Archive of Duncan Forbes

Administrative / Biographical History

Duncan Forbes (1922-1994) was a fellow of Clare College and Emeritus reader in the History of Modern Political Thought. Forbes came up to Clare in 1941, reading history and being awarded a degree after five terms on the basis of the wartime degree programme. He was called up for officer training in August 1942 and was awarded a Military Cross for his service during WWII before he returned to Clare in 1945. He received an MA in 1947 and was elected a fellow of Clare the same year.

Forbes became particularly well known for his knowledge and work on the Scottish Enlightenment. Duncan had several early 19C interests. His first book was a prize-winning essay on The Liberal Anglican Idea of History and though it focussed on English thinkers, it also revealed an interest in the 19th century revival of the 18th century Neapolitan philosopher, Giambattista Vico. Forbes had a further strong interest in Hegel, on whom he lectured, and wrote an introduction to the Lectures on the Philosophy of History

Forbes was the nephew of Mansfield Forbes who was also a fellow and historian of Clare.