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Second Edition

Isaiah Berlin and Edited by Henry Hardy

March 2002

ISBN: 9780199249893

416 pages

In Stock

Price: £32.99



Liberty is an expanded edition of Isaiah Berlin's classic of liberalism, Four Essays on Liberty. Berlin's editor Henry Hardy has incorporated a fifth essay, as Berlin wished, and added further pieces on the same topic, so that Berlin's principal statements on liberty are available together for the first time. He also describes the gestation of the book and throws further biographical light on Berlin's preoccupation with liberty in appendices drawn from his unpublished writings.

  • An expanded edition of what Isaiah Berlin himself regarded as his most important book
  • Adds a fifth essay, 'From Hope and Fear set Free', which Berlin had hoped to include in the original edition
  • Also included are three of Berlin's other writings on liberty - 'Liberty', 'The Birth of Greek Individualism', and 'Final Retrospect' - and three autobiographical pieces - 'The Purpose Justifies the Ways', 'A Letter to George Kennan' (previously unpublished), and 'Notes on Prejudice'
  • A critical bibliography by Ian Harris brings together the growing mass of literature on Berlin's work with brief critical commentary
  • An extended preface by the editor gives a fascinating insight into the struggle behind the creation of this highly influential work

About the Author(s)

Isaiah Berlin, late Professor of Social and Political Theory, and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and Edited by Henry Hardy, Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford

Table of Contents

    The Editor's Tale
    Five Essays on Liberty
    Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century
    Historical Inevitability
    Two Concepts of Liberty
    John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life
    From Hope and Fear Set Free
    Other Writings on Liberty
    The Birth of Greek Individualism
    Final Retrospect
    Autobiographical Appendices
    The Purpose Justifies the Ways
    A Letter to George Kennan
    Notes on Prejudice
    Berlin and his Critics by Ian Harris


A magnificent and indispensable volume: the best introduction to the most important and enduring of Berlin's ideas. - John Gray

For anyone wishing to have the essence of Berlin's thinking, Liberty is the volume to have. - John Banville, Irish Times

'Liberty not only offers a comprehensive overview of Isaiah Berlin's main topics and ideas, but also enables us to understand the development and relevance of those ideas in the context of his personality. - Steffen Gross, Dialektik

Practically every paragraph introduces us to half a dozen new ideas and as many thinkers - the landscape flashes past, peopled with familiar and unfamiliar people, all arguing incessantly. It is all a very long way from the austere eloquence of Mill's marvellous essay On Liberty, with which this collection's title seems to challenge comparison; but it is a measure of the stature of these essays that they stand such a comparison. - Alan Ryan, New Society

These famous essays ... are informed by that radical humanism, in the truest sense of that impoverished word, which has attached Sir Isaiah so closely to such nineteenth century figures as Herzen and Mill ... - Philip Toynbee, Observer

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