Here's the abstract for a seminar I'm giving later this week in the 'enemy territory' of the University of Auckland's history department.
'An Appetite for the Archives': New Light on EP Thompson
Department of Sociology
Besides being one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century, Edward Palmer Thompson was a brilliant journalist, failed poet, lapsed Marxist, life-long anti-nuclear activist, and passable cricketer. This seminar will discuss some of the remarkable unpublished writings by Thompson which are held in the Brynmor Jones library in Hull, and show that these writings open up new ways of interpreting classics like The Making of the English Working Class and 'The Poverty of Theory'.
The Thompson who emerges from the newly-discovered texts is a remarkably eclectic and nuanced thinker, capable of fusing Marxist and liberal, Continental and English traditions, and inspired by Leon Trotsky as well as William Blake. The material at Brynmor Jones also shines a light on some of the darker autobiographical impulses behind Thompson's writing on history and historiography, showing that the denunciation of authoritarian modes of thought in texts like 'The Poverty of Theory' was no academic exercise.
Thursday 29 March 2007
Room 59, History Department, 7 Wynyard Street