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This long-awaited second volume of Russell's best letters reveals the inner workings of a philosophical genius and an impassioned campaigner for peace and social reform. The letters, only three of which have been published before, cover most of Russell's adult life, a period in which he wrote over thirty books, including his famous History of Western Philosophy. Richly illustrated with photographs from Russell's life, the collection includes letters to Ho Chi Minh, Tito, Jawaharlal Nehru and Albert Einstein.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780415249980
ISBN-10: 0415249988
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 57mm)
Pages: 696
Imprint: Routledge
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 30-May-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » An "epistolary biography" comprised of a selection of Russell's previously unpublished correspondence - mostly love letters to his wife, Alys, mid to Ottoline Morrell, a married Bloomsbury courtesan - discussing his work, education, women's rights, and his own priggish morality. Griffin (Philosophy/McMaster Univ.) clearly appreciates both the cerebral "logic machine," as Russell called himself, and the lonely, confused, passionate lover. Descended from eccentric, politically powerful aristocrats and orphaned at an early age, Russell (1872-1970), over the objections of his grandmother, married an American Quaker five years his senior - the subject of many letters. Fearful of perpetuating the madness that had haunted both of their families, the couple avoided children but feared contraception, which Russell believed had caused his father's epilepsy. Still, the first ten years of his marriage were his most "fruitful" as a mathematical philosopher. They were followed by ten years of dutiful devotion to his emotionally fragile wife - whom, impulsively, he had decided he didn't love. Russell did love the elusive Ottoline, however, whom he wooed with long daily letters, over one thousand of them. During a year in America, he found a cure for the gum disease that had made him repugnant to Ottoline - and he fell for another woman, 28-year-old Helen Dudley, who, as this collection concludes, was on her way to England to marry him and to bear the children he longed for. The great names are all here: Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Joseph Conrad, Gilbert Murray, et al., with their brilliant minds, high causes - and dysfunctional lives. And, as these letters so pitifully reveal, Russell's strength as a philosopher - his abstract, unyielding, insular nature - prevented him from achieving the intimacy, children, and romance he craved. A brilliant psychological portrait, annotated and explained with tact and sensitivity. (Kirkus Reviews)


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