Christopher Hill

Einde O'Callaghan einde.ocallaghan at
Tue Mar 4 08:18:14 MST 2003

Ed George wrote:
> But this aside. The main emphasis of the assessments of Hill on his
> death, understandably enough, have not been focused so much on his role
> as a Communist than on his position as a 'Marxist historian', pioneering
> or otherwise. Compared in this light, Hobsbawm and Hill are pretty much
> of a piece. Both ultimately remained trapped with the confines of a
> Marxism characterised by a vulgarised materialist conception of history,
> a national-'Marxist' interpretation of historical processes, and a
> dogmatic schematism of the prospects for future historical
> transformation. If you read, for example, the chapter on the French
> Revolution in Hobsbawm's Age of Revolution, and compare it with Hill's
> interpretation of the seventeenth-century English revolution to be found
> in, for example, The English Revolution 1640 or The Century of
> Revolution 1603-1714, you will see that the two accounts are largely
> identical: painting a picture of a rising revolutionary bourgeoisie
> overthrowing an historically superannuated feudal class structure. Yet
> as I have pointed out more than once on this list, this interpretation
> has been thoroughly discredited  as much empirically as theoretically by
> subsequent work;

Can you please cite the sources on which you base this assertion? While
being critical of the "popular frontist" (I use this terms
unscientifically to denote a general critique of their positions)
analysis of Hobsbawm, Hill, Thompson et al. (including that of French
historians such as Soboul), subsequent studies such as those of Brian
Manning (or also the writings of guerin on the French revolution) seem
to me to restate on a more solidly Marxist basis the essentially
bourgeois nature of these revolutions - i.e. revolutions carried out in
the interests of bourgeois development, whether the actual actors were
themselves of bourgeoisn origin or not.

Einde O'Callaghan

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