The Roots of Romanticism is the long-awaited text of Isaiah Berlin's most celebrated set of lectures, the Mellon Lectures, delivered in Washington in 1965 and heard since by a much wider audience on BBC radio. For Berli, the Romantics set in train a vast, unparalleled revolution in humanity's view of itself. They destroyed the traditional notion of objective truth in ethicsm with incalculable, all-pervasive results. In his unscripted tour de force Berlin surveys the myriad attempts to define romanticism, distils its essence, traces its development, and shows how its legacy permeates our outlook today.
Isaiah Berlin was born in Riga, now capital of Latvia, in 1909. When he was six, his family moved to Russia, and in Petrograd in 1917 Berlin witnessed both Revolutions - Social Democratic and Bolshevik. In 1921 he and his parents emigrated to England, where he was educated at St Paul's School, London, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Apart from his war service in New York, Washington, Moscow and Leningrad, he remained at Oxford thereafter - as a Fellow of All Souls, then of New College, as Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, and as founding President of Wolfson College. He also held the Presidency of the British Academy.