
Rabindranath Tagore and the Consciousness of Nationality

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Judgments Under Stress
Kenneth R. Hammond
No preview available - 2000
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About the author (1998)

Sir Isaiah Berlin was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1909 and immigrated to England in 1921. Berlin's achievement as a historian and exponent of ideas earned him the Erasmus, Lippincott, and Agnelli Prizes. He also received the Jerusalem Prize for his lifelong defense of civil liberties. A Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, he was the author of ten other books. Sir Isaiah died in Oxford in November 1997.

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