With an Introduction and Notes by Lionel Kelly, University of Reading. With a Foreword by Tony Benn. 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' is a classic representation of the impoverished and politically powerless underclass of British society in Edwardian England, ruthlessly exploited by the institutionalised corruption of their employers and the civic and religious authorities. Epic in scale, the novel charts the ruinous effects of the laissez-faire mercantilist ethics on the men, women, and children of the working classes, and through its emblematic characters, argues for a socialist politics as the only hope for a civilized and humane life for all. It is a timeless work whose political message is as relevant today as it was in Tressell's time. For this it has long been honoured by the Trade Union movement and thinkers across the political spectrum. AUTHOR: On 3 February 1911, a 40 year-old signwriter and decorator called Robert Noonan died of tuberculosis in the Royal Infirmary in Liverpool. Without family or friends in the city, he received a pauper's burial. Three hundred miles away, in a deed-box in Hastings, lay the handwritten manuscript of his unpublished novel, 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists'. The story of how this book became a major influence on socialist thinking is rather more remarkable than his life.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 06 / 2012