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E. P. Thompson (Edward Palmer Thompson) Biography

(1924–93), (Edward Palmer Thompson), William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary

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British historian, born in Oxford, educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. After a period at Leeds and Warwick Universities he became Professor of the Institute for Advanced Research in the Humanities at Birmingham University. William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary (1955), his first major publication, considered the interactions between its subject's artistic and political careers. His most enduringly influential book is The Making of the English Working Class (1963) (see popular culture), a study of political, religious, and cultural manifestations of the working class's growing cohesion between 1780 and 1832; the remarkable range and diligence of its attention to formerly neglected sources was widely emulated by succeeding historians. His other notable works include Whigs and Hunters (1975), on political ferment in the eighteenth century; Family and Inheritance: Rural Society in Western Europe, 1200–1800 (1976); and Customs in Common (1991; social history, 16881901). The socialist commitment which informs his historical writings is central to his essays and polemical articles, many of which relate to his activities as a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; collections include Zero Option (1982) and The Heavy Dancers (1985). His other works include a novel, The Skyaos Papers (1988), a dystopian fantasy; Alien Homage: Edward Thompson and Rabindranath Tagore (1993); and Witness against the Beast: William Blake and the Moral Law (1993).

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