Russell, Bertrand, 3rd Earl Russell

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Russell, Bertrand, 3rd Earl Russell (1872–1970). In his long and complex life, Russell took many roles. He was a grandson of the Lord John Russell who had introduced the Great Reform Bill in 1831. After a distinguished mathematics and philosophy course at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was elected to a fellowship. His major early work was Principles of Mathematics, written by 1910 but not published until 1930. It was followed by Principia mathematica (1911) and The Problems of Philosophy (1912). During the First World War Russell's pacifist activities resulted in the loss of his fellowship. In the inter-war years he lectured and wrote copiously, was increasingly tempted to set up as sage, and produced facile, readable essays. In 1938 he took an academic post in America and stayed there for most of the Second World War. His History of Western Philosophy (1945) sold well and removed his financial troubles. He was given the OM (1949) and the Nobel prize for literature (1950). His private life continued to be as demanding as ever, with four marriages, and innumerable affairs. From 1954 onwards he took a prominent part in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, instantly recognizable in public demonstrations against the bomb. His judgement became foolish and he declared that Harold Macmillan was worse than Hitler. By his supporters he was regarded as a man of vast moral authority, by his opponents as a rather dotty peer.

J. A. Cannon

More From Encyclopedia.com


You Might Also Like