Talk:V. Gordon Childe
|V. Gordon Childe has been listed as a History good article under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do, and if it no longer meets these criteria, it can be reassessed.
Review: August 27, 2013. ( ).
|This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:|
The facts of Childe's life are admirably stated, but surely his importance in the history of his subject lies not so much in his specfic excavations, but in the materalistic ie. Marxist interpretations he put on them? He was not dogmatic in his approach, but in populist works like "What Happened in History", he certainly sought to explain the development of the ancient world by means of successively developing technologies and their relationship to their societies. The article does not even mention his belief system, which influenced all of his work. djnjwd
- Feel free to add to it, please. I admit to not knowing much about him, and only came across him at all through the Skara Brae excavations (which are a landmark in the history of archaeology on the strength of the significance of the site). The biographical dictionaries I normally use to get the basic data for an article don't mention Childe's political or philosophical beliefs. I would be glad to see a much longer article. Deb 16:58 13 Jun 2003 (UTC)
The style of his name
The article never actually mentions that he always (as far as I know) published under the style "Gordon Childe", dropping the "Vere". I couldn't see a way of putting it into the opening paragraph with making it too unwieldy. If someone can see a way of slipping it in nicely, please do, otherwise I'll have a go at some point.SamuelTheGhost (talk) 09:09, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
- Since then I've done so. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 19:49, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
- Except I've almost always seen him cited as V. Gordon Childe, not Gordon Childe, not Vere Gordon Childe, not Vere G. Childe, not V. G. Childe. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 06:22, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
"Mountain climbing" is not performed in the Blue Mountains. It's use in this article is misleading. Childe may have been rock-climbing or bushwalking. But he was not mountain climbing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 06:24, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Mythical concepts about Childe
Childe did not invent the term or the concept of Neolithic revolution (see Three-age system), nor was he ever much interested in African archaeology, which in his time had developed a new system from the old. Changing these errors will entail minor changes to the intro. More seriously this raises the question of what if anything he did innovate. Also I have serious questions concerning the branding as Marxist archaeologist. I don't see a thing Marxist about Childe, regardless of his personal sometime affiliations. In fact, Engels and Marx favored Morgan, but Childe summarily dismissed MOrgan. Childe followed Sir John Lubbock, as did Sir John Evans and these men were assuredly in no way Marxist. The article looks nice on the surface. It may not stand up to invesigation. Right now I do not have the time to check it. Eventually I may. Meanwhile, why don't some of you go over it? I will make small corrections to the intro as far as I can for the moment.Dave (talk) 11:55, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
The influence section
I've been reading this over and I must say I am really quite impressed with it. Outstanding for an amateur. There are a few points that mark it as non-professional. One is the failure to research the archaeological mileu in which Childe was working. Thus the editor(s) can imply that Chide devised such terms a Bronze Age and Stone Age and state that he invented the Neolithic Revolution. He did not. I will have to change that a little. You can find the research under Three-age system. The article however is really splendid in presenting him as a great interpreter. His presentations are quite excellent: lucid, summary, coherent. I'm a Childe fan along with everyone else. Not for nothing was he an avid politician. I vote for Childe. He did not, however, innovate any of the things the article claims he did. He got it all from the archaeologists that went before. As to whether there is anything Marxist about him beyond the lip service I doubt it. Going to Russia was pretty standard for the 1930's. Communism was very fashionable in those days. George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War. But few of them could handle the concept that Stalin made a pact with Hitler and basically threw the Spanish Civil War in favor of his new ally. I doubt if Childe knew any of that or could handle it. The supposed Marxist parts of his writings actually came from Wallace and Lubbock. What's the big deal? Childe argued that archaeological evidence could shed no light on history but it could on economy. Just what is so Marxist about that? We do not see any Marxist jargon at all in V Gordon Childe. His "materialist" ideas stem from the limitations of archaeology and the ideas of Sir John Lubbock, who in turn was working from the idea of Wallace. All these things are still in place but no one now tags them as Marxist or would would dare to do so. If Childe was a Marxist then HUAC was a Bible study group. Marxists go around spouting the jargon: dictatorship of the proletariat, working class, class stuggle, the predetermined victory of the working class etc etc. None of these appear in Childe. He even adopts the conservative view of the Mesolithic. Stalin was going around shooting men of his views as phonies. And they weren't his anyway. I have to make a few adjustments so this excellent article does not imply non-excellent conclusions. I will try to keep it to a minimum.Dave (talk) 13:11, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
- As the editor responsible for the recent additions and expansions to this article, I thank you for your kind comments. As the referencing illustrates, the information I have added is primarily biographical in nature, taken from Sally Green's 1981 biography of the man. I would be the first to admit that my knowledge of Childe's influence and influences is scant and based upon what I have read in a few published sources. In these, it is common for him to be called a Marxist archaeologist, but with certaine xceptions - he was certainly no orthodox Marxist. - Midnightblueowl, 10 June 2011.
Were the Wobblies in Australia Marxist?
The article as it currently is written reads, "Instead he became involved in the Australian branch of an international revolutionary socialist group called the Industrial Workers of the World that advocated a specifically Marxist worldview." From context, it appears that this refers to the situation c. 1920.
I don't know if it's accurate to call the Wobblies socialist at this time and place, but I think it's specifically inaccurate to call them "specifically Marxist". Check out, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Workers_of_the_World#In_Australia where it says that: The 1908 split between the Chicago and Detroit factions in the United States was echoed by internal unrest in the Australian IWW from late 1908, resulting in the formation of a pro-Chicago local in Adelaide in May 1911 and another in Sydney six months later. By mid 1913 the "Chicago" IWW was flourishing and the SLP-associated pro-Detroit IWW Club in decline. In 1916 the "Detroit" IWW in Australia followed the lead of the US body and renamed itself the Workers' International Industrial Union. The Detroit Faction is associated with the Socialist Labor Party, the Chicago Faction more with anarchists and "the bums". Minor point, sure, but if someone has the Green book cited could they check this to see what's actually being cited. Generally, calling the IWW Marxist or socialist after c. 1908 seems to me painting with too large brush strokes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 06:16, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
- This review is transcluded from Talk:V. Gordon Childe/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.
- The prose is pretty good, but it could probably use a copyeditor before FA, just to smooth out the occasional rough patch.
University in Sydney and Oxford: 1911–1917
- "Wishing to continue his education, he gained £200 from the Cooper Graduate Scholarship in Classics" - this is a little bit awkward; it would be better to state how he gained the scholarship, e.g. "he submitted an essay to and won" or "he applied for the Cooper Graduate Scholarship in Classics and was awarded £200." Also, is that per year, or a lump sum?
- "Oxford University Fabian Society" - This could use more explanation. The Fabian Society... well, it's hard to judge from having never heard of it, but I don't believe it's so well-known outside of socialist circles as to justify it not being glossed.
- "At Queen's, Childe was entered for a diploma in classical archaeology followed by a Bachelor of Literature degree, but did not complete the requirements for the former; here, he studied under John Beazley and Arthur Evans, the latter acting as his supervisor." - I honestly have no idea what the linking word "here" is meant to mean.
London and early books: 1922–1926
- "of outstanding importance" - This is a direct quote, but the citation at the end of the paragraph lists three different sources. Quotes need specific sources. Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:16, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I've made a few minor copyedits, and, on the whole, this article looks pretty good. If you can at least get the  tag fixed, I'm happy to promote to GA; the other things - whilst needing fixed - are small enough not to block. Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:33, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
- Thank you for doing this Adam; it is much appreciated! I honestly cannot remember where the "Of outstanding importance" quote came from, so I have removed it and replaced it with non-quote text. My use of "here" meant "at Queen's College, Oxford"; I've altered the text to clarify this. Regarding the Fabian Society, I've mentioned that it is a "left-wing reformist" group". I am unsure as to how Childe specifically obtained the scholarship, so I have changed the text to "he gained a £200 Cooper Graduate Scholarship in Classics". Kind regards, Midnightblueowl (talk) 22:33, 27 August 2013 (UTC).
- I made a few additional copyedits (your fix of the "here" created a sentence fragment, for instance), and think it's now at GA. clarifying the scholarship details would be a good thing to do moving forwards to FA, and it'd be useful to get a copyeditor in before FA, but this clearly is enough for GA. ✓ Pass Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:01, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I query the following:
- The event [the invasion of Hungary] made Childe abandon faith in the Soviet leadership, but not in socialism and Marxism. Childe retained a love of the Soviet Union, visiting on multiple occasions, and he was involved with the Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR, a CPGB satellite body, being president of their National History and Archaeology Section from the early 1950s until his death.
The invasion was in 1956; he died in 1957. He appears from the text to have visited the USSR in 1956, but not multiple times. And the only significance here of his involvement in the society was that he didn't resign in 1956.--Jack Upland (talk) 05:19, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
- He consistently referred to the socialist states of eastern Europe by their full official titles, and called towns by their Slavonic rather than Germanic names, further confusing his students.
Did he really call all the states by their official titles, or is this referring to the German Democratic Republic and the USSR? Is the second part referring to Germany's changed borders after WW2, so that Danzig became Gdansk?--Jack Upland (talk) 05:32, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
- I added such information on the basis of the published biography of Childe by Sally Green. If my memory serves me correctly, it wasn't just the USSR and GDR that he referred to under their full titles, but also such nation-states as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Poland. With regard to the latter point, Childe would talk of "Warszawa" rather than "Warsaw", and "Praha" rather than "Prague", thus using the native Slavic names rather than their Germanic counterparts which his students (mostly being native Anglophone speakers) were familiar with. Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:05, 6 February 2014 (UTC)