Monday, October 01, 2012

He aitua...

You knows your old when you just need the name to know they're gone.

Eric Hobsbawm misses out on the maiden century with a well-compiled 95, but then most of us will.

I read his four volume 'Age of' series -  The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848 (published 1962, god I was negative 3), The Age of Capital: 1848-1875 (1975, still running the blacksand beach of Castlecliff), The Age of Empire: 1875-1914 (1987, jesus, dropped of UC and was making concrete reinforcing mesh in Bromley), The Age of Extremes: 1914-91 (1994, hell I think I was unemployed in chch!).


To quote the Guardianista:

The four volumes embodied all of Hobsbawm's best qualities – the sweep combined with the telling anecdote and statistical grasp, the attention to the nuance and significance of events and words, and above all, perhaps, the unrivalled powers of synthesis (nowhere better displayed than in a classic summary of mid-19th century capitalism on the very first page of the second volume). The books were not conceived as a tetralogy, but as they appeared, they acquired individual and cumulative classic status. They were an example, Hobsbawm wrote, of "what the French call 'haute vulgarisation'" (he did not mean this self-deprecatingly), and they became, in the words of one reviewer, "part of the mental furniture of educated Englishmen".

Like that 'mental furniture'...not just the preserve of Enlgishmen, bless.

Go well koro.


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