Maynard Keynes: An Economist's Biography

Maynard Keynes: An Economist's Biography

Maynard Keynes: An Economist's Biography

Maynard Keynes: An Economist's Biography


Based on an intimate knowledge of its subject and his environment, this biography of the most influential economist of the 20th-century traces Keynes's career on all its many levels.


Almost any biographer, if he respects fact, can give us more than another fact to add to our collection. He can give us the creative fact; the fertile fact; the fact that suggests and engenders.

(Virginia Woolf, ‘The Art of Biography’)

I first encountered Keynes in the fall of 1961 when my College ran supplementary tutorials for students in introductory economics. Ian Drummond, who took the class, decided that we would work our way through Keynes’s General Theory and Alvin Hansen’s A Guide to Keynes (1953). Both were heavy going for someone with no previous exposure to economics. But by the end of that year I had decided to read economics. I did not read all that much Keynes for undergraduate examinations, but I was sufficiently interested to persuade my mother to give me Roy Harrod’s The Life of John Maynard Keynes (1951) as a Christmas present in 1963 and to prepare papers on Keynes for undergraduate discussion societies in my final year. But I did not intend to pursue my interest in Keynes at an academic level: I was much more interested in becoming an economic historian.

In the fall of my final undergraduate year, I made the usual applications to graduate schools in the United States. But then, indirectly, Keynes again entered my life—and changed it. After the war, King’s College, Cambridge, had decided to use some of the wealth which Keynes as Bursar had created to establish two overseas studentships, one for Canada and one for Australasia. 1965 was the year for the Canadian studentship, which was then in the gift of Derwyn Owen, the Provost of my College at the University of Toronto, Trinity. in December 1964 I was called to the Provost’s Office and asked if I would like the studentship. After consulting my father, I accepted. I thus applied to be a research student in economic history in Cambridge.

The autumn of 1965 found me in King’s. I had gone to England on the Queen Mary and arrived after the beginning of term. On arriving in Cambridge I found an invitation to meet the King’s economists that first evening. I met Richard Kahn, Nicholas Kaldor, Robin Marris, Luigi Pasinetti and Richard Stone, as well as Joan Robinson, in those days . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.