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The Roots Of Romanticism

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192 pages


The Roots of Romanticism at last makes available in printed form Isaiah Berlin's most famous lecture series, the Mellon Lectures, delivered in Washington in 1965, recorded by the BBC, and broadcast several times. A published version has been keenly awaited ever since the lectures were given, and indeed Berlin had always hoped to complete a book based upon them. But, despite extensive further work, this hope was not fulfilled, and this book is an edited transcript of his spoken words. For Berlin, the Romantics set in train a vast unparalleled revolution in humanity's view of itself. They destroyed the traditional notions of objective truth and validity in ethics, with incalculable, all-pervasive results. As he said of them elsewhere: 'the world has never been the same since, and our politics and our morals have been deeply transformed by them. Certainly this has been the most radical, and indeed terrifying...change in men's outlook in modern times.' In these brilliant lectures Berlin surveys the myriad attempts to define Romanticism, distils its essence, traces its development from its first stirrings to its unbridled apotheosis, and shows how its lasting legacy permeates our contemporary outlook.



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