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He went to America a lot afterwards as a visiting professor, but never took up a full-time post there. I first met him because I applied to Wolfson College, a graduate students’ college, in Oxford in 1971.I had been an undergraduate in Oxford, and after a year off doing other things I wanted to return to do graduate work in philosophy. I’m very grateful to Merton, because had I not failed there I wouldn’t have applied to Wolfson. It wasn’t yet in its new buildings – the buildings which it occupies now, which Berlin was influential in commissioning – but occupied two separate houses in the Banbury Road.
He achieved a key position right at the heart of the British establishment, which he somehow underlined by always wearing a three-piece suit.
But he denied that he was English: he said he was, and remained, a Russian Jew.
He has edited many books by Berlin, including those discussed in this interview.
The fourth and final volume of his edition of Berlin's letters, Affirming: Letters 1975-1997, co-edited with Mark Pottle, was published by Chatto & Windus in September 2015.
Against those who proclaimed they had found the one true path to political salvation, Berlin stood in the way, a champion of pluralism, the many-pathed way. In 1969, to be young was heaven -- and to be seized with intimations of heavenly omniscience.
His most famous is "The Hedgehog and the Fox," a wonderfully imaginative division of the great thinkers of history into those who have one big idea (hedgehogs) and those who have many small ones (foxes). He believed that single issues, fixed ideas, single-minded ideologies are dangerous, the royal road to arrogance and inhumanity.Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in.He was one of the great intellectuals of the 20th century, but a people person with little interest in publishing books.These additions help us to grasp the nature of Berlin's "inner citadel," as he called itthe core of personal conviction from which some of his most influential writing sprung.Isaiah Berlin was a Fellow of All Souls and New College, Professor of Social and Political Theory, and founding President of Wolfson College.He has also added further pieces that bear on the same topic, so that Berlin's principal statements on liberty are at last available together in one volume.Finally, in an extended preface and in appendices drawn from Berlin's unpublished writings, he exhibits some of the biographical sources of Berlin's lifelong preoccupation with liberalism.Liberty is a revised and expanded edition of the book that Isaiah Berlin regarded as his most important Four Essays on Liberty, a standard text of liberalism, constantly in demand and constantly discussed since it was first published in 1969.Writing in Harper's, Irving Howe described it as "an exhilarating performancethis, one tells oneself, is what the life of the mind can be." Berlin's editor Henry Hardy has revised the text, incorporating a fifth essay that Berlin himself had wanted to include.He went to Oxford, and Oxford became his spiritual home – his intellectual home – for the whole of his life.He was there right through from being an undergraduate until he died, apart from a period during the war when he served the British government in America – in New York and Washington – commenting on American political affairs.