British idealism is usually regarded as having been, in the main, indifferent to the problems of the philosophy of history. The interest in the philosophy of history found in German, and later in Italian, idealism was allegedly not shared by the early generations of the British idealists. At best they are regarded as unwitting precursors of things to come, some of their reflections paving the way for subsequent advances in historical thinking. The British idealists, however, were not as economical with (...) their historical pronouncements as commonly believed. A more careful examination of their general writings and lesser known contributions reveals a more complex picture. One of stronger historical consciousness, knowledge of the philosophical developments in history, interest in its problems, and active involvement with historical scholarship. Further study will certainly illuminate the details of the entire character of British idealism with regard to its historical concerns. (shrink)
This paper suggests that Collingwood's fairy tales writings can be read as a historical study on the origins of European religion. His interest in fairy tales belongs to a clear tradition, whose members include John Ruskin, Benedetto Croce and most importantly Giambattista Vico, that realised the potential of fairy tales as evidence for historical knowledge. In this context fairy tales should be understood as myths that are not symbols but truthful, poetically expressed, narrations of the lives and societies of past (...) people. Furthermore the connection of certain of those myths with religion was also recognised as an important element. Collingwood in his fairy tales study extends and clarifies this line of inquiry. He interprets certain themes of fairy tales as myths, suggesting that the origins of European religion and society can be detected in the totemistic beliefs of the pre-Neolithic people. (shrink)
This book explores the connection between history and mythology by engaging with myths not as allegories or falsehoods, but as representations of historical experience. The Historical Value of Myths is an illuminating read for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers in the fields of mythology, the philosophy of history and anthropology.