Bertrand Russell, by John G. Slater; with a preface by Ray Monk* Source: Bertrand Russell, by John G. Slater; with a preface by Ray Monk. (Bristol, England; Thoemmes Press, 1994. xii, 171 p. Bristol Introductions series)
Introduction by the authorThis little book is intended as an introduction to Bertrand Russell's life and work, and not, except perhaps incidentally, as an original contribution to Russell studies. Because he lived for nearly a century and wrote for a significant portion of every day for more than sixty of those years, his written work presents a daunting obstacle to anyone seeking to understand him. A short work which discusses a sample of his ideas should therefore prove useful to some who wonder where to begin. It is hoped, of course, that readers of this book will afterwards start their own adventure with Russell. They will find him one of the most stimulating writers of this century and a sheer delight to read.
In 1940 a benighted lawyer in New York City denounced Russell's works as 'lecherous, libidinous, lustful, venerous, erotomaniac, aphrodisiac, irreverent, narrow-minded, untruthful, and bereft of moral fibre', but that lawyer is remembered now only for his silly remarks. Oddly enough, Russell profited from this attack, although it was hardly intended that he should, because the very extravagance of it led to wide publicity and brought him and his books to the notice of many who had never read him. Once they began to read him, the quality of his writing - its wit and its style, its substance and its daring - led them on from book to book. If I can, by a more sympathetic approach, recruit some to share my delight and interest in his work, I shall have reward enough.
1 August 1994