Bertrand Russell the Passionate Skeptic: A Biography

By Alan Wood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
The Indefatigable Author

SOMETHING of the shyness of Russell's craving for friendship was shown in a letter he wrote to Charles Sanger in 1929: 'I am very sorry indeed to hear that you are so ill. . . . Dear Charlie, I don't think I have ever expressed the deep affection I have for you, but I suppose you have known of it.' Sanger died soon after, and Russell somewhat distressed his widow by a typical refusal to compromise--he would not attend the funeral because there was going to be a religious service. With the death of Sanger, Crompton Llewellyn Davies and Lady Ottoline Morrell, almost all his intimate friends had gone. Lady Ottoline died in 1938. She became deaf towards the end of her life; but, with typical kindness, she continued her Thursday salons, simply to give interesting people the pleasure of meeting each other, although with her deafness they could have given little pleasure to herself.

Russell lost philosophical friends too. He could not follow Wittgenstein in the mysticism shown in the latter parts of the Tractatus. And one day Wittgenstein solemnly told him: 'We will not talk together any more.'

Russell's divergence from Whitehead even preceded the parting of their philosophical views. It began, perhaps, on one occasion when he was arguing with Whitehead and Mrs Whitehead about Free Love, and I think we can assume that Russell was putting his views in the most provocative and outrageous way he could. Whitehead grew more and more indignant, and finally exclaimed: ' Bertie, you're an aristocrat, not a gentleman.' Mrs Whitehead once remarked that it was a great pity for Russell that he had enjoyed an independent income in his early years, and could thus do as he liked instead of being

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