[Bertrand Russell, major philosopher and Nobel laureate.] Producer Hugh Burnett’s copy of the typed transcript of Russell’s celebrated BBC TV interview with John Freeman in the series ‘Face to Face’, with proof and printing marks for publication.

Bertrand Russell [3rd Earl Russell] (1872-1970), major philosopher and Nobel laureate [John Freeman (1915-2014), Labour MP and interviewer on 'Face to Face'; Hugh Burnett (1924-2011), BBC TV producer]
Publication details: 
Without date or place, but BBC TV interview on 4 March 1959; and this transcript produced for inclusion in version published in London in 1964.
SKU: 23781

The present item is the producer Hugh Burnett's own copy, from his papers, of the transcript of John Freeman's celebrated interview with Bertrand Russell, broadcast as the second in the BBC series 'Face to Face' on 4 March 1959. This single-spaced typed transcript was produced for inclusion in Burnett's book 'Face to Face / Edited and introduced by Hugh Burnett' (London: Jonathan Cape, 1964), and is marked up with printing instructions in pencil and red ink, with a few proof corrections in green ink. 5pp, foolscap 8vo, on five leaves stapled together. In fair condition, lightly aged, with slight staining at head of first leaf, causing the red ink of a note (‘The first section (and the footnote) are to be reversed black to white’) to run, and tape stains at end of text on first and last pages. The present interview is one of the most celebrated in this groundbreaking series. In it, among many other topics, Russell explains the ‘sheer pleasure’ he got from mathematics, ‘something analagous to religious satisfaction’: ‘My first less in mathematics I had from my brother, who started me on Euclid and I thought it the most lovely stuff I’d ever seen in my life. I didn’t know there was anything so nice in the world. I remember it very well. But I remember that it was a disappointment because he said, “Now we start with axioms.” And I said, “What are they?” And he said, “Oh, they’re things you’ve got to admit though we can’t prove them.” So I said, “Why should I admit them if you can’t prove them.” And he said, “Well, if you won’t, we can’t go on,” and I wanted to see how it went on, so I admitted them pro tem.’ He also describes his opposition to the First World War (being attacked ‘by a mixture of colonial troops and drunken viragos’ at a pacifist meeting, his brother’s intervention to secure him a more lenient sentence for causing ‘bad relations between England and the United States’); and losing a lectureship because of ‘a whole rabble in New York of uneducated Irish people’. Towards the end of the interview, Russell discusses his views on nuclear weapons, and his statement had an a great effect at the time. The interview concludes, movingly, with a statement that is more pertinent today than ever: ‘The moral thing I should wish to say to them is very simple. I should say: Love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way and if we are to live together and not die together, we must learn the kind of charity and the kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.’