Review: Biographer’s insight into the seven lives of John Maynard Keynes

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Richard Davenport-Hines gave an interesting talk at Buxton’s Pavilion Arts Centre on his biography of John Maynard Keynes ‘Universal Man: the seven lives of John Maynard Keynes’.

His aim was to produce a biography which was light on economics and to shed light on other aspects of this hard working man of many talents.

He described Keynes as a great flirt, a member of the Bloomsbury set and a man with a deep interest in the arts. He was also a man who could change his mind. He worked hard to make the arts available to ordinary people. He was the founding chair of the Arts Council and sought to create ‘a nation of bookworms’. He was an early campaigner for birth control and for equal pay for women.

All this as well as working hard as an economist on both sides of the Atlantic and saving the UK from financial collapse in 1945. It was perhaps not surprising that Keynes worked himself to death at an early age.

He made on a real impact on the world we know today in many different ways and the speaker brought all these different contributions to life with many anecdotes.