ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pervasive and Perverse

Of Nationalisms

On Nationalism by Eric Hobsbawm and edited by Donald Sassoon with an introduction, London: Little, Brown, 2021; pp xxvi + 364, `799.

 

It is almost a decade since the death of celebrated historian Eric Hobsbawm at the age of 95 years in October 2012. The volume under review is a good way of reminding ourselves about the many things that Hobsbawm had to say about a phenomenon as pervasive and perverse as nationalism, which he himself clearly did not like. This is a point that Donald Sassoon helpfully makes at the very beginning of this book in his introduction.

Hobsbawm the historian helps us ­understand that in the larger sweep of history, nationalism will appear as a not so insignificant blip. Yet, like all blips it will pass. As Hobsbawm wrote at the very end of his book Nations and Nationalism since 1780:

The owl of Minerva which brings wisdom, said Hegel, flies out at dusk. It is a good sign that it is now circling round nations and nationalism. (p 192)

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Updated On : 25th Feb, 2022
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