The emergence of the English Marxist historian’s persona
The English Revolution debate of 1940–41
in How to be a historian
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This chapter looks at the emergence of the English Marxist historian’s scholarly persona, which is traced through the debates over the nature of the English Revolution within the Communist Party of Great Britain. The focus is on the initial phase of these debates, which flared up between 1940 and 1941. It was then that Maurice Dobb, Dona Torr, A. L. Morton and in particular Christopher Hill took a leading role in advancing a novel Marxist interpretation of the Revolution, which clashed with the accounts of powerful party apparatchiks. Hill’s side triumphed, paving the way for the formation of the historiographically seminal Communist Party Historians’ Group in 1946. Contextualizing and detailing this acrimonious struggle from the perspective of persona analysis reveals the contours of a distinctive scholarly persona in the making – one that was to profoundly influence and shape subsequent historiography.

Editor: Herman Paul


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