Perry Anderson on Hobsbawm memoirs

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at
Sun Sep 29 10:57:26 MDT 2002

LRB | Vol. 24 No. 19 dated 3 October 2002

The Age of EJH

Perry Anderson

Interesting Times: A 20th-Century Life by Eric Hobsbawm | Allen Lane, 448
pp, £20.00

"In this generally disappointing field, Eric Hobsbawm has entered the
with a work he invites us to read as the 'flip side' of Age of Extremes,
great history of the 20th century: 'not world history illustrated by the
experiences of an individual, but world history shaping that experience'
and the life-choices it offered him. Published at the age of 85, in its
energy and trenchancy Interesting Times could have been written at 40.
qualities are such, in fact, that it is almost impossible to read without
being drawn back to his work as a historian, so many insights does it
casually or deliberately, about what he has achieved as a whole. We are
dealing with a kind of fifth volume, in more personal register, of a
continuous project. This one could be called simply 'The Age of EJH'."

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