[Milton-L] Christopher Hill

maltzahn at uottawa.ca maltzahn at uottawa.ca
Mon Nov 19 09:24:23 EST 2007

Those with an interest in English Marxist historians will wish to read
Eric Hobsbawm's memoirs, which book includes a memorable photograph of
Christopher Hill among others on a Soviet jaunt ca. 1953.  Hobsbawm, who
does so much so well, notably shivers and swerves where it comes to
acknowledging the horrors of Stalinism and the Soviet Union.

Closer to home: those concerned with the tendentiousness of Hill's
handling of _The Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution_, or also
his account of _Milton and the English Revolution_, may wish to consult
the reviews of those works respectively by Hugh Trevor-Roper (_History and
Theory_, 5:1 (1966), pp. 61-82) and by Blair Worden (_TLS_ 1977, further
details I don't have to hand).  Those raise profound doubts about Hill's
methods and results, doubts often confirmed in my own reading of Hill's

I note a previous respondent's eagerly putting in an order for some of
Hill's works.  Caveat emptor!

Nicholas von Maltzahn

> ..
>> There's a helpful article by Robin Briggs on Hill in the Oxford
>> Dictionary
>> of National Biography.
>> Tom Corns
> Many thanks to Tom for drawing out attention to this (and to John for
> quoting it).  Another statement to bear in mind is Hill's own aside about
> Stalin in Milton and the English Revolution.  Discussing Areopagtica, Hill
> writes:
> "Milton's tolerance had its limits, but it is not quite fair to sneer at
> him
> as if he were a twentieth-century fellow traveller who had learnt nothing
> from the career of Joseph Stalin" (p. 158)
> This implies that Hill himself had learnt something from Stalin's career,
> whether or not he had eulogized him in 1953, as one of the hostile sources
> alleges.
> John Leonard
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