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Eric Hobsbawm

From Academic Kids

Eric Hobsbawm (born June 9, 1917) is a British historian and author, earlier the leading theoretician of the now defunct Communist Party of Great Britain.

Hobsbawm was born to Jewish parents in Alexandria and grew up in Vienna and Berlin. He moved to London in 1933 and was educated at St Marylebone Grammar School and King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a Ph.D. in history and joined the Communist party in 1936.

In 1947, he became a lecturer in history at Birkbeck College, University of London. In 1970, he was appointed professor, and in 1978 he was made a Fellow of the British Academy.

In 1956, he spoke out against the Soviet invasion of Hungary and left the British Communist Party to join its Italian equivalent.

He worked with the magazine Marxism Today during the 1980s and supported Neil Kinnock's modernisation of the British Labour Party.

One of Hobsbawm's interests is the invention of traditions, national and otherwise. He has spent considerable effort in exposing the artificiality of many "traditions" that nation states use to justify their own existence and importance.

Hobsbawm has attracted criticism for his seemingly unrepentant continued support for Communism. In a now notorious interview with British cultural critic Michael Ignatiev on British TV, he responded to the question of whether 20 million deaths would have been justified if the proposed Communist utopia had been created as a consequence by saying ‘yes’.

Hobsbawm has written extensively on a broad and diverse selection of subjects during the course of his illustrious career as Britain’s' most cosmopolitan and internationally renowned Historian. As Marxist historiographer he has focused on in-depth analysis of the 'dual revolution' (the political French revolution and the industrial British revolution) and how their combined effect lies behind the predominant trend towards liberal capitalism today. Another re-occurring theme in his work has been banditry, a phenomenon that Hobsbawm has tried to place within the confines of relevant societal and historical context, and thus countering the traditional view of it being a spontaneous and unpredictable form of primitive rebellion. Outside of academic historical writing, Hobsbawm has written (under the pseudonym Francis Newton-taken from the name of Billie Holidays' Communist trumpet player) for the New Statesman as a jazz critic and has numerous essays published in various intellectual journals, dealing with anything from barbarity in the modern age to the troubles of labour movements and the conflict between anarchism and communism.

His most recent publication was the autobiography, Interesting Times.

Publication list

He has written (among other things) the following books:

  • Labour's Turning Point
  • Primitive Rebels
  • The Age of Revolution
  • Labouring Men
  • Industry and Empire
  • Bandits
  • Captain Swing (with George Rude)
  • Revolutionaries
  • The Age of Capital, 1848-1875
  • Workers
  • The Age of Empire
  • Nations and Nationalism since 1780
  • The Jazz Scene
  • Age of Extremes
  • Interesting Times (autobiography)
  • On the Edge of the New Century

He has edited the following:

External links

fr:Eric Hobsbawm ja:エリック・ホブズボーム pt:Eric Hobsbawm

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