Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Edward Palmer Thompson:

29) The Making of the English Working Class.

London 1963

The most remarkable fact in terms of Linton is that he isn’t mentioned in this extremely influential historiography of the English working class culture. One wonders why the late Blake and Morris scholar Edward Palmer Thompson, who had a far reaching reputation as “the greatest Marxist historian of the English speaking world,” completely ignored this solitary Chartist artist, since Linton was precisely the example of the working-class artist he had been looking for, an author who had managed to thread together the discourses of artisan radicalism and romanticism. Even such a crucial promoter of working-class culture such as William Johnson Fox is mentioned by Thompson merely in a footnote. Only on the babasis of such embarrassing omissions could Thompson’s marrowy conclusion that “after William Blake, no mind was at home in both cultures, nor had the genius to interpret the two traditions to each other” remain undisputed. Even in his late publications, Thompson did not find the courage to adjust his simplistic views on 19th-century culture and the development of interventionist art, which had been extremely tailored to his hero worshipping of William Morris.