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23 September 1993
Alien Homage: Edward Thompson​ and Rabindranath Tagore 
by E.P. Thompson.
Oxford, 175 pp., £8.95, June 1993, 0 19 563011 4
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... apparent contact with ordinary people, till he becomes, in our minds, one of the great stereotypes of that era, to figure occasionally in fairy tales such as Attenborough’s Gandhi. E.J., or Edward, Thompson, seldom remembered these days, and always uneasy in his role as ‘friend of India’, was, on the other hand, involved with the country of his long domicile (from 1910-23) in a way that was often ...

Total Solutions

Alan Brinkley

18 July 1985
The Heavy Dancers 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 340 pp., £12.50, March 1985, 0 85036 328 4
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Star Wars: Self-Destruct Incorporated 
by E.P. Thompson and Ben Thompson.
Merlin, 71 pp., £1, May 1985, 0 85036 334 9
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... About ten years ago, I heard Edward Thompson give a public lecture at Harvard University. He was not then an internationally renowned spokesman for the peace movement: there was at that point no peace movement of any consequence to be a ...
3 February 1983
The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialisation of 18th-Century England 
by Neil McKendrick, John Brewer and J.H. Plumb.
Europa, 355 pp., £18.50, July 1982, 0 905118 00 6
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... has often been discounted. In the 1950s and 60s Sir Lewis Namier and his clique concentrated almost exclusively on Georgian England’s political and parliamentary élite; in the 1970s and 80s E.P.Thompson and his comrades have stigmatised these same patricians while rescuing the plebs: both lobbies, it would seem, are as averse to describing the middling sort as they are to occupying the middle ground ...
8 May 1997
Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin/Stanford, 120 pp., £12.95, December 1996, 0 85036 457 4
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... E.P.Thompson, historian and peacemaker, known as Edward to his friends, died at his home near Worcester in 1993. Four years on, Beyond the Frontier is a volume of material set aside far earlier. Indeed, there ...

Memories of Tagore

E.P. Thompson

22 May 1986
... Encounter (1972) is one gate-of-entry into these problems of mismatch between the expectations of Western Orientalism and of Eastern Occidentalism, both of which Tagore confounded. Edward John Thompson (1886-1946) was then an educational missionary at the Wesleyan College at Bankura. He had published several volumes of verse, and was approaching proficiency in Bengali. After a brief meeting in ...
1 July 1982
The Fate of the Earth 
by Jonathan Schell.
Cape/Picador, 256 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 224 02064 1
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The Two-Edged Sword: Armed Force in the Modern World 
by Laurence Martin.
Weidenfeld, 108 pp., £5.95, March 1982, 0 297 78139 1
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Zero Option 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 198 pp., £10, June 1982, 0 85036 288 1
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Disarming Europe 
edited by Mary Kaldor and Dan Smith.
Merlin, 196 pp., £10, May 1982, 0 85036 277 6
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... any reviewer will want to be as brief and inconspicuous as possible: otherwise he risks having his own efforts compared with the brilliantly satirical and justly celebrated review which E.P.Thompson published in New Society some months back. Although it is rather unpleasantly savage in its attacks on Martin himself, the piece is nevertheless immensely entertaining, and its reappearance in a new ...

Examples

Denis Donoghue

2 February 1984
Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... H. Green, John Maynard Keynes, R.G. Collingwood, F.R. Leavis, George Orwell, Adrian Stokes, Tony Crosland – as he calls him – Richard Titmuss, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, John Berger, E.P.Thompson and Isaiah Berlin. If you need a stereotype of the English socialist, you may as well take this one as any other, though it’s hard to do any worthwhile thinking so long as you burden yourself with ...

Wordsworth’s Crisis

E.P. Thompson

8 December 1988
Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years 
by Nicholas Roe.
Oxford, 306 pp., £27.50, March 1988, 0 19 812868 1
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... even to prefer speculations to actual findings. Thus he speculates that an anonymous review (‘The Matter of Coleridge’s Revolutionary Youth’, TLS, 6 August 1971) might have been written by E.P.Thompson, a speculation which could have been translated into a finding at the cost of a postage stamp. But his speculations do not always compel assent. Thus his book is illustrated by a Gillray cartoon of a ...

Powers and Names

E.P. Thompson

23 January 1986
... With apologies to Szuma Chien)       You have the power to name:       Naming gives power over all. But who will name the power to name?                 Asked the oracle. Speech Like a silkworm on a mulberry leaf The unmannerly earth Gnawed at the edge of the sky and bit out mountains. Gorged with matter it dropped by the edge of the ocean, Cocooned in unconsciousness and ...

On the Rant

E.P. Thompson

9 July 1987
Fear, Myth and History: The Ranters and the Historians 
by J.C. Davis.
Cambridge, 208 pp., £22.50, September 1986, 0 521 26243 7
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... Professor J.C. Davis has written a book to show that the Ranters did not exist. There was no Ranter sect: no organisation: no acknowledged Ranter leadership. Those alleged to be leaders did not agree with each other on some points of doctrine; or they denied that they were Ranters; or they quickly recanted; or (like Laurence Clarkson, or Claxton, who acknowledged in his autobiographical The Lost Sheep ...

Blake’s Tone

E.P. Thompson

28 January 1993
Dangerous Enthusiasm: William Blake and the Culture of Radicalism in the 1790s 
by Jon Mee.
Oxford, 251 pp., £30, August 1992, 0 19 812226 8
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... Just under forty years ago David Erdman provided for William Blake historical contexts in abundance in Blake: Prophet against Empire (1954). It was a remarkable work of literary detection, which still dominates the field. Some Blake readers have felt that his attribution of correspondence between text and contemporaneous events was over-literal (as well as hazardous), and Jon Mee is one of these. Mee’s ...

Benevolent Mr Godwin

E.P. Thompson

8 July 1993
Political Justice 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, £150, November 1992, 1 85196 019 8
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The Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin 
edited by Mark Philp.
Pickering & Chatto, £395, March 1993, 1 85196 026 0
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Political Writings 
by Mary Wollstonecraft, edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 411 pp., £39.95, March 1993, 1 85196 019 8
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Memoirs of Wollstonecraft 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, 199 pp., £8.95, April 1993, 1 85477 125 6
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... A feast for the Godwinians. First comes the handsome facsimile of the quarto first edition of Political Justice (1793) in the series edited by Jonathan Wordsworth for Woodstock Books. This series makes available facsimiles of works which were significant to the Romantic poets, and in particular to Wordsworth and Coleridge. Jonathan Wordsworth’s breezy and unpedantic introduction seeks to bring the ...

Rolodex Man

Mark Kishlansky

31 October 1996
Liberty against the Law: Some 17th-Century Controversies 
by Christopher Hill.
Allen Lane, 354 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 7139 9119 4
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The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary England: An Essay on the Fabrication of 17th-Century History 
by Alastair MacLaclan.
Macmillan, 431 pp., £13.99, April 1996, 0 333 62009 7
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... It is becoming difficult to remember how influential Christopher Hill once was. When E.P.Thompson dedicated Whigs and Hunters to ‘Christopher Hill – Master of more than an old Oxford college’ he was recognising Hill’s stature as a historian, academic and public figure. From his perch as ...

Solitary Reapers

Christopher Salvesen

5 June 1980
The Dark Side of the Landscape: The Rural Poor in English Painting 1730-1840 
by John Barrell.
Cambridge, 179 pp., £15, March 1980, 0 521 22509 4
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... about the difference between the actuality of rural life in the later 18th century and the Romantic era and the image that we derive from various pictorial and literary sources. The work of E.P.Thompson is invoked to remind us that the labourers in the fields were often impoverished, exploited and degraded. In three essays and an introduction Dr Barrell looks at the figures in the paintings of Gains ...

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