Thursday, March 15, 2012

If you were in Britain and wanted a new book by a Russian professor in 1943, how would you get it

I dunno.

But Keynes apparently just sent a quick note to the Soviet ambassador (not to the ambassador's office - to the ambassador himself, at his home address, and signed "K") asking him if he could find him a copy. As if the Soviet ambassador to the United Kingdom, in the middle of a world war, was some kind of Barnes and Noble information desk clerk!

My fellowship applications that are due soon are all written up, so I've had more time to move this Keynes/Newton paper forward. It's fascinating to learn these little personal stories about Keynes. He was quite a character.


  1. Depending on whether you love or hate Keynes, this will be:

    a) A hilarious example of the cheeky chap in action

    b) Another indictment of his astounding arrogance


    1. The letter sounds like they were friends - this guy was the ambassador for years, so he certainly would have had opportunity to get to know him, and the letter has a tone of familiarity. I'm going to try to find out more today (along with tracking down the book he's referring to, which I'm having trouble with).

      Whatever their relationship, it's pretty funny. Even if they knew each other well it seems like an odd thing to go to the ambassador for!

  2. I look forward to your paper on Keynes, Newton, and the Soviets, Daniel Kuehn.

    Sorry to go off-topic, but did you get my latest message on Facebook?

  3. Spy? Someone they were trying to recruit or otherwise lead by the nose?

    Keynes was at Cambridge after all.

    Wasn't Pigou a spy for the Soviets?

    The Soviets put considerable effort into wooing Western intellectuals* during the 1930s and 1940s so it wouldn't be surprising if they went after Keynes.

    *With the opening of some of the archives it is easier to see how significant that effort was.


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