Isaiah Berlin

1909 (Riga, Latvia) – 1997 (Oxford)

Berlin was praised and criticised for his intellectual breadth — as in his essay, a fox not a hedgehog. Akhmatova flattered herself that their meeting, which affected both deeply, helped start the Cold War (Pasternak and Korney were met on the same trip). Stravinsky (a friend, like Auden, Hobsbawm and Spender) proposed that they collaborate on a cantata. Brodsky said he spoke English like his native Russian, but faster. He took tea with both Freuds; the cowed Shostakovich stayed with him in Oxford. His extensive circle of correspondents ranged from Aron to Wheeler. Spender described him as a baby elephant.

Isaiah Berlin knew…

Leszek Kołakowski

1927 (Radom, Poland) – 2009 (Oxford)

Kołakowski said that Miłosz was overwhelmed with sadness. He met Adorno when he was briefly allowed to leave Poland, and was friends with Thompson for years through correspondence before actually meeting in England. Lefebvre co-authored a book with him.