Chapter

Conclusion: The last Muggletonian Marxist: EP Thompson's paradoxical triumph

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/9780719084355.003.0012
Conclusion: The last Muggletonian Marxist: EP Thompson's paradoxical triumph

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This chapter argues that Edward Palmer Thompson's political and intellectual failures were inextricably connected to his successes, and that both his failures and his triumphs make him an urgently relevant figure in the twenty-first century. It also presents a few generalisations about Thompson's career, without pretending to reduce it to a schema or a set of slogans. The ‘decade of heroes’ was the most dramatic and important of Thompson's life. He brought a strong belief in moral sensibility and judgement to scholarship, as well as poetry. His ‘hardcore’ beliefs allowed him to connect past and present, imagination and analysis, the English and the international. His very pre-eminence in the anti-nuclear movement was the product of working-class defeats. Thompson's political hopes were dashed again and again. As a poet, he failed to make any sort of reputation for himself. Furthermore, he lived to see the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Keywords: Edward Palmer Thompson; decade of heroes; poetry; hardcore; anti-nuclear movement; Soviet Union

Chapter.  3805 words. 

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