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Autobiography [Format Kindle]

John Robson , John Stuart Mill

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

One of the greatest prodigies of his era, John Stuart Mill (1806-73) was studying arithmetic and Greek by the age of three, as part of an astonishingly intense education at his father's hand. Intellectually brilliant, fearless and profound, he became a leading Victorian liberal thinker, whose works - including On Liberty, Utilitarianism, The Subjection of Women and this Autobiography - are among the crowning achievements of the age. Here he describes the pressures placed on him by his childhood, the mental breakdown he suffered as a young man, his struggle to understand a world of feelings and emotions far removed from his father's strict didacticism, and the later development of his own radical beliefs. A moving account of an extraordinary life, this great autobiography reveals a man of deep integrity, constantly searching for truth.

Book Description

1924. Published for the first time without alterations or omissions from the original transcript. Mill's autobiography shows the growth of a man in the midst of his age. It is the personal, though dispassionate, story of the conflict of an integrated spirit with the ideas and with the affairs of men. One sees an age, and one sees a man; both man and age are so much a part of our own day that by knowing them we learn to know ourselves.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 364 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 242 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0140433163
  • Editeur : Penguin; Édition : Reprint (27 avril 2006)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0140433163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140433166
  • ASIN: B002RI9R9I
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5  13 commentaires
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A classic worthy of being called a classic 15 novembre 2006
Par Kindle Customer - Publié sur
This book is so wonderful on so many different levels that to give it a review at all would be a disservice. My recommendation is not on whether or not to read it but instead on how to read it. I suggest a quiet room, comfortable chair or couch, cup of coffee and a few hours of uninterrupted reading time. After completing the book, rest and repeat as desired.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Mill-mental history and due credit as biography 10 avril 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Mill meets his opening promise to track his astounding and slightly disturbing early education, moral/intellectual development, and allotment of credit to those who shaped his ideas. Mill chooses not to share many narrative details of his colorful life, but instead focuses on the plethora of theories that shaped one of the greatest minds of his century. At times references to obscure works or persons can be tiresome as he "gives credit" to them. Mill's relationhsips with his wife and father and his embracing of poetry after a corrosively reasoned childhood education are the most fascinating facets of the work.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "The Econony of Melancholy" 6 novembre 2006
Par Magellan - Publié sur
Mill's remarkable childhood education prepared him to be one of the leading intellectuals of his day (far surpassing his father, James Mill, who was no slouch, but not in his son's league) but while I admire his erudition and achievements, one has to wonder if the deep depression he fell into in his mid-20s had something to do with that.

Mill's contributions are better remembered than many of the other famous British intellectuals of the period--such as Herbert Spencer--whose particularly invidious version of the theory of Social Darwinism is best left languishing in obscurity. Who today remembers the prolific Spencer, whose collected works run to over 20 large volumes?

Mill is frank about his depression and how debilitating it was, and what a struggle it was to pull through it. But with the help of his best friend, he pulled out of it and went on to write many important works in philosophy, logic, political science, and economics.

Mill's I.Q. was certainly very high (estimated by psychologist Katherine Cox using a modified ratio I.Q. method to be at least 200), but very likely his father's misguided efforts to produce a prodigy and homegrown, British Wunderkind (to compete with the legendary "Infant of Lubeck," no doubt :-)) were the cause of his long, serious depression.

Mill's text on econonics, which was called Political Economy back in those days (also the title of his book, if I remember right), was the longest running and most successful college text of all time, being used for the next 50 years until the 1920s when the "New Economics" of the day, championed by the field of microeconomics and the theory of the firm, made a more modern, updated text necessary.

For me the most interesting part of the book was Mill's theory of history, with positive periods of creative cultural development being followed by periods of negation and dissolution. Mill summarizes it as follows (I think I'm remembering the quote more or less accurately): "During the positive periods mankind adopts with conviction some positive creed, claiming jurisdiction for all their actions proceeding from it, and possessing more or less of the truth and adaptation to the needs of humanity; when a period follows of negation and dissolution, during which mankind loses its old beliefs, of a general and authoritative character, except the belief that the old are false." Mills theory has parallels to the earlier Hegel's historical dialectic and later to Oswald Spengler's theory, and to later 20th century historian Arnold Toynbee's idea of "challenge and response."

For another more literary (and probably more interesting) take on depression by another British intellectual, you might try Richard Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (not to be confused with the African explorer by the same name). After all, anyone who says that "Giraffes live for love," not to mention palm trees, can't be all bad. :-)
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Mind is not enough 31 octobre 2004
Par Shalom Freedman - Publié sur
John Stuart Mill was raised by his father to be his intellectual heir, and a great genius. There is something moving about the care taken by the father to teach his wunderkind son all that he knew. The father was with Jeremy Bentham the guiding spirit of the philosophical movement Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism was a mechanical kind of philosophy which thought it possible to measure the goodness of action by measuring the amount of pleasure against the amount of pain. Mill followed the path his father set out from him, adopted his father's values and social conscience and was already by the tender age of twenty a distinguished intellectual figure. But then he asked himself the question if the realization of all his social schemes and all the grand social ideals would bring him happiness. And he understood that it would not. He understood in other words that all this focus on outward good and action, on mechanical measures for human life was missing some vital component in life and in himself. Mill went into a great depression. What brought him out was the reading of the poetry of Wordsworth and the understanding that there is a dimension of feeling, a dimension of the inner life which is somehow more important than all the social thought. This did not mean that Mill abandoned the path of social reform but rather that he changed its direction. Part of this change had to do with his meeting his relationship with Harriet Taylor, his embracing in a certain sense of liberal ideas on the role of women in society. Mill found himself and continued on his intellectual path, a path which would lead him to produce one of the masterpieces of modern political thought, "On Liberty ".
14 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The book explains him better than anyone else is likely to 22 octobre 2004
Par Bruce P. Barten - Publié sur
This AUTOBIOGRAPHY makes more sense than trying to learn anything. John Stuart Mill was born on 29 May 1806 and died 8 May 1873, already old and famous in England and Ireland about when the young Nietzsche became a professor and started publishing his early works. James Mill must have learned Greek so he could read the original version of the Bible when he was studying to be a Scotch Presbyterian minister, but he didn't become a minister. He started to teach is eldest son, John Stuart Mill, Greek at the age of three. The AUTOBIOGRAPHY pictures the father and son working side by side until the father was appointed to a post as Assistant Examiner of India Correspondence in 1819, often attempting to follow suggestions of David Ricardo (1772-1823). John Stuart Mill learned to compare the ideas of Ricardo and Adam Smith at such a young age that his ideals easily rose above levels of thought that would be considered common. "Believers shrink from every train of ideas which would lead the mind to a clear conception and an elevated standard of excellence, because they feel (even when they do not distinctly see) that such a standard would conflict with many of the dispensations of nature, and with much of what they are accustomed to consider as the Christian creed. And thus morality continues a matter of blind tradition, with no consistent principle, nor even any consistent feeling, to guide it." (Chapter II. 1813-21 Moral Influences in Early Years. My Father's Character and Opinions).

The most honest portion of the book is Chapter V. 1826-32 A Crisis in my Mental History. One Stage Onward. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) had provided Mill with the desire "to be a reformer of the world." "But the time came when I awakened from this as from a dream. It was in the autumn of 1826." I consider this a modern intellectual reaction, and was most interested in his early attention to "The results of association." . . . "the strongest possible associations of the salutary class ; associations of pleasure . . . intense associations of pain and pleasure, . . . But there must always be something artificial and casual in associations thus produced." His activities continued, but "this is the only year of which I remember next to nothing." Modern mass communication has surrounded us with so much stimulus that it is difficult to picture many people getting through their lives without having every year end up like that. Nietzsche had an early friendship with Wagner and numerous books to keep reminding him who he was or what he thought that he ought to become, but the biographies of those who have lived since then lack the basic significance that we ought to expect of anyone capable of changing the minds in the world since Albert Einstein became the great thinker.

Chapter VII. 1840-70 General Review of the Remainder of my Life, provides many political points which are still worth pondering. Current politics in America strongly in favor of a rich aristocracy, mightily in favor of winning a war on terrorism in battles far from home, I consider possibly as short-sighted as the interest of England in supporting the Confederacy in Civil War in America. Here I should let John Stuart Mill explain:

"But the generation which had extorted Negro emancipation from the West India planters had passed away ; another had succeeded which had not learnt by many years of discussion and exposure to feel strongly the enormities of slavery ; and the inattention habitual with Englishmen to whatever is going on in the world outside their own island, made them profoundly ignorant of all the antecedents of the struggle, insomuch that it was not generally believed in England, for the first year or two of the war, that the quarrel was one of slavery. There were men of high principle and unquestionable liberality of opinion, who thought it a dispute about tariffs, or assimilated it to the cases in which they were accustomed to sympathize, of a people struggling for independence."

" . . . when there occurred, towards the end of 1861, the seizure of the Southern envoys on board a British vessel, by an officer of the United States. Even English forgetfulness has not yet had time to lose all remembrance of the explosion of feeling in England which then burst forth, the expectation, which prevailed for some weeks, of war with the United States, and the warlike preparations actually commenced on this side."

John Stuart Mill did what he could to keep daily events from turning into a war which would have split the United States permanently. He was later lucky to be elected to Parliament even though "it was, and is, my fixed conviction, that a candidate ought not to incur one farthing of expense for undertaking a public duty." "I said further, that if elected, I could not undertake to give any of my time and labour to their local interests. . . . I made known to them, among other things, my conviction (as I was bound to do, since I intended, if elected, to act on it), that women were entitled to representation in Parliament on the same terms with men." He often won by being right on the merits. "My position in the House was further improved by a speech in which I insisted on paying off the National Debt before our coal supplies are exhausted, and by an ironical reply to some Tory leaders who had quoted . . . my `Considerations on Representative Government,' which said that the Conservative party was, by the law of its composition, the stupidest party."
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