The Social and Political Thought of Bertrand Russell: The by Philip Ironside

By Philip Ironside

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This pioneering examine of Bertrand Russell's social and political notion among 1896 and 1938 is the 1st publication to adopt a radical research of the highbrow and cultural context out of which Russell's principles emerged. holding a sympathetic yet severe stance in the direction of Russell's virtually innumerable political postures, the writer renders that idea either believable and coherent by means of putting its improvement opposed to an important historic history. the result's a hugely unique view of a massive and enduring figure.

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"Ironside's research is gifted with enviable readability and lots more and plenty strong humor, and provides a smart experience of the trajectory of Russell's multifaceted lifestyles and ever-evolving contexts...Philip Ironside has written an clever and lucid booklet of curiosity now not purely to experts on Russell's existence and suggestion but additionally to scholars of public lifestyles, social concept, and political debate in sleek Britain." Victorian Studies

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Extra resources for The Social and Political Thought of Bertrand Russell: The Development of an Aristocratic Liberalism (Ideas in Context)

Sample text

What follows is an account of how Russell's tenacious cultivation of an ascetic personality provoked a mental crisis, and his gradual development of, if not an aesthetic personality, then at least aspirations in this direction. Scattered throughout his autobiographical writings covering the period up to 1915 are various, and varied, accounts of conversions, insights, and sudden illuminations all presented as decisive moments in the metamorphosis of the author's character. For Russell these moments of illumination were productive not only of the personality which informs his work during the First World War, but also of the beliefs which he espoused — in short they help to explain how the rather prim, self-effacing author of German Social Democracy became the protagonist ofPrinciples of Social Reconstruction.

16 Displaying a Gladstonian distaste for the politics of class, Russell believed the English governing elite to be essentially principled - that principle and class interest coincided was convenient but should not be ascribed to base motives. '17 The 'English mind' was also accustomed to compromise in politics, and this he found to be utterly lacking in Germany. Although determinedly optimistic Russell gives no clear idea of how Liberal solutions could be implemented in a country where Liberalism was impotent, and he merely states what was required of the various parties involved.

With regard to Mrs Whitehead, however, there is no evidence of Out of the moral gymnasium 43 success on either the the romantic or the therapeutic front, and Russell appeared to become reconciled to repression as a way of life. Clark's view - that Russell's problems had little to do with his 'change of heart' and resulted instead from his being obliged by convention to suppress his love for Mrs Whitehead - seems altogether too simplistic, and reflects Russell's own preference for seeing his difficulties as circumstantial rather than psychological in nature.

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