The Sense of Reality: Studies in Ideas and Their History

Front Cover
Macmillan, Dec 26, 1998 - History - 278 pages

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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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

These essays by Isaiah Berlin didn't quite strike a chord with me. I did recognize impressive erudition in them, but it was not the kind of erudition which would inspire me. The first two essays ... Read full review

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User Review  - wildbill - LibraryThing

Sir Isaiah Berlin is one of my favorite authors. I have quite a few of his books. He writes about the history of ideas which covers a lot of territory. His knowledge of history, philosophy and ... 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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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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