"The fox is familiar with many stuff, however the hedgehog is aware one substantial thing." This old Greek aphorism, preserved in a fraction from the poet Archilochus, describes the vital thesis of Isaiah Berlin's masterly essay on Leo Tolstoy and the philosophy of background, the topic of the epilogue to War and Peace. even if there were many interpretations of the adage, Berlin makes use of it to mark a basic contrast among humans who're fascinated with the endless number of issues and those that relate every little thing to a important, all-embracing process. utilized to Tolstoy, the asserting illuminates a paradox that is helping clarify his philosophy of heritage: Tolstoy was once a fox, yet believed in being a hedgehog. considered one of Berlin's such a lot celebrated works, this outstanding essay bargains profound insights approximately Tolstoy, historic realizing, and human psychology.
This new version includes a revised textual content that supplants all past models, English translations of the numerous passages in overseas languages, a brand new foreword within which Berlin biographer Michael Ignatieff explains the long-lasting attraction of Berlin's essay, and a brand new appendix that offers wealthy context, together with excerpts from stories and Berlin's letters, in addition to a startling new interpretation of Archilochus's epigram.