Economists' Lives: Biography and Autobiography in the History of Economics
This collection of essays, a supplement to History of Political Economy, brings together prominent scholars from economics, sociology, literature, and history to examine the role of biography and autobiography in the history of economics. The first of its kind, this volume looks at the relevance of first-person accounts to narrative histories of economics. The essays consider both the potential and the limits of life writing, which has traditionally been used sparingly by historians of economics, and examine types of biographies, the relationship between autobiography and identity, and the writing of biography.
Contributors to this collection question whether biography is essential to understanding the history of economic ideas and consider how autobiographical materials should be read and interpreted by historians. Articles consider the treatment of autobiographical materials such as conversations and testimonies, the construction of heroes and villains, the relationship between scientific biography and literary biography, and concerns related to living subjects. Several essays address the role of biography and autobiography in the study of economists such as F. A. Hayek, Harry Johnson, Alfred Marshall, John Maynard Keynes, Oskar Morgenstern, and François Quesnay, concluding with several accounts of the interconnection of the historians' projects with their own autobiographies.
All 2007 subscribers to History of Political Economy will receive a copy of "Economists' Lives: Biography and Autobiography in the History of Economics" as part of their subscription.
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It does, however, provide a useful starting point in considering a genre that has
recently proliferated, namely, short biographies of economists.1 Strachey was a
close friend and inspiration for the economist whose work forms the starting point
There are clearly radical differences between writing short biographies and long
ones. Whereas writing a long biography is frequently the result of immersing
oneself in a life, short ones typically involve much less intense engagement with
The epic had to be recast as the short story. I enjoyed the paring down, the
concentration on the essentials. In the end I felt that the article was better than the
book.18 16. Strachey's Eminent Victorians would fit in here, though one hopes
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Is Autobiography Antiacademic and Uneconomical?
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