Eric Hobsbawm

Eric Hobsbawm

Hobsbawm in 2011
Hobsbawm in 2011
BornEric John Ernest Hobsbawm
9 June 1917
Alexandria, Sultanate of Egypt
Died1 October 2012 (aged 95)
London, England
OccupationHistorian, social theorist and author
CitizenshipBritish
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge
GenreWorld history, Western history
Spouse
  • Muriel Seaman
    (m. 1943; div. 1951)
  • Marlene Schwartz (m. 1962)
ChildrenJoshua Bennathan, Julia and Andy Hobsbawm

Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm CH FRSL FBA (m/; 9 June 1917 – 1 October 2012) was a British historian of the rise of industrial capitalism, socialism and nationalism. He is considered one of the world's best-known historians.[1] Ideologically a life-long Marxist, his socio-political convictions influenced the character of his work.[2] His best-known works include his trilogy about what he called the "long 19th century" (The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848, The Age of Capital: 1848–1875 and The Age of Empire: 1875–1914), The Age of Extremes on the short 20th century, and an edited volume that introduced the influential idea of "invented traditions".

Hobsbawm was born in Egypt but spent his childhood mostly in Vienna and Berlin. Following the death of his parents and the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, Hobsbawm moved to London with his adoptive family, then obtained his PhD in history at the University of Cambridge before serving in the Second World War. In 1998 he was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour.[3] He was President of Birkbeck, University of London, from 2002 until his death.[4] In 2003 he received the Balzan Prize for European History since 1900 "for his brilliant analysis of the troubled history of 20th century Europe and for his ability to combine in-depth historical research with great literary talent."

Early life and education

Hobsbawm was born in 1917 in Alexandria, Egypt. His father was Leopold Percy Hobsbaum (né Obstbaum), a merchant from the East End of London of Polish Jewish descent.[5] His mother was Nelly Hobsbaum (née Grün), who was from a middle-class Austrian Jewish family. Eric's early childhood was spent in Vienna, Austria and Berlin, Germany. A clerical error at birth altered his surname from Hobsbaum to Hobsbawm.[6] Although the family lived in German-speaking countries, Eric grew up speaking English as his first language.[1] His childhood spent in Austria and Germany also created the widespread belief that Hobsbawm was a refugee who had left Germany for England in 1933, though he was English by birth because of his father.[1]

In 1929, when Hobsbawm was 12, his father died, and he started contributing to his family's support by working as an au pair and English tutor. Upon the death of their mother in 1931, he and Nancy were adopted by their maternal aunt, Gretl, and paternal uncle, Sidney, who married and had a son named Peter. Hobsbawm was a student at the Prinz Heinrich-Gymnasium Berlin (today Friedrich-List-School) when the Nazi Party came to power in 1933. That year the family moved to London, where Hobsbawm enrolled in St Marylebone Grammar School (now defunct).[6]

Hobsbawm attended King's College, Cambridge, from 1936,[7] where he joined the Communist Party "in the form of the university's Socialist Club."[1] He also took a double-starred first in History and was elected to the Cambridge Apostles. He received a doctorate (PhD) in History from Cambridge University for his dissertation on the Fabian Society. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Engineers and the Army Educational Corps.

Other Languages
aragonés: Eric Hobsbawm
Bân-lâm-gú: Eric Hobsbawm
български: Ерик Хобсбом
català: Eric Hobsbawm
čeština: Eric Hobsbawm
Cymraeg: Eric Hobsbawm
Deutsch: Eric Hobsbawm
español: Eric Hobsbawm
Esperanto: Eric Hobsbawm
euskara: Eric Hobsbawm
français: Eric Hobsbawm
한국어: 에릭 홉스봄
hrvatski: Eric Hobsbawm
Bahasa Indonesia: Eric Hobsbawm
italiano: Eric Hobsbawm
latviešu: Eriks Hobsboms
Lëtzebuergesch: Eric Hobsbawm
Nederlands: Eric Hobsbawm
norsk nynorsk: Eric Hobsbawm
occitan: Eric Hobsbawm
Piemontèis: Eric Hobsbawm
português: Eric Hobsbawm
română: Eric Hobsbawm
Simple English: Eric Hobsbawm
српски / srpski: Ерик Хобсбом
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Eric Hobsbawm
svenska: Eric Hobsbawm
Türkçe: Eric Hobsbawm
українська: Ерик Гобсбаум
Tiếng Việt: Eric Hobsbawm