Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Looking for Eric

There are several new books of interest out now - for example Owen Hatherley's Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain and an edited collection on William Morris in the Twenty-First Century look intriguing, but it is pleasing to see that someone has finally attempted a full length study of Eric Hobsbawm's life and work:

Hobsbawm: History and Politics
Gregory Elliott

Pluto Press, 12/7/2010
ISBN: 978-0-7453-2844-7, ISBN10: 0-7453-2844-X,
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 160 pages,

Historian Eric Hobsbawm is possibly the foremost chronicler of the modern age. His panoramic studies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, stretching from the French Revolution to the fall of Soviet communism, have informed the historical consciousness of scholars and general readers alike. At the same time, his writings on labour movements and socialist politics have occupied a central place in left-wing debates. Despite this, no extended study of Hobsbawm's work has yet been attempted. Gregory Elliott fills this gap in exemplary fashion.

Elliott analyzes both the scholarly record of Hobsbawm and the intellectual and political journey that his life represents. In doing so, he seeks to situate Hobsbawm's thought within the context of a generalised crisis of confidence on the Left after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Rich in content and written in Elliott's authoritative and highly readable style, this book is a must for anyone with an interest in Hobsbawm and the crisis of the Left.

"The remarkable and prolific works of Eric Hobsbawm have gone too long without a serious critical analysis which treats them as an evolving whole. In a closely argued and highly readable account, Gregory Elliott sets out to fill this gap. Reviewing Hobsbawm's intellectual and political formation, his contributions to both academic and political debates, and his climactic interpretation of 20th century world history, Elliott provides not only a summary of each in turn but also a revealing exploration of the light they shed on each other." --Justin Rosenberg, Reader in International Relations, University of Sussex


Gregory Elliott is a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University. His books include Ends in Sight (Pluto, 2008), Perry Anderson: The Merciless Laboratory of History (1998) and Althusser: The Detour of Theory (2nd edition, 2006).

Table of Contents
Preface
Acknowledgements
1 Formative Experiences, Refounding Moments
2 The International and the Island Race
3 Enigmatic Variations
Conclusion: The Verdict of the World
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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