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Underneath the Spreading Christmas Tree

Gareth StedmanJones, 22 December 1994

Private Lives, Public Spirit: A Social History of Britain 1870-1914 
by José Harris.
Oxford, 283 pp., £17.95, June 1993, 0 19 820412 4
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... In high criticism, Victorianism is generally presented as the artless antonym of modernity. It fades away anywhere between 1901, the year of Victoria’s death, and 1910, the year of the Post-Impressionist Exhibition (the birth of the modern world, according to Roger Fry); or, more obviously, 1914. The terms of this contrast were clearly implied in Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians, published in 1918 ...

Thou shalt wage class war

Gareth StedmanJones, 1 November 1984

Proletarian Philosophers: Problems in Socialist Culture in Britain 1900-1940 
by Jonathan Rée.
Oxford, 176 pp., £15, February 1984, 0 19 827261 8
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... Sometime in the late Sixties, I was invited, along with some senior socialist historians, to meet Bill Craik, a veteran and pioneer, so I was told, of independent working-class education. The intention was to find a practical means of honouring his work. I was taken to a tiny North London council flat, and there sitting in the middle of its cramped living-room, I encountered a very ancient and frail-looking man, striking mainly for the large and antique ear-trumpet which he applied when straining to catch remarks addressed to him ...

The Flight of a Clergyman’s Wife

Gareth StedmanJones, 27 May 1993

Annie Besant: A Biography 
by Anne Taylor.
Oxford, 383 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 19 211796 3
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... The only woman I have ever known who is a real orator, who has the gift of public persuasion’, Beatrice Webb noted when she met Annie Besant. ‘But to see her speak made me shudder. It is not womanly to thrust yourself before the world.’ Extraordinary ‘self-assurance’ was the quality picked out by Gladstone, when, as prime minister, he took time off to review Besant’s autobiography in 1893 ...

Politics First

Jose Harris, 19 April 1984

The Chartists 
by Dorothy Thompson.
Temple Smith, 399 pp., £19.50, February 1984, 0 85117 229 6
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Languages of Class: Studies in English Working-Class History 1832-1982 
by Gareth StedmanJones.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £22.50, January 1984, 0 521 25648 8
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Class Power and State Power 
by Ralph Miliband.
Verso, 310 pp., £18.50, March 1984, 0 86091 073 3
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... is scarcely borne out by the social identity of its leaders – some of whom, notably O’Connor, Jones and O’Brien, were indisputably middle-class, whilst others like Hetherington, Harney and Lovett became so by a process of upward social mobility. Mrs Thompson claims that ‘the genuinely middle-class Chartists were very few in number’, but she nowhere ...

Find the Method

Timothy Shenk: Loyalty to Marx, 29 June 2017

Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion 
by Gareth StedmanJones.
Penguin, 768 pp., £14.99, May 2017, 978 0 14 102480 6
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... to seize control of their world. They would be history’s masters, not its victims. Gareth StedmanJones came across Sartre’s writings on Marxism when he was about the same age Sartre had been when he first read Marx. A Francophile in his adolescence, ...


Susan Pedersen, 6 October 2011

Structures and Transformations in Modern British History 
edited by David Feldman and Jon Lawrence.
Cambridge, 331 pp., £50, January 2011, 978 0 521 51882 6
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The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain 
edited by Simon Gunn and James Vernon.
California, 271 pp., £20.95, May 2011, 978 0 9845909 5 7
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Classes, Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin 
edited by Clare Griffiths, John Nott and William Whyte.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, April 2011, 978 0 19 957988 4
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... men who have done much to shape British social history over the last four decades: Ross McKibbin, Gareth StedmanJones and Patrick Joyce. I should say before I go any further that I too am a modern British historian: this is my subject and my tribe. I’ve met the dedicatees, most of the editors and a majority of the ...

A Long Forgotten War

Jenny Diski: Sheila Rowbotham, 6 July 2000

Promise of a Dream: A Memoir of the 1960s 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Allen Lane, 262 pp., £18.99, July 2000, 0 7139 9446 0
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... the importance of the clitoris, an introduction to a circle of socialists – Robin Blackburn, Gareth StedmanJones, Perry Anderson – who challenged her acceptance of Edward Thompson’s non-sectarian New Left, the frivolity of mascara) came from Bob Rowthorn, who became Rowbotham’s adviser and long-term – oh ...


Jon Elster, 18 March 1982

Marx’s Politics 
by Alan Gilbert.
Martin Robertson, 326 pp., £16.50, August 1981, 0 85520 441 9
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The History of Marxism. Vol. 1: Marxism in Marx’s Day 
edited by Eric Hobsbawm.
Harvester, 349 pp., £30, January 1982, 0 7108 0054 1
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Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism 
by Russell Jacoby.
Cambridge, 202 pp., £15.80, January 1982, 9780521239158
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Analytical Foundations of Marxian Economic Theory 
by John Roemer.
Cambridge, 230 pp., £19.50, August 1981, 0 521 23047 0
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Karl Marx: The Arguments of the Philosophers 
by Allen Wood.
Routledge, 304 pp., £13.50, January 1981, 0 7100 0672 1
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... Italian opposition to Engels around the turn of the century. A useful treatment is that of Gareth StedmanJones, in his contribution ‘Engels and the History of Marxism’ to the volume edited by Hobsbawm. This issue is linked to the first, since those who embrace the Science of Logic also tend to hold that the ...

For ever Walsall

Angus Calder, 21 March 1985

Rural Life in England in the First World War 
by Pamela Horn.
Gill and Macmillan, 300 pp., £25, November 1984, 0 312 69604 3
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Britain in Our Century: Images and Controversies 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 9780500250914
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Labour and Society in Britain: 1918-1979 
by James Cronin.
Batsford, 248 pp., £8.95, August 1984, 0 7134 4395 2
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Women in England 1870-1950: Sexual Divisions and Social Change 
by Jane Lewis.
Wheatsheaf, 240 pp., £16.95, November 1984, 0 7108 0186 6
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... dangerous and should be finally discredited. Writing about the centenary of the Fabian Society, Gareth StedmanJones recently made the simple yet profound observation that ‘in no other country is it easy to imagine a socialist association able to celebrate a hundred years of continuous existence’ and suggested ...

The light that failed

Peter Clarke, 18 September 1980

The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815-1848 
by Maxine Berg.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £16, April 1980, 0 521 22782 8
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Masters, Unions and Men 
by Richard Price.
Cambridge, 355 pp., £18.50, June 1980, 0 521 22882 4
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Work, Society and Politics 
by Patrick Joyce.
Harvester, 356 pp., £24, July 1980, 0 85527 680 0
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... He argues, in line with other Marxist historians working in this field, like James Hinton and Gareth StedmanJones, that revolutionary class-consciousness can grow out of a struggle for control of production itself. The Leninist model is thus discarded as a schematic imposition of ahistorical categories upon ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel, 4 July 1996

Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... Studies is striking in the light of his innuendoes about Williams’s supposed philistinism). Gareth StedmanJones, one of Inglis’s interviewees, is quoted in the book as complaining of Williams’s ‘sentimentalising’ of the General Strike. I would argue, to the contrary, that in making it the central drama ...

I ain’t a child

Roy Porter, 5 September 1996

Growing Up Poor: Home, School and Street 1870-1914 
by Anna Davin.
Rivers Oram, 289 pp., £19.95, January 1996, 9781854890627
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... lines used to be uncomplicated, drawing as they did on the Marxist scenario of class struggle – Gareth StedmanJones’s classic Outcast London (1971) was significantly subtitled ‘A Study in the Relationship between Classes in Victorian Society’. Traditional labour history had no doubts who the heroes and the ...

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