Eric hobsbawm, the joy of history and all that jazz yerepouni daily news tgas advisors

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At the time “the English boy” born in Alexandria, Egypt in June 1917, was not contemplating the idea of becoming a professional historian. He’d rather write “proletarian literature.” During a stressful – historical – juncture when Hitler announced he expected to take up residence in London within a fortnight, Hobsbawm was already determined that “I want to write so that everyone recognizes the houses and streets, smells the flowers, feels gas under a dollar the passions.” In the end, he somehow achieved his dream – to be a historian.

Readers in five continents know that Hobsbawm always defined himself as a Marxist. It says a lot about British intelligence that MI5 spent a lot of time and energy tracking Hobsbawm while totally bypassing the “Cambridge Five” who were merrily passing secrets to the USSR – Blunt, Burgess, Cairncross, MacLean and Philby – all of them, unlike Hobsbawm, Brit establishment to the core.

The book details delightful personal vignettes, such as this of Hobsbawm in Paris in the early 1950s, “observing the passing scene from the approved cafes such as the Flore or the Rhumerie” and mingling with, among others, Lucien Goldmann, Roland Barthes and Edgar Morin, the great Henri Cartier-Bresson, going to jazz clubs, and interacting with intellectuals who were either unorthodox Marxists or drifting away from Marxism for good. He got to know Jean-Paul Sartre quite well – sharing the odd mutton curry at La Coupole.

At the time both the French and the British Communist Party were hardcore Stalinist, totally unlike static electricity definition science Hobsbawm. No wonder the party in Paris never invited him to any meetings. Hobsbawm was a consummate political pragmatist. He may have been a communist, of course, but never sectarian. His loyalty, above all, was to the broad cause of socialism. As Evans stresses, “he believed consistently in the unity of the Left, not in any kind of Marxist sectarianism.” All That Jazz

The official “Made in the U.S.S.R.” party line on jazz was extremely negative during the Stalinist era. Then, rehabilitation ensued. By 1962 jazz was all the rage, for instance, in Czechoslovakia. That’s when jazz – and especially the blues – started to be sold across the “real socialism” sphere as the music of the oppressed black working class in capitalist America.

Enter Hobsbawm as jazz critic of the New Statesman, under the pseudonym Francis Newton. At the time, late 1950s to early 1960s electricity video bill nye, journalism was despised by British academia. Swinging from jazz clubs and concerts to the quasi-mythical hipster hangout, the Downbeat Club in Old Compton Street in Soho, Hobsbawm pulled it off as a cultural reporter instead of music critic. Many in academia were oblivious to his alter ego.

He didn’t get Miles Davis – “surprisingly narrow technical and emotional range” – or Thelonius Monk – “neither the technical mastery nor the staying power” of Duke Ellington. On the other hand, he found Ornette Coleman “unforgettable.” He would always display a positively gloomy vision of mass-produced pop. Hobsbawm was a marvelous interviewee. I wish I could have asked him back in the 1980s what he thought of David Bowie.

“…economy of synthesis; vividness of detail; global scope, yet acute electricity 2014 sense of regional difference; polymathic fluency, equally at ease with crops and stock markets, nations and classes, statesmen and peasants, sciences and arts; breadth of sympathies for disparate social agents; power of analytic narrative; and not least a style of remarkable clarity and energy, whose signature is the sudden bolt of metaphoric electricity across the even surface of cool, pungent argument.” The Universalist Project

Hobsbawm’s “Age of Extremes” turned him into a global superstar. But there are flaws. Essentially, the point of view is centered on Vienna, Berlin and London. There is no comprehensive analysis of the ascension of the American bourgeoisie, or the turbulence across East Asia. The book actually gas monkey monster truck hellcat revolves around the history of the decline of a Western civilization that totally betrayed the 19th-century promise of cultural and material flowering.

At dinner parties, Hobsbawm eschewed small talk and behaved as a true political party animal. He wanted to cut to the chase right away. As his editor at Penguin, Stuart Proffitt, recalled: “The quality of his information from around the world, in extreme old age – this must have been when he was 93, 94, something like that – but he knew exactly what was going on all over the world. I mean, he was like a sort of one-man Economist Intelligence Unit. It was really, really extraordinary.” Hobsbawm the Brazilian

In 1975, during the military dictatorship, he was invited to the first major conference featuring leftist intellectuals such as Arno Mayer from Princeton and Juan Linz from Yale. Talking fluently about Brazilian peasant millenarian movements, he had the guts to declare he was a Marxist historian electricity 3 phase vs single phase, planting a seed that would engender the end of the military dictatorship in the following decade.

It’s impossible to understand where Eric Hobsbawm was coming from without the essential background provided by Evans. Hobsbawm became acquainted with Marxist theory and an ideal of communism in the early 1930s, when the Communist Party seemed to many young people of his generation to embody the only possible hope of defeating Nazism and building a better world.

Hobsbawm never followed the party line. Only intellectual amoebas could possibly accuse him of being a Stalinist. He did, consciously, remain part of a global network of fellow leftist intellectuals for the rest of his life. In a nutshell, he was a crossover Marxist, an absolutely unique, polyphonic, intellectual mix shaped by myriad influences.