Treasure in the fox's den

Aurelian Craiutu in the LRAB:

The publication of Berlin’s writings slowed down after the appearance of Personal Impressions in 1980. It was only toward the end of the decade that Hardy came up with the idea of collecting more essays in a volume that appeared later as The Crooked Timber of Humanity (1990). A key moment occurred when the editor was invited to visit the cellar of Berlin’s house in Oxford, which Hardy memorably describes as his “Tutankhamun’s tomb” moment. There he discovered a rich treasure consisting of miscellaneous papers, placed in various boxes, suitcases, and trunks. “The quantity of material was overwhelming, terrifying, and exhilarating,” Hardy notes. In total, here and elsewhere in the house, he found around 180,000 leaves, which ended up filling more than 800 boxes in the Bodleian Library. They included many texts that Berlin had put aside decades earlier, some of which had disappeared even from his own memory.