Search Connexions

Connexions Library

Articles, Books, Documents, Periodicals, Audio-Visual


Title Index

Author Index

Subject Index

Chronological Index

Spotlight: Most Popular

Format Index

Dewey Index

Library of Congress Index

Español

Français

Deutsch


Connexipedia:

Connexipedia Title Index

Connexipedia Subject Index

Connexipedia: People

Connexipedia: Events

Connexipedia:
  Movements/Organizations


Search the Library

Connexions Directory
Groups & Websites

Subject Index

Associations Index

SOURCES: Media Spokespeople

Search the Directory

Selected Resources by
Subject Area

Donate or Volunteer

Your support makes our work possible. Please Donate Today

Please Donate Today!
Volunteer and Internship opportunities

Christopher Hill (historian)

Christopher Hill

John Edward Christopher Hill (6 February 1912 – 23 February 2003), usually known simply as Christopher Hill, was an English Marxist historian and author of textbooks.

Hill was born into a prosperous middle class family — his father was a solicitor — of Methodists in York. He attended St Peter's School, York. When he sat his entrance examination at Balliol College, Oxford, the two history tutors from Balliol College, Oxford University recognised Hill's ability and offered him a place to forestall any chance he might go to Cambridge.

Before he went up to Oxford in 1931, Hill had a prolonged holiday in Freiburg, Germany, where he witnessed the rise of the Nazi Party; he later said it contributed significantly to the radicalisation of his politics. In 1932, Hill won a first-class honours degree and won an All Souls Fellowship two years later. Whilst at Balliol, Hill became a committed Marxist and joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. In 1935, he undertook a prolonged trip to the Soviet Union, where he learnt Russian and studied Soviet historical scholarship, particularly that relating to Britain. After returning, he accepted a teaching position at Cardiff University.

Hill attempted to join the International Brigade and fight in the Spanish Civil War, but was rejected. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the British Army, initially as a Private in the Field Security Police. He was soon afterwards commissioned as an officer in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, in 1940. That same year, he took part in a debate among many Marxist historians. At around this time, Hill started to publish his articles and reviews about 17th century English history. Later in the war he transferred to the Intelligence Corps.

In 1946, Hill and many other Marxist historians formed the Communist Party Historians Group. However, Hill soon became discontented with the lack of democracy in the Communist Party. He left the party in 1956, with many other intellectuals, after the Soviet invasion of Hungary when one of his reports was rejected.

After 1956, Hill's career ascended to new heights. His studies on 17th century English history were widely acknowledged and recognised. These were based on the study of printed sources accessible in the Bodleian Library and on the secondary works produced by other academic historians rather than on research in the surviving archives. In 1965, Hill was elected the master of Balliol. He held the post from 1965 to 1978, when he retired (he was replaced by Anthony Kenny). Among those of his students at Balliol who went on to develop our understanding of the English Revolution was Brian Manning.

Many of Hill's most notable studies focused on 17th century English history. His books include Economic Problems of the Church (1955), Puritanism And Revolution (1958), Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution (1965 and revised in 1996), The Century of Revolution (1961), AntiChrist In 17th-century England (1971), The World Turned Upside Down (1972) and many others.

However, the intellectual tide later turned in favour of the so-called revisionism, which rejected the analyses of Marxist and socialist historians of Hill's generation and advocated, as an alternative to them, more detailed study of the constitutional and political, cultural and intellectual history of the early to mid-17th centuries. Hill's later works showed that he continued to work within the parameters of his earlier preoccupations and consequently lost influence upon younger historians. Even so, he was prolific in his publications until the mid-1990s even if he no longer occupied the intellectual centre-stage.

Hill died in 2003, 18 days after his 91st birthday. He was married and had three children.

[edit] Selected works

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
David Lindsay Keir
Master of Balliol College, Oxford
1965–1978
Succeeded by
Anthony Kenny



Related topics in the Connexions Subject Index

Alternatives  –  Left History  –  Libraries & Archives  –  Social Change  – 


This article is based on one or more articles in Wikipedia, with modifications and additional content contributed by Connexions editors. This article, and any information from Wikipedia, is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).

We welcome your help in improving and expanding the content of Connexipedia articles, and in correcting errors. Connexipedia is not a wiki: please contact Connexions by email if you wish to contribute. We are also looking for contributors interested in writing articles on topics, persons, events and organizations related to social justice and the history of social change movements.

For more information contact Connexions