In celebration of the new printings of works by Isaiah Berlin, here is a “Throwback Thursday” image of the old jacket art from Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas. It was first published by Princeton in 2001 and the new edition will be available May 2013!
In this collection of essays, Berlin explains the importance of dissenters in the history of ideas. The history of ideas is a field of research that deals with the expression and change of human ideas over time. As a scholar in the history of ideas himself, Berlin’s essays in Against the Current have been heralded as luminous and rich.
In this particular volume of essays, Berlin examined figures who have had a significant influence on modern ideas, but were seen as relatively ridiculous in their own times. Among the essays in the collection, Berlin discusses ‘The Originality of Machiavelli’. Machiavelli’s most popular work The Prince was extremely controversial when it was published in the 1500s. While many at the time thought that his ideas concerning power and princedom were unconventional and even a bit ridiculous, The Prince had significant influence on later philosophical and political work.
For further reading while you are waiting for the new edition of Against the Current, PUP recently published an intellectual biography on Machiavelli:
Niccolò Machiavelli: An Intellectual Biography
by Corrado Vivanti, Translated by Simon MacMichael
Check out the Princeton Isaiah Berlin Facebook Page for more updates and information about all the new editions of Berlin’s works.