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Life after Life

Jonathan Rée: Collingwood, 20 January 2000

An Essay on Metaphysics 
by R.G. Collingwood, edited by Rex Martin.
Oxford, 439 pp., £48, July 1998, 0 19 823561 5
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The New Leviathan 
by R.G. Collingwood, edited by David Boucher.
Oxford, 525 pp., £17.99, March 1999, 0 19 823880 0
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The Principles of History 
by R.G. Collingwood, edited by W.H. Dray and W.J. van der Dussen.
Oxford, 293 pp., £48, March 1999, 0 19 823703 0
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... despite having a covetable job as Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford, Robin Collingwood disliked college life and despised academic forms of thought and writing, especially in philosophy. If the responsibilities attached to his job were performed expeditiously, it was only because he refused to give them a moment’s more attention than ...

A Few Home Truths

Jonathan Rée: R.G. Collingwood, 18 June 2014

R.G. Collingwood‘An Autobiography’ and Other Writings, with Essays on Collingwood’s Life and Work 
edited by David Boucher and Teresa Smith.
Oxford, 581 pp., £65, December 2013, 978 0 19 958603 5
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... An Autobiography​ ’ by R.G. Collingwood must be one of the most popular philosophical books in the English language, but when it was published in 1939, it was not expected to do well. Collingwood warned Oxford University Press that it was ‘destitute of all that makes autobiography saleable ...

Homage to Education

Colin McGinn, 16 August 1990

Essays in political Philosophy 
by R.G. Collingwood, edited by David Boucher.
Oxford, 237 pp., £25, November 1989, 0 19 824823 7
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The Social and Political Thought of R.G. Collingwood 
by David Boucher.
Cambridge, 300 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 521 36384 5
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... Robin Collingwood (1889-1943) was born 17 years after Bertrand Russell and died 27 years before him. Given the style and content of Collingwood’s philosophical work, this fact ought to seem surprising. For there is no apparent mark of Russell’s influence, nor of those who influenced him, upon Collingwood’s own philosophical corpus ...

Examples

Denis Donoghue, 2 February 1984

Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... Inglis presents under this rubric are William Morris, T.H. Green, John Maynard Keynes, R.G. Collingwood, F.R. Leavis, George Orwell, Adrian Stokes, Tony Crosland – as he calls him – Richard Titmuss, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, John Berger, E.P. Thompson and Isaiah Berlin. If you need a stereotype of the English socialist, you may as well take ...

How philosophers live

James Miller, 8 September 1994

A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises 
by Stanley Cavell.
Harvard, 196 pp., £20.75, July 1994, 0 674 66980 0
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... Despite obvious exceptions – memoirs by John Stuart Mill and R.G. Collingwood, confessions by St Augustine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau – autobiography is not a genre that comes naturally to most philosophers. The typical modern philosopher – the Kant of the three critiques, say, or the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus – seeks perfection in the composition of systematic treatises and closely-argued works of logic, not in the harvesting of personal memories, which (if one is honest) are inherently uncertain, often contradictory, and usually tinged with emotion ...

No More Scissors and Paste

Mary Beard: R.G. Collingwood, 25 March 2010

History Man: The Life of R.G. Collingwood 
by Fred Inglis.
Princeton, 385 pp., £23.95, 0 691 13014 0
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... In February 1938, R. G. Collingwood, then Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford and aged only 48, suffered a small stroke. It was the first of a series, each one more serious than the last, that would kill him within five years. The usual treatment in the 1930s was less effective than modern medical intervention but rather more enjoyable ...

Is It Glamorous?

David Simpson: Stefan Collini among the Intellectuals, 6 March 2008

Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 544 pp., £16.99, July 2005, 0 19 929105 5
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... or when the mark of approval goes only to those with average views. Take the case of R.G. Collingwood, who had no radio or television career and did not write for the newspapers, who was an exceptional scholar and philosopher, but who never lived up to his own expectations, and who figures here as an example of ‘one distinctively British way of ...

Victorian Piles

David Cannadine, 18 March 1982

The Albert Memorial: The Monument in its Social and Architectural Context 
by Stephen Bayley.
Scholar Press, 160 pp., £18.50, September 1981, 0 85967 594 7
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Victorian and Edwardian Town Halls 
by Colin Cunningham.
Routledge, 315 pp., £25, July 1981, 9780710007230
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... Osbert Sitwell, by contrast, thought it a ‘wistful, unique monument of widowhood’, but R.G. Collingwood found it to be ‘visibly misshapen, corrupt, crawling, verminous’. Hermione Gingold, on the other hand, presumably unaware of this swingeing condemnation, wanted to take it to her Desert Island, along with her discs. In part, perhaps, this bemused ...

An Urbane Scholar in a Wilderness of Tigers

Robert Irwin: Albert Hourani, 25 January 2001

A Vision of the Middle East: An Intellectual Biography of Albert Hourani 
by Abdulaziz Al-Sudairi.
Tauris, 221 pp., £12.99, January 2000, 9781860645815
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... does not discuss it, Hourani was also strongly influenced by the lectures and writings of R.G. Collingwood, for whom history and the philosophy of mind were a single subject: in studying the past, one was studying the mind and its ways of knowing. ‘History is the re-enactment in the historian’s mind of the thought whose history he is studying.’ For ...

So Much Smoke

Tom Shippey: King Arthur, 20 December 2018

King Arthur: the Making of the Legend 
by Nicholas Higham.
Yale, 380 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 300 21092 7
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... Are they not just a medieval anachronism?The answer to this seems to have been first given by R.G. Collingwood, in a few ill-advised sentences at the very end of his section of the Oxford volume on Roman Britain and the English Settlements. There he suggested that Artorius/Arthur could have been the commander of a late Roman field army, not of tramping ...

Was He One of Them?

J.G.A. Pocock, 23 February 1995

Edward Gibbon: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vols I-VI 
edited by David Womersley.
Allen Lane, 1114 pp., £75, November 1994, 0 7139 9124 0
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... retained Gibbon’s footnotes, but reinforced them with notes of his own – provoking R.G. Collingwood, for whom Gibbon was himself a phenomenon of living history, to remark that this was like playing an Elizabethan madrigal with a saxophone obbligato – and he supplied an Introduction studded with the names of Reifferscheid, Büttner-Wobst, Zachariä ...

A Kind of Integrity

Jonathan Barnes, 6 November 1986

Philosophical Apprenticeships 
by Hans-Georg Gadamer, translated by Robert Sullivan.
MIT, 198 pp., £13.95, October 1985, 0 262 07092 8
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The Idea of the Good in Platonic-Aristotelian Philosophy 
by Hans-Georg Gadamer, translated by Christopher Smith.
Yale, 182 pp., £18, June 1986, 0 300 03463 6
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... philosophical texts of the past. All this will remind English philosophers of the ideas of R.G. Collingwood, who believed that philosophy was a branch of history – the history of the prejudices and presuppositions of the human mind. It will remind Classicists of Seneca’s sarcastic quip: quae philosophia fuit facta philologia est. And Gadamer’s own ...

Works of Art

Peter Lamarque, 2 April 1981

Art and Its Objects 
by Richard Wollheim.
Cambridge, 270 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 0 521 22898 0
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Works and Worlds of Art 
by Nicholas Wolterstorff.
Oxford, 372 pp., £20, December 1980, 0 19 824419 3
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... radical theories, such as those of the Idealist school associated with Benedetto Croce and R.G. Collingwood, which identify all works of art with some inner state of mind of the artist? Wollheim argues that there is nothing in these objections that forces us to conclude that no works of art can be physical objects. But likewise he is careful to stress that ...

Builder of Ruins

Mary Beard: Arthur Evans, 30 November 2000

Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth 
by J.A. MacGillivray.
Cape, 313 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 224 04352 8
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... called him) on the site itself. In Minotaur, J.A. MacGillivray quotes the reaction of R.G. Collingwood, who declared that ‘the first impression on the mind of a visitor is that Knossian architecture consists of garages and public lavatories.’ There were plenty of other comments along similar lines. It was not only a question of ...

Bobby-Dazzling

Ian Sansom, 17 July 1997

W.H. Auden: Prose 1926-38, Essays and Reviews and Travel Books in Prose and Verse 
edited by Edward Mendelson.
Faber, 836 pp., £40, March 1997, 0 571 17899 5
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... from his review of Eliot’s A Choice of Kipling’s Verse: ‘Art, as the late Professor R.G. Collingwood pointed out, is not Magic, i.e. a means by which the artist communicates or arouses his feelings in others, but a mirror in which they may become conscious of what their own feelings really are: its proper effect, in fact, is ...

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