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The Hedgehog And The Fox

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781474619714

Price: £7.99

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‘Brilliant. Searching and profound’ E.H. Carr, Times Literary Supplement
‘When reading Isaiah Berlin we breathe an altogether different air’ New York Review of Books
‘Beautifully written’ W. H. Auden, New Yorker
‘Ingenious. Exactly what good critical writing should be’ Max Beloff, Guardian

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.

For Isaiah Berlin, there is a fundamental distinction in mankind: those who are fascinated by the infinite variety of things – foxes – and those who relate everything to a central all-embracing system – hedgehogs. It can be applied to the greatest creative minds: Dante, Ibsen and Proust are hedgehogs, while Shakespeare, Aristotle and Joyce are foxes.

Yet when Berlin reaches the case of Tolstoy, he finds a fox by nature, but a hedgehog by conviction; a duality which holds the key to understanding Tolstoy’s work, illuminating a paradox of his philosophy of history and showing why he was frequently misunderstood by his contemporaries and critics.

With a foreword by Michael Ignatieff
A W&N Essential

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Reviews

This little book is so entertaining, as well as acute, that the reader hardly notices that it is learned too
OBSERVER
Very readable, with a lively honed down style
SUNDAY MERCURY
The most important study of Tolstoy's thought written in English for a long time
THE LISTENER
Brilliant ... searching and profound
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Delightful to read
SUNDAY TIMES
[Berlin] has a deep and subtle feeling for the puzzle of Tolstoy's personality, and he writes throughout ... with a wonderful eloquence
NEW YORK TIMES
Beautifully written and suggestive
W H Auden, NEW YORKER
Berlin's stunning command of the resources of scholarship, his sensitivity to literature and to character, and his eloquence as a writer give this essay the lustre of a virtuoso performance
ATLANTIC
The argument is ingenious and subtle, full of overtones - exactly what good critical writing should be
GUARDIAN