Saturday, December 18, 2004

EP Thompson gets bootlegged!

The Poms have given up reprinting it, but EP Thompson's messy masterpiece The Poverty of Theory lives on in Korea, where bootleggers are cranking out copies for naive undergraduates and selling them off in Seoul's open-air book markets. The cheeky blighters even reproduce Merlin Press's copyright infringement warning! Sadly the bootleggers have followed the lead of the official 1995 reprint and excluded the three texts which accompanied the title essay in the original 1978 edition.

This specimen was a gift from Se Young Park, New Zealand's leading expert on North Korean place names (if you want to swap credentials, the man is currently completing a Masters' thesis on the subject in the Geography Department at AU). I'm pleased to have copy of The Poverty of Theory, by hook or by crook, because I'm supposed to be writing a PhD on the bloody thing. Wassup, though, with the birdlife? I know Thompson describes himself as the 'last of the great English bustards' or somesuch in the book, but is that any sort of excuse for those swans, if swans they be? Anyone who can explain the significance of the bootleggers' choice of cover art gets a mention on my acknowledgements page and a beer at the Clare Inn next week.

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