VOLUME 33, NUMBER 13 THURSDAY, December 6, 2001

send this article to a friend

Holstun wins Deutscher
Prize is one of most prestigious in the English-speaking world

Contributing Editor

James Holstun, a professor in the Department of English, has won this year's Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize, one of the most prestigious of its kind in the English-speaking world, for his book, "Ehud's Dagger: Class Struggle in the English Revolution," published last year by Verso Books.

Holstun's book analyzes current anticommunist fashions in historical and literary study and proposes a combination of literary criticism with the "history from below" practiced by the British Marxist historians.

Holstun studies the writing and the political action of working men and women in the English Revolution—the republican assassins, communist farmers, Baptist prophetesses and radical soldiers who tried to keep Oliver Cromwell from hijacking the English Revolution for the benefit of early capitalism.

He is faculty advisor to the Graduate Group for Marxist Studies and teaches courses in Renaissance literature, Marxist theory, the literature of proletarian struggle, early gay and lesbian writing, and the history and culture of Buffalo.

The Deutscher Prize, founded in 1969, is awarded annually to a work of English-language scholarship that "exemplifies the best and most innovative new writing in or about the Marxist tradition."

It is named for the distinguished Polish-born socialist historian Isaac Deutscher, author of a biography of Stalin, a three-volume biography of Leon Trotsky, and many other works, and his wife, Tamara, a gifted writer and intellectual in her own right, who devoted most of her life to collaborating closely with her husband and then to perpetuating the influence of his ideas.

The prize, whose winners are announced in the London Review of Books, carries an invitation to present the Deutscher Memorial Lecture at the London School of Economics the following November, and be the guest of honor at the reception that follows. Deutscher lectures often are published in New Left Review.

Holstun's 2002 lecture will address the Chinese journalism and fiction of Agnes Smedley, the American feminist, novelist, revolutionary socialist and a tireless advocate for women, children, peasants and liberation for the oppressed. Smedley wrote a remarkable autobiographical novel, "Daughter of Earth," describing her rural girlhood, her work with Margaret Sanger in the birth control movement and her work with Indian nationalists.

She later lived and marched with the Chinese Red Army for many years in its struggle with the Kuomintang and the Japanese. During the McCarthy era, she was accused falsely of being a communist spy.

Recent books that have received the Deutscher Award include Peter Gowan's "The Global Gamble: Washington's Faustian Bid for Global Dominion" (2000), Francis Wheen's "Karl Marx" (1999), Robin Blackburn's "The Making of New World Slavery" (1997), Eric Hobsbawm's "The Age of Extremes" (1995), Terry Eagleton's "The Ideology of the Aesthetic" (1989) and Ellen Meiksins Wood's "The Retreat from Class" (1986).

Front Page | Top Stories | Briefly | Electronic Highways | Kudos
| Mail | Obituaries | Q&A | Sports | Transitions
Exhibits, Notices, Jobs
| Events | Current Issue | Comments? | Archives
Search | UB Home | UB News Services | UB Today