Bertrand Russell discovered mathematics at the age of eleven. It was, he recalled, a transporting experience: ‘as dazzling as first love.’
From that moment on, he would pursue his passion with undying devotion and all but erotic fervour. Mathematics might succeed, he felt, where philosophy had failed, reducing thought to its purest form, and freeing knowledge from doubt and contradiction.
And so, for a time, it seemed. Russell’s mathematical investigations effortlessly resolved at a stroke some of philosophy’s most intractable problems. Yet if mathematics could be a liberating mistress, she was an unreliable one…
Opening up the work of one of our age’s undisputed giants, Ray Monk’s exhilaratingly clear, readable guide tells a compelling human tale too: a moving story of love and loss, of ecstatic triumph and deep disillusion.