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Latvian-born British political philosopher, regarded as one of the leading liberal thinkers of the Twentieth Century.
Berlin excelled as an essayist, lecturer and conversationalist. He was a brilliant speaker who made rapid and spontaneous delivery of richly referenced material, coherently structured, whether for a lecture series at Oxford University or as a broadcaster on the BBC Third Programme, usually without notes. Many of his lectures were collected later in book form.
Berlin was the first person of Jewish descent to be elected to a prize fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford. From 1957 to 1967, he was Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1963 to 1964. In 1966, he helped to found Wolfson College, Oxford, and became its first President.
Berlin was knighted in 1957, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1971. He was President of the British Academy from 1974 to 1978. He also received the 1979 Jerusalem Prize for his writings on individual freedom.Berlin's work on liberal theory, especially his 1958 inaugural lecture, "Two Concepts of Liberty", famous for its distinction between positive and negative liberty, has had a lasting influence on debate.
This is a fascinating survival - a fragment from the guest book of a British diplomat, stationed in some critical places in the 1940s and 1950s, notably Moscow and Delhi .
This is an entry for a dinner party in Moscow on the 27th September, 1945. The piece (approximately 6" x 3") is signed in ink by Isaiah Berlin, who was then First Secretary at the British Embassy and by other notables, including General James Gammell (a Military Cross winner and Head of the British Military Mission), Eddy Gilmore (Head of AP's Moscow Bureau) and Tamara Gilmore (his Russian wife) and the French diplomat, Pierre Charpentier.
The right edge of the piece is irregularly torn, but that apart, condition is good.