Getting out of the tent

Scott Hamilton

in The Crisis of Theory

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084355
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702338 | DOI:
Getting out of the tent

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Edward Palmer Thompson collected his ‘Open Letter to Lezsek Kolakowski’ in The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays, but when that book was reprinted in 1995 the text was dropped. Leszek Kolakowski never bothered to collect ‘My Correct Views on Everything’. Tony Judt's essay is oblivious to the weaknesses in Kolakowski's understanding of Marx and Marxism. After lauding Kolakowski, Judt attacks Thompson's ‘Open Letter’. Thompson's ‘Open Letter’ attempted to differentiate its author's beliefs from the Marxisms of the ‘New’ New Left and the Stalinism that had been rejected in 1956 and the anti-Marxism of Kolakowski and the NATO professors who gathered at Reading in April 1973. Furthermore, the (mis)interpretation of ‘An Open Letter to Leszek Kolakowski’ by Judt is discussed. Judt believes that Kolakowski relieves the duty of having to read EP Thompson.

Keywords: Edward Palmer Thompson; Open Letter to Lezsek Kolakowski; My Correct Views on Everything; Tony Judt; Marx; Marxism; Stalinism

Chapter.  7692 words. 

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