E. P. Thompson  

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Edward Palmer Thompson (3 February 1924 – 28 August 1993) was a British historian, writer, socialist and peace campaigner. He is probably best known today for his historical work on the British radical movements in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in particular The Making of the English Working Class (1963). Thompson published biographies of William Morris (1955) and (posthumously) William Blake (1993) and was a prolific journalist and essayist. He published the novel The Sykaos Papers and a collection of poetry.

His work is considered by some to have been among the most important contributions to labour history and social history in the latter twentieth-century, with a global impact, including on scholarship in Asia and Africa.

Thompson was one of the principal intellectuals of the Communist Party in Great Britain. Although he left the party in 1956 over the Soviet invasion of Hungary, he nevertheless remained a "historian in the Marxist tradition", calling for a rebellion against Stalinism as a prerequisite for the restoration of communists' "confidence in our own revolutionary perspectives".

Thompson played a key role in the first New Left in Britain in the late 1950s. He was a vociferous left-wing socialist critic of the Labour governments of 1964–70 and 1974–79, and an early and constant supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, becoming during the 1980s the leading intellectual light of the movement against nuclear weapons in Europe.

See also

Key works

  • The Making of the English Working Class London: Victor Gollancz (1963); 2nd edition with new postscript, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968, third edition with new preface 1980.
  • Time, work-discipline and industrial capitalism. Past & Present 38(1), 56-97 (1967)
  • Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Act, London: Allen Lane, 1975; with a new postcript, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977; London: Breviary Stuff Publications, 2012.
  • (editor) Albion's Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth Century England, London: Allen Lane, 1975.
  • William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary (1st ed. London: Lawrence & Wishart 1955, revised 2nd ed. New York: Pantheon, 1976).
  • The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays, London: Merlin Press, 1978.
  • Writing by Candlelight, London: Merlin Press, 1980.
  • Zero Option, London: Merlin Press, 1982.
  • Double Exposure, London: Merlin Press, 1985.
  • The Heavy Dancers, London: Merlin Press, 1985.
  • The Sykaos Papers, London: Bloomsbury, 1988.
  • Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture, London: Merlin Press, 1991.
  • Witness Against the Beast: William Blake and the Moral Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Alien Homage: Edward Thompson and Rabindranath Tagore, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • Making History: Writings on History and Culture, New York: New Press, 1994 (British edition: Persons & Polemics, Merlin Press, London 1994, ISBN 0850364396).
  • Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944, Rendlesham: Merlin, 1997.
  • The Romantics: England in a Revolutionary Age, Woodbridge: Merlin Press, 1997.
  • Collected Poems, Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1999.




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