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Publisher's Summary

This compelling audiobook narrated by Peter Kenny presents Isaiah Berlin's acclaimed essay on Tolstoy and historical understanding.

"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." This ancient Greek aphorism, preserved in a fragment from the poet Archilochus, describes the central thesis of Isaiah Berlin's masterly essay on Leo Tolstoy and the philosophy of history, the subject of the epilogue to War and Peace. Although there have been many interpretations of the adage, Berlin uses it to mark a fundamental distinction between human beings who are fascinated by the infinite variety of things and those who relate everything to a central, all-embracing system. Applied to Tolstoy, the saying illuminates a paradox that helps explain his philosophy of history: Tolstoy was a fox, but believed in being a hedgehog. One of Berlin's most celebrated works, this extraordinary essay offers profound insights about Tolstoy, historical understanding, and human psychology.

©1953, 2021 Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy, Michael Ignatieff (P)2021 Princeton University Press

Critic Reviews

"So entertaining, as well as acute, that the reader hardly notices that it is learned, too." (Arnold Toynbee, Observer)

"[Berlin] has a deep and subtle feeling for the puzzle of Tolstoy's personality, and he writes throughout...with a wonderful eloquence." (William Barrett, New York Times)

"Beautifully written and suggestive." (W. H. Auden, New Yorker)

What listeners say about The Hedgehog and the Fox (Second Edition)

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