John Edward Christopher Hill 1912–2003

Donald Pennington

in Proceedings of the British Academy Volume 130, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, IV

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263501
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734212 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

John Edward Christopher Hill 1912–2003

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John Edward Christopher Hill (1912–2003), a Fellow of the British Academy, was a great historian. Nearly all his huge output was on the seventeenth-century ‘English Revolution’ and its origins. It was claimed that his Marxism, even when mellowed, led him to ignore evidence that did not support it. In 1936, Hill became an assistant lecturer at Cardiff University. Two years later, he returned to Balliol College at the University of Oxford as fellow and tutor in history. In 1956, he released his first major book, Economic Problems of the Church: from Archbishop Whitgift to the Long Parliament. Hill also found himself at the centre of communist politics in Britain, when the Historians’ Group led the movement to end the Communist Party’s obedience to Moscow. Besides the disputes with historians, Hill’s devotion to poetry had brought him into conflict with literary critics. Hill is cautious in his assessments of John Milton’s relations with radicalism. Hill’s sympathy for the downtrodden and unsuccessful was an unchanging part of his historical and his practical beliefs.

Keywords: John Edward Christopher Hill; English Revolution; Marxism; Cardiff University; Balliol College; politics; Britain; poetry; John Milton

Chapter.  11746 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Theory, Methods, and Historiography

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