An Autobiography by R.G. Collingwood

There are surprisingly few good autobiographies by philosophers. They tend to be disappointingly superficial and to give little sense of what it is like to be in the thrall of philosophical perplexity.

Russell’s My Philosophical Development is an exception to this, and so too is Collingwood’s ( and marvellous work, which, though militantly ‘internal’ and intellectual (one gains almost no sense from it of what Collingwood’s personal life was like), conveys vividly the forces which drove Collingwood’s philosophical thinking. Collingwood’s contributions to philosophy have been disgracefully under-valued, but this should not put anybody off reading this gem of a book.

Follow up an interest in R.G. Collingwood with D’Oro, G., 2002, Collingwood and the Metaphysics of Experience, London and New York: Routledge. (

An Autobiography was first published 1939.

196 pages in Oxford University Press paperback edition

ISBN 978-0198246947

R.G. Collingwood

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