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Table of Contents

  • A publication history of RTP
  • Introduction
  • 1. Who was Robert Tressell?
  • 2. The two souls of Mugsborough socialism
  • 3. Ragged trousered philanthropists
  • 4. A faithful picture of working-class life?
  • 5. The damnably subversive book
  • 6. Pope's bloody mess-up of the work
  • 7. For circulation amongst the unconverted
  • 8. A dream of Fred Ball
  • 9. King Street were lost
  • 10. Comrade Tressell
  • 11. The modern Lazarus
  • 12. One of the damned
  • 13. The end of history?
  • 14. Tressell, Marxism and hope

About the Author

Dave Harker recently retired from Manchester Metropolitan University. He co-edited The Big Red Song Book (Pluto Press, 1977 & 1981), wrote One for the Money: Politics and Popular Song (Hutchinson, 1980) and co-editored the Open University Press's Popular Music in Britain series (1985). He is is a member of the Socialist Workers Party.


'Without any doubt TRESSELL is the most researched and comprehensive study into 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists', tracing its influence on social, political and literary thinking from when it was first published through to the present day. Able to quote from some previously unpublished material Dr. Dave Harker has produced a most interesting and informative book, invaluable to the 'ordinary' reader and the 'student' alike. It is essential reading for all those who seek a fuller understanding of the Tressell story' - Reg W. Johnson 'The Robert Tressell Family Papers' 'This is not only the most accurate biographical account of Robert Tressell, the Irishman who wrote the classic novel of English working class life. It is also a life history of his book, and of its extraordinary impact on 20th Century British Socialism. Harker draws on a deep knowledge of the political and cultural history of the left in order to place Tressell and his work in their contexts. He rejects the reverential tone in which Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is often discussed, subjecting its politics to a toughly critical appraisal. Tressell admirers may not agree with Harker's analysis, but they should be grateful to him for the way in which his meticulous research and challenging arguments will stimulate new discussion of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.' - Jonathan Hyslop, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research

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