A detailed and full-scale study of “Hegel and the ‘Gelstesleben’ of Great Britain” is still lacking. What we have, Instead, are either rough sketches for a later painting, or individual pieces for a mosaic, of which plenty of stones have not yet been produced. It has become clear, however, that any full-scale study would Involve at least five major areas:
a) Hegel's interest in and reaction to the political life of Great Britain, from the allusion to Pitt's politics of the 1790s to the Reform Bill article of 1831;
b) Hegel's indebtedness to Scottish political economy and theory of civil society (Ferguson, Hume, Steuart, Smith);
c) Hegel's assessment of British works of art (e.g. Shakespeare, Milton, Scott) and aesthetic theories (Shaftesbury, Kames);
d) Hegel's discussion of British philosophers in the History of Philosophy (Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Berkely, Hume, Scottish School);
e) Hegel's study of British historians (Gibbon, Hume) and his description of England's role in world history.
For the extent and dates of Hegel's contacts with these British sources, and to compare and identify them with certain passages from Hegel's writings, ths question of his knowledge of English is of considerable importance, rather than being a matter of mere biographical curiosity. However, before raising expectations too high, it must be emphasized that the present article does not provide, nor indeed pretend to provide, an ultimate answer to this question: a watertight proof has not yet come to light. What is hoped to be achieved is, firstly, to bring together the available direct and indirect evidence on the issue. Secondly, to draw some conclusions from the admittedly inconclusive material. These conclusions should be seen as first hypotheses which any scholar can scrutinize on the basis of the evidenoe presented. The greatest reward for the present attempt would be to spark off further research which eventually might result in finding further evidence.