The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Flamingo modern classics) Paperback – 13 Sep 1993
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'The first great English novel about the class war, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is spiked, witty, humorous, instructive and full of excitement, harmony and pathos.' Alan Sillitoe 'Some books seem to batter their way to immortality against all the odds, by sheer brute artistic strength, and high up in this curious and honourable company must be counted The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Robert Tressell's unfailing humour mixes with an unfailing rage and the two together make a truly Swiftian impact.' Evening Standard Robert Tressell has complete familiarity with the idiom of his characters. His language is bizarre, vital, highly inventive and precisely heard -- it is a complete and living archaeology of the speech of a particular human group. A brilliant and very funny book.' Spectator
Groundbreaking socialist novel and cult classic first published in 1914
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Top Customer Reviews
At times I felt the author's rants about the evils of capitalism and the working class being their own worst enemy tiresome (if true), but then I realised his frustration with the mindset of those he spent his working life with would have made him feel the need to rave. What could be worse than spending your every working day in the company of miserable forelock-tuggers, men who at once idolised and hated their masters, and hated themselves even more. We see much of this frustration in the character Owen and his contempt for his fellow workers for regarding their state of starvation and wretched poverty as a privilege and are fiercely committed to preserving the system that keeps them downtrodden. Kudos to the reader who wrote: 'Not only is capitalism unsustainable but immoral.' One need only look at how far downhill the world had gone (as capitalism has gained a surer foothold) in the hundred years since this book was written to know that. More than ever people find no shame in stepping on (or even stomping on) each other to gain an economic advantage.
When a used-to-be Socialist tells Barrington 'enlightenment will never be brought about by arguing with people,' I couldn't have agreed more. While Barrington took this on board as dishearteningly true, delightfully, it didn't take the fight out of him. If one is passionate about changing injustice, even against the odds, one can't help but go on fighting the fight to inform and educate others.Read more ›
There is so much here. It's political message is, in a sense, blunted in the twenty first century. The solutions it offers were it least in part manifested in the post war settlement of the Attlee government that has been under attack since the 1980's. But the overarching questions that it asks -What are the causes of poverty, why do those oppressed willingly accept the values of the oppressors, why do they not rise up in revolt and take issue with the system that disadvantages them, remain vibrant.
On another level this is an historic record of the early twentieth century written from the ground up with cast iron authenticity. The author captures enough detail of his surroundings and of the characters to make it believable, touchable and easily recognisable. Tressell himself was a workman, his richly detailed account of working class life in Edwardian England is drawn from first hand experience. His understanding of human nature and its distortions caused by poverty were not imagined but drawn from his everyday experience.. It seems nothing short of miraculous that under these conditions he was able to write such an insightful account of what he experienced.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wikipedia - The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists
this book was written ONE HUNDRED (and... Read more
So far so good. Was advised to read this by a work colleague. Proving to be very interesting.Published 6 days ago by Mrs AB
The real truth about the lives of the working class and their suffering. A truly great read for any person.Published 14 days ago by Dean Sharples
Such a GREAT 19th century(ish) novel. Personally, I've never heard of this book, and it turned out to be one of my favorites. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Maytal Erez
Threats today are of overpopulation, climate change, globalisation, religion.
This book is no longer relevant.
One of the best books I have ever read. Politically biased but excellent. It gives a very real view into the livesd of the working class at the turn of the century. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Peter Wilkinson