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Gerrard Winstanley 400th Anniversary Meeting

A celebration of the work and ideas of

7pm, Thursday 19th November 2009,

Speakers: Thomas Corns, University of Bangor, co-author of a biography of John Milton, and Ann Hughes, University of Keele, author of “The Causes of the English Civil War” (1998)

Venue: Russell Room, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 (Tube: Holborn).

“Fortunately for posterity, there was among the Diggers a man of rare talent and originality, Gerrard Winstanley, who has left behind him in his voluminous writings a record of the faith and beliefs with which he inspired this movement … Suddenly, in this year [1648], his interest turned to politics and he wrote the most characteristic of his books, The New Law of Righteousness, which is in reality a Communist Manifesto written in the dialect of its day. Throughout the next year, 1649-50, he was the life and pen of the Diggers' adventure. When that failed, after writing Fire in the Bush, a defence of his ideas addressed to the churches, he published in 1652 the most mature of his books, The Law of Freedom in a Platform. It was dedicated, in an eloquent and plain-spoken address, to Cromwell, whom it summoned to lay the foundations of a communist commonwealth. The sketch of a classless society that follows is a deeply interesting blend of the radical demo­cracy professed by the main body of the Levellers with the communism of More's Utopia and a secularism that was Winstanley's own.”

Source: The Levellers and the English Revolution by H. N. Brailsford (Spokesman, £18)

Tom Corns and Ann Hughes, two of the editors of a comprehensive new collection of Winstanley’s writings, will speak about Winstanley’s ideas and their relevance today.

The event is entirely free. Refreshments will be provided.

For further information see:

Visit our Levellers page for more of our titles on the English Revolution


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