Essay Topic 1
Berlin uses the adage of the fox and the hedgehog to describe Tolstoy as a materialist who saw the value of being an idealist, but in Tolstoy's works, the authorial eye could only see the grand designs, never by the characters. Which characters tried to see the design behind events? Which authors did not? Which authors were successful?
Essay Topic 2
What are Berlin's main concerns as a biographer? Is he telling the stories of the lives of the writers, or the development of the ideas they lived by? Is he telling individual lives, or facets of the life of a culture? Is Berlin a fox or a hedgehog by temperament?
Essay Topic 3
Where else in the modern world are people playing out this tension between progress on one hand and nationalism or localism, on the other? How does the Russian example--of revolutionaries trying to preserve Russian...
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