Sunday, 20 June 2010

Isiaih Berlin at the Hotel Bristol, Beaulieu-sur-Mer

In January 1938 Isiaih Berlin, then 19 and at Oxford, was staying at The Hotel Bristol in Beaulieu in the South of France. This is part of a letter he wrote to Stephen Spender:

"The Riviera is dreary and hateful beyond belief. I had no choice but to go to this place, since I wished to finish Marx & at the same time not be totally isolated since in absolute solitude I tend to go mad. As a result I am living in luxury against which I have violent petit bourgeois feelings: look at Sir J Simon [Chancellor of the Exchequor, 1st Viscount Stackpool] and your uncle sitting under the trees of the Jardin Exotique: but am in fact writing very fast and ferociously. The weather is very good, which for one I dislike, since it gives open pleasure to so many detestable people: really you ought to come here and get a taste of the kind of society which produced the anarchists & dynamiters of 1880-90."

The hotel no longer exists. I think it probably didn't survive the Second World War.

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