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Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude 1872-1921
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Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude 1872-1921

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  49 ratings  ·  7 reviews
A definitive biography presents a portrait of the Nobel Prize-winning philosopher, uses unpublished letters, manuscripts, and papers that reveal his philosophical creativity, social conscience, and erotic drives.
Hardcover, 693 pages
Published October 11th 1996 by Free Press (first published 1996)
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Apr 02, 2014 H added it
Shelves: biography
ray monk's vol.1: spirit of solitude


"I remember an instant of the same pain at Southgate once in thinking of the sadness which is always suggested by natural beauty, when the idea flashed across my mind that when most in harmony with Nature I felt most sad, and that therefore the spirit of Nature must be sad and the Universe a mistake. Then I could not have borne it another instant, for though it came and went like a flash I felt as though I had been stabbed." (40

"What Spinoza calls the 'inte...more
Christine Sandgren
No one can capture the philosopher's life like a fellow philosopher. One of the more interesting character of the 20th century. Russell was a daring thinker and fearlessly applied his conclusions on life to his own-- with disasterous results. Turns out that thousands of years of human mores may have been there for a reason. Now we know.
John Harder
What a crummy book. I pick this out of the bargain bin to learn a little of the philosophy and mathematical theory of Mr. Russell. True this is a biography not a dissertation, but a man is his thoughts. So when you tell a man’s life it should be a manifestation of his mind. However after slogging through this poorly written book I still have no idea who this man was – I just know the names of all his girlfriends and his romantic tribulations. Who cares who he was kissing under the bleachers at t...more
Dozy Pilchard
At times brilliant, at other times tedious. This book lacks consistency. I spotted a couple of local places misnamed which undermined my faith in some of the other information. it is a monumental first part but I would have preferred it with 300 pages edited out. Far too much relationship info. Not needed. Also excessively negative much of the time. Monk being true to his feelings but not the best Russell biog in my opinion. Need a break before I pick up my copy of pt 2.
Marcus Speh
Jan 09, 2011 Marcus Speh added it
Shelves: reviewed
i read this book before and i'm reading it again. i don't want to rate it because i do loathe the message of the book as much as i admire the man russell. why am i reading it? because it is after all well written and the spirit of russell comes through anyway. worth getting if, after russell's autobiography, which is marvelous, you want to know more. but monk is a body-stripper, in my view.
Ray Monk is very good at what he does. I think this book would have been better if Russell had lived a shorter life. There wasn't that much cross over between the events of Russell's life and his philosophy.

If you are looking for a well written biography that shows how miserable Bertrand Russell was and why then this is the book for you. Unfortunately, that is what it is and it is hard bare.
Disappointing follow-up to Monk's LW.
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Ray Monk is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton, where he has taught since 1992.

He won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 1991 Duff Cooper Prize for Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. His interests lie in the philosophy of mathematics, the history of analytic philosophy, and philosophical aspects of biographical writing. He is currently working on a b...more
More about Ray Monk...
Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center How to Read Wittgenstein Bertrand Russell: 1921-1970, the Ghost of Madness Russell: The Great Philosophers

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