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The Afterlife of Idealism

The Impact of New Idealism on British Historical and Political Thought, 1945-1980

Authors: Skodo, Admir

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  • Examines how British historians used the new idealism to reshape the nature of history in the welfare state period
  • Demonstrates how absolute idealism was radically transformed in twentieth century Britain
  • Argues that the philosophical idealism of leading intellectuals had an unmistakable impact on the historical and political thought of leading British historians and public figures
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eBook $89.00
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-29385-1
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Hardcover $119.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-29384-4
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $119.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-80559-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book examines the legacy of philosophical idealism in twentieth century British historical and political thought. It demonstrates that the absolute idealism of the nineteenth century was radically transformed by R.G. Collingwood, Michael Oakeshott, and Benedetto Croce. These new idealists developed a new philosophy of history with an emphasis on the study of human agency, and historicist humanism. This study unearths the impact of the new idealism on the thought of a group of prominent revisionist historians in the welfare state period, focusing on E.H. Carr, Isaiah Berlin, G.R. Elton, Peter Laslett, and George Kitson Clark. It shows that these historians used the new idealism to restate the nature of history and to revise modern English history against the backdrop of the intellectual, social and political problems of the welfare state period, thus making new idealist revisionism a key tradition in early postwar historiography.

About the authors

Admir Skodo is a researcher at Lund University, Sweden.

Reviews

“The Afterlife of Idealism is a rich history that covers a complex landscape of political theory, historical writing, and social criticism from early post-war Britain. … the book is for a wide range of readers, from intellectual historians to those interested in the history of philosophy and historiography.” (Julia Moses, European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 26, 2018)
“The Afterlife of Idealism offers another perspective on British historiography in one of its most fecund phases. In Skodo’s book Carr’s What is History? is not the starting point of post-war historical reflection; post-war historians were already caught up in historical philosophising and philosophical history. After The Afterlife of Idealism, Elton, Clark, Laslett, et al. are far harder to pigeon hole, far more plural in their predilections than may be popularly imagined.” (Jamie Melrose, Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice, October, 2017)

“Idealism, goes the conventional wisdom, ran aground in the 20th century on the shoals of analytic philosophy, historical materialism and phenomenology. And yet, as Admir Skodo shows in this fine-grained study, it had a robust afterlife—in what he calls its “new” rather than “absolute” form—in postwar British historiography. The lessons of Croce, Collingwood and Oakeshott inspired historians who resisted their discipline’s transformation into another social science and sought a way beyond Whig triumphalism.” (Martin E. Jay, Ehrman Professor, University of California Berkley, USA)

“The book is a very welcome and profoundly original scholarly interpretation of the complex fate of philosophical idealism in the 20th century. Late 19th century Absolute Idealism is seen to morph subtly into a ‘new idealism’ by the 1930s and thence into a powerful tradition of historical and political writing, dominating both the inter and the post-war years. Intricate echoes of this tradition still, in fact, permeate debates to the present day and to neglect it is to seriously misconstrue the whole character of historical and political thought.” (Andrew Vincent, Emeritus Professor, Cardiff University, United Kingdom)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-29385-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-29384-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $119.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-80559-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Afterlife of Idealism
Book Subtitle
The Impact of New Idealism on British Historical and Political Thought, 1945-1980
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-29385-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-29385-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-29384-4
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-80559-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VII, 301
Topics