Robin G. Collingwood
"1889–1943, English philosopher and historian. From 1908 he was associated with
Oxford as student, fellow, lecturer in history, and professor of philosophy. Collingwood
believed that philosophy should be rooted in history rather than in formal science, and he
attempted to correlate creative endeavor with historical experience rather than to
sensation. He was also significant as a historian. In
(1936) and in some
150 monographs he brilliantly reconstructed that ancient era from his study of coins and
inscriptions. For his philosophical thought, see
An Essay on
(1933), Principles of Art (1938), and
The Idea of History
See studies by A. Donagan (1962, repr. 1986), M. Kraus, ed. (1972), and L. O. Mink
"English philosopher. Influenced by Hegel, Cook Wilson, and Croce, Collingwood
explored the implications of idealism for aesthetics and the philosophy of history in [his
books] Collingwood proposed that historical understanding be achieved through
empathetic reconstruction of the thoughts that motivated the actions of historical figures.
Recommended Reading: Aaron Ridley, Collingwood (Routledge, 1999);
Philosophy, History and Civilization: Essays on R. G. Collingwood, ed. by David
Boucher (U of Wales, 1996); and William H. Dray, History As Re-Enactment: R. G.
Collingwood's Idea of History (Oxford, 1999)."
R. G. Collingwood
"The Poetic Expression of Emotion." from
The Principles of Art
The artist proper has something to do with emotions, but not to arouse them.
The most commonplace answer [based on what we habitually say], and the one we
want here, is: he expresses them.
This is not a philosophical theory or definition of art but a fact [or a supposed
one], which we can later theorize about:
it simply means to identify what people
are saying when they say “art expresses emotion.”
[But I am skeptical about this.
He seems like Plato in trying to define something, although he claims not to be
giving a definition.]
process of expressing an emotion
At first he [the artist] is conscious of having an emotion, but is ignorant of it:
conscious of a perturbation or excitement, a sense of oppression.