Fair and balanced…

Following Eric Hobsbawm’s death, I emphasized a text by Tony Judt where the late historian/public intellectual dealt quite harshly with Hobsbawm’s intellectual legacy.  While looking for something else (as always…), I found yesterday this review piece by Hobsbawm and a lengthy article from the New Left Review on Judt’s work. Hobsbawm’s text is a rebuttal of “Tony’s” critics, while Dylan Riley’s long and profuse essay calls for a “cooler view” of Judt’s work as a historian and political pamphleteer.

Let’s just deposit those here for further reference. The Judt-Hobsbawm quarrel portrays very efficiently the European Left’s 20th century dilemma, and all actors are in character here: Judt as the “social-traitor”, the superficial pundit adjusting his views to the prevailing winds; Hobsbawm as the unapologetic “real” leftist; and the New Left Review as the undertaker of “insipid” social-democracy. Choisis ton camp, camarade.

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