Chapter

After St Paul’s: EP Thompson's late work

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719084355.003.0011
After St Paul’s: EP Thompson's late work

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‘The Poverty of Theory’ is an unusual work in the Edward Palmer Thompson canon. Thompson's essay inspired furious debate in print, and in the freezing hall of St Paul's. Beyond the Frontier and Witness Against the Beast are very different from the more famous histories of the 1960s and early 1970s. Until the end of the 1970s, Thompson's work was united by a set of beliefs he had adopted during the ‘decade of heroes’ between 1936 and 1946. The general characteristics of Thompson's late period are then explored. Beyond the Frontier exemplifies the style and attitudes of the ‘late’ Thompson. The Sykaos Papers is a thoroughly chaotic work, in which attempts at satire and polemic are hamstrung by Thompson's collapsing faith in the international and transhistorical causes that once sustained him. Thompson uses the interview to reiterate some familiar themes of his ‘late’ work.

Keywords: Edward Palmer Thompson; The Poverty of Theory; St Paul; Beyond the Frontier; Witness Against the Beast; The Sykaos Papers

Chapter.  7534 words. 

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