BERTRAND RUSSELL: The Ghost of Madness, 1921- 1920
The second thick volume of Monk’s biography of influential Welsh logician, philosopher, and social critic Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) traces the latter half of a long, eventful life. Monk, a British writer and broadcaster, argues tenaciously that Russell, despite his many professional and intellectual achievements, was a tragic figure of misdeeds, anxieties, and betrayals, a man whose life "seems to have been drawn inexorably towards disaster."
The story is indeed depressing in some respects. In 1921, Russell was 49 years old, an established presence in London literary circles, with half of his life still ahead—but his best philosophical work, including the groundbreaking arguments of The Principles of Mathematics (1903) and the three volumes of Principia Mathematica (1910–13), written with Alfred North Whitehead, was behind him. Because of his active pacifism, he had lost his fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1916 and had been jailed for six months in 1918. He had dropped his first wife, Alys, with a coldness bordering on brutality, and his relationship with his second wife, Dora, was difficult, partly because both were given to frequent infidelities.
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