ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Joan Robinson

Joan Robinson

I received several emails and calls remonstrating that I exaggerated somewhat in my review article on the biographies of “Joan Robinson: The Grand Dame of Economics” (EPW, 8 January) when I used the expression “loathed” for the feelings of economists, engaged in economic discourses with Joan Robinson though my description of her persona has a solid basis in the biographers’ accounts. I wanted to support my judgment by narrating what Nicholas Kaldor felt about her behaviour but I refrained from it. In view of the reactions of many readers, I reproduce from the letter of 5 January 1958 of Claisse, Kaldor’s wife, to Richard Kahn (now in the archives of the King’s College, Cambridge, UK) which will show that I did not exaggerate a whit.

From Claisse to Richard Kahn (RF/3/26/1)

Nicky has been increasingly unhappy in Cambridge, partly due to the atmosphere in the College and the faculty but chiefl y because of the breach with Joan, which is superficially healed. He still feels it impossible to discuss economics with her, and this poisons everything. All his new ideas have been greeted with carping hostility (not only by Joan) and this is not stimulating or encouraging to academic work. It was in order to work on his book on growth that he was so very keen on the California year (Berkley) – at present Cambridge does not provide the atmosphere for serious academic work.

Deena Khatkhate

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