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The General Theory in Keynes’s Biographies

Maria Cristina Marcuzzo ()

Chapter 2 in Keynes’s General Theory After Seventy Years, 2010, pp 28-42 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract It is perhaps fitting to mark the 70th anniversary of the General Theory (GT)1 with an assessment of what we have learned about this work from the vast research undertaken by three biographers of Keynes whose researches on his chapters and correspondence mark them out among scholars for their extraordinary scope and thoroughness. I will compare the analysis of the GT in Keynes’s three major biographies (Harrod 1951; Moggridge 1992; Skidelsky 1992) in order to assess the views presented there on the genesis of the book, the development of its main ideas and the various “versions” which have been produced ever since. Once set in the context of Keynes’s life, does the book prove more intelligible, and if so, in what respects? Can we detect different interpretations of its meaning and significance? On posing these questions and comparing these three biographers’ approaches to the subject matter, one should bear in mind that Harrod holds a peculiar position among the three. On the one hand he knew Keynes and participated in the process which led to the General Theory (he was also one of the people Keynes entrusted the proofreading to), while on the other hand he could not have full cornmand of the Keynes’s chapters, most of which were still uncatalogued and unpublished when he set about writing the biography. Moggridge, of course, enjoyed a very different position since, in his capacity as editor of the Collected Writings of J. M. Keynes, he was responsible for much of dating and ordering of the relevant papers, letters and manuscripts.

Keywords: General Theory; Economic Journal; Economic Thought; Effective Demand; German Edition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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DOI: 10.1057/9780230276147_3

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