Between Zhdanov and Bloomsbury: the poetry and poetics of EP Thompson

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:
Between Zhdanov and Bloomsbury: the poetry and poetics of EP Thompson

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This chapter explores Edward Palmer Thompson's career as a poet, and the evolution of his poetics. It also demonstrates that Thompson's poetry and his poetics were intimately related to the political and intellectual challenges he faced, as he struggled to relate his scholarly investigations and core political ideas to the times he lived through. Zhdanovism was named after Andrei Zhdanov. Thompson tried to foster a ‘third camp’ politics hostile to both the neo-Stalinism of the Kremlin and the ‘Natopolitanism’ of the capitalist West. By steering a course between Zhdanovism and Bloomsbury, Thompson was at least able to write his biography of William Morris, his important studies of William Blake and other Romantic poets, and the flawed but powerful study of W. H. Auden and George Orwell that opens The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays.

Keywords: Edward Palmer Thompson; Bloomsbury; Zhdanovism; Andrei Zhdanov; Natopolitanism; poetics; poetry; The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays

Chapter.  7454 words. 

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