Collingwood’s An Autobiography

Collingwood’s An Autobiography

The best introduction to the ideas of philosopher-historian-archaeologist RG Collingwood (February 1889 – January 1943) has been written by Collingwood himself. This is his philosophical autobiography, titled An Autobiography. Collingwood’s other key works – The Idea of History and The Principles of History – do not make full sense unless their relationship to An Autobiography is appreciated. An Autobiography is short, opinionated in the best sense of the word, and very readable. Also, it is the only one of his major books of the later 1930s that Collingwood completed to the point of publication, with other central works unfinished at his early death and subsequently edited and published by others. It introduces various of the central epistemological and theoretical ideas associated with Collingwood, such as history from the outside in and inside out, history as the history of thought, the question and answer approach, re-enactment, and the avoidance of a scissors-and-paste approach to research and need to work with the traces of the past.

G. Collingwood: An Autobiography and other writings: with essays on Collingwood’s life and work. Ed David Boucher and Teresa Smith (2013) oxford: Clarendon Press.

Last updated: 10 June 2021


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