Brief Lives

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Alistair MacFarlane reveals paradoxes in the long life of the third Earl Russell.

Bertrand Russell, third Earl Russell, was born on 18th May 1872 at Cleddon Hall, Monmouthshire, into one of the great political families of Britain. His grandfather, Lord John Russell, the Whig politician and first Earl, who twice became Prime Minister, steered the 1832 Reform Act through Parliament. John Stuart Mill was Bertrand’s godfather, and young Bertie was introduced to Queen Victoria when he was two years old. Russell became a great and innovative philosopher, but he had politics in his genes.

Russell’s mother died when he was two years old, his father when he was three.

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