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... John Deodoran, Magus of the Scrolls, Lord Justice Clam and Lord Justice Null. Law Reporter: E.P. Thompson The Court of Appeal enforced circumlocutory injunctions restraining the Fourth Estate from publishing whatever any judge had injuncted, whether it had already been universally published or no. The greater part of the submissions were heard in camera and ...

Memories of Tagore

E.P. Thompson, 22 May 1986

... 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 Calcutta, Tagore invited him to visit him at his school ...

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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... 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 London Corresponding Society open-air meeting, and in ...

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 ...

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 leader into that circle at that time, so that s/he can place the two heavy volumes on a desk and be drawn into the self-satisfied philosophical benevolence and contempt for all received opinion and custom which inspired those young enthusiasts ...

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 Found that he had been known as the ‘Captain of the Rant’) might have been falsifying their own record for the sake of better setting off their new convictions (Clarkson had become a Muggletonian ...


E.P. Thompson: On the NHS, 7 May 1987

... or ‘Thou shalt wait in line and not make a personal fuss.’ The notion that Edward Thompson is dedicated to avoiding fuss will surprise my old acquaintance, not least any survivors of the leadership of the British Communist Party of 1956 or Lord (‘Flash Harry’) Butterworth, late of Warwick University. I have made one or two public fusses in ...

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 grass, An existence unknown to itself, Waiting to be spun by nimble tongues into languages ...

Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson, 18 December 1986

... In the previous article we discussed the unusual concern of the past 14 years to ‘strengthen’ (or subdue) jury practices, some of which date back hundreds of years. There has always been another resource of jury ‘strengthening’, which is jury-packing. A disquisition on this ancient British practice would require a further essay, much longer than the present one ...

Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson, 4 December 1986

... It was nice to be awoken on 12 November by the BBC informing us that the Queen’s Speech would announce measures ‘to strengthen the jury system’. It is, after all, a very ancient English institution for which we feel a ritualistic affection. And it is good to know that our betters are taking care of it. There have been a lot of measures to ‘strengthen the jury system’ in recent years ...

Bankura’s Englishman

Amit Chaudhuri, 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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... 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 uncomfortable but always intimate; he reappears now in a ...

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 spokesman for. He was, however, one of the most influential historians of his time ...

In Praise of Lolly

Linda Colley, 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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... 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 of historical controversy. The economic historians ...

The End of the Future

Jeff McMahan, 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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... 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 collection of ...

Convenient Death of a Hero

Arnold Rattenbury, 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 occurs in it a passing reference to ‘the raw material for half-finished books on William Blake and Customs in Common’, works long since published ...

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