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Encounters with Isaiah Berlin

Story of an Intellectual Friendship

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Andrzej Walicki

The volume contains Isaiah Berlin’s letters to his Polish friend, Andrzej Walicki, and Walicki’s detailed account of Berlin’s role in his life. Berlin actively promoted Walicki’s books on Russian intellectual history not only because of his own interest in the subject. Above all he wanted to promote Russian intellectual history as a separate, internationally recognized field of study and, therefore, warmly welcomed Walicki’s firm intention to study it in a systematic way, with the aim of providing a comprehensive synthesis of all important currents in pre-Revolutionary Russian thought. Already at their meeting Berlin discovered in Walicki a promising candidate to help him in laying foundations for Russian intellectual history as a legitimate part of the universal history of ideas; as a discipline rewarding in itself and particularly relevant for rediscovering the great traditions of the Russian intelligentsia and setting them against the stifling dogmas of Soviet totalitarianism.

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Editor’s Preface ............................................................................................... 7 Isaiah Berlin as I Knew Him ........................................................................... 9 1. First Encounter ...................................................................................... 9 2. The Basic Agreement: Challenging “Historical Inevitability” ............. 10 3. First Letter ............................................................................................ 15 4. Support and Friendship ......................................................................... 17 5. Liberalism and the Dilemmas of Turgenev .......................................... 21 6. Polonica ................................................................................................ 24 7. Marxism and the Question of Freedom ................................................ 30 8. The Russian Tradition ........................................................................... 34 9. Difficult Choices.................................................................................... 39 10. Attempts at a Recapitulation ................................................................. 44 11. Unpaid Debt .......................................................................................... 52 Isaiah Berlin Letters to Andrzej Walicki 1962-1996 .................................... 55 The Marxian Conception of Freedom ............................................................ 167 Berlin and the Intellectual History of the Russian Intelligentsia ................ 189 Appendix .......................................................................................................... 213 1. Andrzej Walicki: Acceptance Address At the Award Ceremony of the 1998 Balzan Prizes ........................................................................ 215 2. Main Facts about Andrzej Walicki’s Academic Career ...................... 217 3. Andrzej Walicki: A Panoramic View of my Work ............................. 218

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