- Eric Hobsbawm
He was born in 1917 in
Alexandria, Egypt, to Leopold Percy Obstbaum and Nelly Grün, both Jewish, and he grew up in Viennaand Berlin. A clerical error at birth altered his surname from Hobsbaum to Hobsbawm, and the name stuck.Maya Jaggi. [http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/artsandhumanities/story/0,12241,791760,00.html "A question of faith," " The Guardian", 14 September, 2002] ] Although the family lived in German-speaking countries, his parents spoke to him and his younger sister Nancy in English.
His father died in 1929, and he started working as an
au pairand English tutor. He became an orphanat age 14 upon the death of his mother. Subsequently, he and Nancy were adopted by his maternal aunt, Gretl, and paternal uncle, Sidney, who married and had a son, also named Eric. They all moved to Londonin 1933.
Hobsbawm is twice married. His first wife was Muriel Seaman, whom he married in 1943 (divorced in 1951). His second marriage was to Marlene Schwarz, with whom he has two children,
Julia Hobsbawmand Andy Hobsbawm. He also has a son, Joshua, from a previous relationship.
Hobsbawm is a Marxist and was a long-standing member of the now defunct
Communist Party of Great Britainand the associated Communist Party Historians Group. He is president of Birkbeck College, University of London. He was appointed a Companion of Honourin 1998.
He joined the
Socialist Schoolboysin 1931 and the Communistparty in 1936. He was member of the Communist Party Historians Groupfrom 1946 to 1956. The Soviet Invasion of Hungary in 1956 marked the end of the Communist Party Historian's Group and led most of its members to remove themselves from the British Communist Party. Hobsbawm, uniquely among his colleagues, remained in the Party, however, going so far as to defend the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Writing in the " Daily Worker" in late 1956, Hobsbawm argued that "Whilst approving, with a heavy heart, of what is now happening in Hungary, we should therefore also say frankly that we think the USSR should withdraw its troops from the country as soon as this is possible." [" Daily Worker", 9 November, 1956]
Later he came to support the Eurocommunist faction in the CPGB. In 'The Forward March of Labour Halted?', originally a "
Marxism Today" article published in September 1978, he argued that the working classwas inevitably losing its central role in society, and that Left parties could no longer appeal only to this class; a controversial viewpoint in a period of trade union militancy. Hobsbawm supported Neil Kinnock's transformation of the British Labour Partyfrom 1983. Until the cessation of publication in 1991, he contributed to the magazine " Marxism Today".
Since the 1960s his politics have taken a more moderate turn, as Hobsbawm came to recognize that his hopes were unlikely to be realized. Yet, he remains firmly entrenched on the left, and thinks the long-term outlooks for humanity are 'bleak'. [ [http://www.bbk.ac.uk/about_us/publications/bbk/bbk22/history Interview with Eric Hobsbawm on his 90th birthday] ] [ [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/page/0,11915,796418,00.html Eric Hobsbawm: Observer special] ] [ [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/HIShobsbawm.htm Article in Spartacus.SchoolNet.co.uk] ] [ [http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/history/historian/Eric_Hobsbawm.html Eric Hobsbawm Marxist historian] ] [ [http://www.amielandmelburn.org.uk/collections/mt/pdf/78_09_hobsbawm.pdf 'The Forward March of Labour Halted?', "Marxism Today", September 1978] ] [ [http://www.marxists.de/workmvmt/birchcarl/hobsbawm.htm "Eric Hobsbawm and the working class"] by Norah Carlin and
Ian Birchall(1983)] [ [http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,425863,00.html The lion of the Left] 21 January, 2001] [ [http://www.bbk.ac.uk/about_us/publications/bbk/bbk22/history Birkbeck magazine, Living History] Interview with John Crave to mark Hobsbawm's 90th Birthday, September 2007] [ [http://www.selvesandothers.org/view17.html Eric Hobsbawm, unrepentant communist] 2007] [ [http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n02/hobs01_.html Diary, Eric Hobsbawm] 24 January 2008]
He was educated at Prinz-Heinrich-Gymnasium Berlin,
St Marylebone Grammar School(now defunct) and King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a Ph.D. in history on the Fabian Society. He was a member of the Cambridge Apostles.
World War II, he served in the Royal Engineersand the Royal Army Educational Corps. In 1947, he became a lecturerin historyat Birkbeck College, University of London. He was a visiting professorat Stanfordin the 1960s. In 1970, he was appointed professorand in 1978 he became a Fellow of the British Academy.
He retired in 1982 but stayed as visiting professor at
The New School for Social Researchin Manhattanuntil 1997. He is currently President of Birkbeck College, University of Londonand Professor Emeritusin The New School for Social Research in the Political Sciencedepartment. He speaks English, German, French, Spanish and Italian, and reads Dutch, Portuguese and Catalan. One of Hobsbawm's interests is the development of traditions. His work is a study of their construction in the context of the nation state. He argues that many traditionsare invented by national elites to justify the existence and importance of their respective nation states.
Hobsbawm has written extensively on many subjects as one of Britain's most prominent historians. As a Marxist historiographer he has focused on analysis of the "dual revolution" (the political
French revolutionand the industrial British revolution). He sees their effect as a driving force behind the predominant trend towards liberal capitalismtoday. Another recurring theme in his work has been social banditry, a phenomenon that Hobsbawm has tried to place within the confines of relevant societal and historical context thus countering the traditional view of it being a spontaneous and unpredictable form of primitive rebellion. [ [http://www.lrb.co.uk/v24/n19/ande01_.html Review of Eric Hobsbawm's memoirs] by Perry Anderson, " London Review of Books", 3 October, 2002] [ [http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/21/jan03/hobsbawm.htm Eric Hobsbawm: lying to the credulous ] by David Pryce-Jones, January 2003] [ [http://www.international.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=7315 "Eric Hobsbawm Speaks on His New Memoir"] , 5 February, 2004] [ [http://www.nationalismproject.org/what/hobsbawm.htm Eric Hobsbawm Nations and Nationalism since 1780] 1990] [ [http://dannyreviews.com/a/Eric_Hobsbawm.html Eric Hobsbawm, Book Reviews] 2001] [ [http://econ161.berkeley.edu/Econ_Articles/hobsbawmsageofextremes.html Low Marx: A Review of Eric Hobsbawm's Age of Extremes] ] [ [http://www.randomhouse.com/author/results.pperl?authorid=13171 Radom House author spotlight] ]
Outside of his academic historical writing, Hobsbawm has written (under the pseudonym 'Francis Newton' – taken from the name of
Billie Holiday's communist trumpet player, Frankie Newton) for the " New Statesman" as a jazzcritic. He has numerous essays published in various intellectual journals, dealing with anything from barbarityin the modern ageto the troubles of labour movements and the conflict between anarchismand communism. His most recent publications are the autobiography, "Interesting Times" (2002), "Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism" (2007) and "On Empire" (2008).
Hobsbawm has attracted criticism for his support for communism. According to
Robert Conquest, in an interview with Canadianauthor and politician Michael Ignatieffon British television in 1994, Hobsbawm responded to the question of whether 20 million deaths may have been justified if the proposed communist utopiahad been created as a consequence by saying "yes" [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3284-1188437,00.html Oliver Kamm, ‘It takes an intellectual to find excuses for Stalinism,’ The TimesJuly 23, 2004] ] . In his own 1994 book, "The Age of Extremes" he wrote that the deaths were beyond justification as this utopia was not created:- blockquote|"Still, whatever assumptions are made, the number of direct and indirect victims must be measured in eight rather than seven digits. In these circumstances it does not much matter whether we opt for a 'conservative` estimate nearer to ten than to twenty million or a larger figure: none can be anything but shameful and beyond palliation, let alone justification". [E.Hobsbawm, 'The Age of Extremes,' 1994 p. 393, ISBN 0-349-10671-1)] This book also revealed a highly critical attitude both to the Russia of Stalinand Khrushchev, and to the West in the era of the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Hobsbawm has been described as "arguably our greatest living historian — not only Britain's, but the world's." ["
The Spectator," quoted on the dust jacket of "The Age of Capital".] James Jollwrote in " The New York Review of Books" that "Eric Hobsbawm's nineteenth century trilogy is one of the great achievements of historical writing in recent decades." [Quoted on the dust jacket of "The Age of Extremes".] Tony Judt, director of the Erich Maria Remarque Institute at New York Universitybelieves that Hobsbawm's tendency to disparage any nationalist movement as passing and irrational weakens his grasp of parts of the 20th century. Judt however, also wrote that "Hobsbawm is a cultural folk hero. His fame is well deserved. Hobsbawm doesn't just know more than other historians, he writes better, too." [ [http://www.international.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=7315 "Eric Hobsbawm Speaks on His New Memoir"] , "UCLA International Institute", 2004] In Neal Ascherson's view "Eric's Jewishness increased his sensitivity about nationalism. He's the original happy cosmopolitan, who's benefited from being able to move freely."
Partial Publication list
*"Labour's Turning Point: extracts from contemporary sources" (1948)
*"Primitive Rebels: studies in archaic forms of social movement in the 19th and 20th centuries" (1959)
*"" (1962) ISBN 0679772537
*"Labouring Men: studies in the history of labour" (1964)
*"Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations" (1965; editor; essays by Karl Marx)
*"Industry and Empire" (1968)
*"Captain Swing" (1968; with George Rude)
*"Revolutionaries: contemporary essays" (1973)
*"The Invention of Tradition" (1983; editor, with Terence Ranger) ISBN 0521437733
*"Workers: worlds of labor" (1985)
*"" (1987) ISBN 0521437733
*"The Jazz Scene" (1989)
*"Echoes of the Marseillaise: Two Centuries Look Back on the French Revolution" (1990)
*"Nations and Nationalism since 1780: programme, myth, reality" (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990) ISBN 0-521-43961-2
*"" (1994) ISBN 0679730052
*"On History" (1997)
*"Uncommon People: resistance, rebellion and jazz" (1998)
*"On the Edge of the New Century" (2000)
*"Interesting Times: a twentieth-century life" (2002; autobiography)
*"Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism" (2007)
*"On Empire: America, War, and Global Supremacy" (2008)
*Campbell, J. "Towards the Great Decision: Review of the "The Age of Empire" page 153 from "Times Literary Supplement", Volume 4428,
February 12 1988.
*Norah Carlin and
Ian Birchall, [http://www.marxists.de/workmvmt/birchcarl/hobsbawm.htm "Eric Hobsbawm and the working class"] , from " International Socialism", No.2:21, Autumn 1983.
*Cronin, J. "Creating a Marxist Historiography: the Contribution of Hobsbawm" pages 87-109 from "Radical History Review", Volume 19, 1979.
*Genovese, Eugene "The Squandered Century: Review of "The Age of Extremes" pages 38-43 from The "New Republic", Volume 212,
April 17 1995.
*Hampson, N. "All for the Better? Review of "Echoes of the Marseillaise" page 637 from "Times Literary Supplement", Volume 4550,
June 15 1990.
*Judt, Tony "Downhill All the Way: Review of "The Age of Extremes" pages 20-25 from "New York Review of Books",
May 25 1995, Volume 49, Issue # 9.
*Landes, David "The Ubiquitous Bourgeoisie: Review of "The Age of Capital" pages 662-664 from "Times Literary Supplement", Volume 3873,
June 4 1976.
*McKibblin, R. "Capitalism out of Control: Review of The "Age of Extremes" pages 406 from "Times Literary Supplement", Volume 4778,
October 28 1994.
*Mingay, G.E. "Review of Captain Swing" page 810 from "English Historical Review", Volume 85 (337), 1970.
*Samuel, R. and Stedman Jones, Gareth (editors) "Culture, Ideology and Politics: Essays for Eric Hobsbawm", London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.
Seton-Watson, H."Manufactured Mythologies: Review of "The Invention of Tradition" page 1270 from "Times Literary Supplement", Volume 4207, November 18 1983.
*Smith, P. "No Vulgar Marxist: Review of "On History" page 31 from "Times Literary Supplement", Volume 4917,
June 27 1997.
*Snowman, Daniel "Eric Hobsbawm" page 16– 18 from "History Today", Volume 49, Issue 1, January 1999.
*Thane, P.; Crossick, G. & Floud, R. (editors) "The Power of the Past: Essays for Eric Hobsbawm", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
*Thane, P. & Lunbeck, E. "Interview with Eric Hobsbawm" pages 29-46 from "Visions of History", edited by H. Abelove; B. Blackmar; P. Dimock & J. Schneer, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1983.
*Weber, Eugen "What Rough Beast?" pages 285-298 from "Critical Review", Volume 10, Issue # 2, 1996.
*Wrigley, Chris "Eric Hobsbawm: an Appreciation" page 2 from "Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History", Volume 38, Issue #1, 1984.
NAME=Hobsbawm, Eric John Blair
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Newton, Francis (pen name as jazz critic)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=British historian; Marxist historiographer; history professor; studied French Revolution and Industrial Revolution; Communist Party of Great Britain theorist
DATE OF BIRTH=
June 9, 1917
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Eric Hobsbawm — Nom de naissance Eric John Hobsbawm Activités Historien Naissance 9 juin 1917 Alexandrie Eric Hobsbawm (né le 9 juin … Wikipédia en Français
Eric Hobsbawm — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm (nacido el 9 de junio de 1917 en Alejandría, Egipto) es un historiador marxista británico de talla internacional. Contenido 1 Vida 2 Trayectoria intelectual … Wikipedia Español
Eric Hobsbawm — Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm CH (* 9. Juni 1917 in Alexandria, Sultanat von Ägypten) ist ein englischer Sozial und Wirtschaftshistoriker. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 … Deutsch Wikipedia
Eric Hobsbawn — Eric Hobsbawm Eric John Hobsbawm (né le 9 juin 1917) est un historien britannique. Membre à partir de 1936 du Parti communiste de Grande Bretagne, il collabora jusqu en 1991 à la revue Marxism Today. Il a beaucoup travaillé sur la… … Wikipédia en Français
Eric John Hobsbawm — Eric Hobsbawm Eric John Hobsbawm (né le 9 juin 1917) est un historien britannique. Membre à partir de 1936 du Parti communiste de Grande Bretagne, il collabora jusqu en 1991 à la revue Marxism Today. Il a beaucoup travaillé sur la… … Wikipédia en Français
Hobsbawm — Eric Hobsbawm Eric John Hobsbawm (né le 9 juin 1917) est un historien britannique. Membre à partir de 1936 du Parti communiste de Grande Bretagne, il collabora jusqu en 1991 à la revue Marxism Today. Il a beaucoup travaillé sur la… … Wikipédia en Français
Eric J. Hobsbawm — Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm CH (* 9. Juni 1917 in Alexandria, Ägypten) ist ein englischer Sozialhistoriker und Sozialwissenschaftler mit polnisch österreichisch jüdischen Wurzeln. Hobsbawm gilt als scharfer Kritiker des Kapitalismus.… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Eric J Hobsbawm — Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm CH (* 9. Juni 1917 in Alexandria, Ägypten) ist ein englischer Sozialhistoriker und Sozialwissenschaftler mit polnisch österreichisch jüdischen Wurzeln. Hobsbawm gilt als scharfer Kritiker des Kapitalismus.… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Eric John Blair Hobsbawm — Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm CH (* 9. Juni 1917 in Alexandria, Ägypten) ist ein englischer Sozialhistoriker und Sozialwissenschaftler mit polnisch österreichisch jüdischen Wurzeln. Hobsbawm gilt als scharfer Kritiker des Kapitalismus.… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Hobsbawm — Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm CH (* 9. Juni 1917 in Alexandria, Ägypten) ist ein englischer Sozialhistoriker und Sozialwissenschaftler mit polnisch österreichisch jüdischen Wurzeln. Hobsbawm gilt als scharfer Kritiker des Kapitalismus.… … Deutsch Wikipedia