Vocation as Tragedy. Love and Knowledge in the Lives of the Mills, the Webers, and the Russells

Hanneke Hoekstra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Can love affect knowledge and knowledge affect love? John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor-Mill, Max and Marianne Weber, and Bertrand and Dora Russell had a definite vocation: they wanted to change the world. They questioned traditional gender arrangements through publications on equality, marriage, and education. They were liberal thinkers, advocating individual freedom and autonomy, vis à vis the constraints of state and society. Their partnership inspired their work, a living experiment conducted through their own unconventional relationship. Over time, their increasingly radical, avant-garde ideas on marriage complicated the ongoing negotiation over power and intimacy which typified their marriages. Building on the historiography of social science couples, and by means of an analysis of the micro-social dynamics of marriage as documented in the life writings of the Mills, the Webers, and the Russells, I analyse the connections between gender, intimacy, and creativity. These couples’ experiences highlight the non-rational dimension of a most rational endeavour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100918
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Vocation as Tragedy. Love and Knowledge in the Lives of the Mills, the Webers, and the Russells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this