Over at his blog Man Without Qualities, Leslie Marsh has recently posted a couple of Oakeshott curiosities. One is a link to Time magazine’s 1950 story about Oakeshott’s appointment to the LSE, which it seems is now online along with the magazine’s entire archive.
Philosospher of Conversation
Leslie’s other recent Oakeshott post was Philosopher of Conversation, about The Spectator’s anonymous eponymously-titled profile of Oakeshott.
Leslie says he suspects that the author of the piece was John Casey. In fact, I think there can be very little doubt about the matter. Oakeshott himself believed Casey to be the author, as he revealed in a letter to Peter Coleman which Coleman subsequently quoted in his obituary for Oakeshott. And Casey himself pretty much gave the game away in his non-anonymous review of Robert Grant’s book Oakeshott for the Times Literary Supplement (29 March, 1991), recycling anecdotes and turns of phrase from the earlier piece.
One of the amusing highlights of both pieces is the tale of the Cambridge don who, shortly after Margaret Thatcher obtained the leadership of Britain’s Conservative Party, lobbied her to accord Oakeshott some public honour — only to have her confuse Michael with some other academic named Oakeshott. In the anonymous Spectator article the don was unnamed; in the later review Casey outed himself as the don in question.