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Cambridge University Press
Winstanley 'The Law of Freedom' and other Writings

Winstanley 'The Law of Freedom' and other Writings

by Christopher HillChristopher Hill


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Leader of the Diggers, or True Levellers, whose colony was forced to disband in 1650, Gerrard Winstanley stands out from a century remarkable for its development in political thought as one of the most fecund and original of political writers. An acute and penetrating social critic with a passionate sense of justice, he worked out a collectivist theory which strikingly anticipates nineteenth- and twentieth-century socialism. He was the first modern European thinker to write in the vernacular advocating a communist society, and to call upon ordinary people to realize it. Winstanley published a number of pamphlets on the colony's behalf, among them a summary of his ideas, published in 1652 as The Law of Freedom in a Platform and dedicated to Oliver Cromwell. Christopher Hill's selection from Winstanley's many published pamphlets demonstrates the coherence and social relevance of Winstanley's philosophy, while it reveals his mastery of colloquial prose and his superb use of imagery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521031608
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 11/23/2006
Series: Past and Present Publications
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 396
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.83(d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; Bibliographical note; 1. List of Gerrard Winstanley's Writings; 2. Other Digger or near-Digger writings; 3. The True Levellers' standard advanced; 4. A declaration from the poor oppressed people of England; 5. An appeal to the House of Commons; 6. A watch-word to the city of London, and the army; 7. Preface to several pieces gathered into one volume; 8. A new-year's gift for the Parliament and army; 9. Fire in the bush; 10. The law of freedom in a platform; 11. Poems from other pamphlets; 12. The Digger's song.

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