Edward Hyams

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Edward Solomon Hyams (1910-1975) was a British writer. Hyams was known for his writings as a French scholar and socialist historian.[1]


Hyams spent his early adulthood (1929-1933) as a factory worker.[2] He married Hilda Aylett in 1933.[2]

Hyams published his first novel, The Wings of the Morning in 1939.[2]

In the 1930s, Hyams was a pacifist and a member of the Peace Pledge Union, but abandoned pacifism upon the outbreak of the Second World War.[3] Hyams joined the Royal Air Force but was disqualified from being a pilot because of his poor eyesight.[2] Hyams then applied for a transfer to the Royal Navy, which was granted; he spent the rest of the war in the Navy.[2]

Hyams began submitting short fiction to the BBC Third Programme and the New Statesman in the 1950s; after they were accepted, he became a regular contributor to both.[2]


Hyams' most famous work was Soil and Civilisation, a history of farming which advocated organic farming and came out against mechanised agriculture. [4] Soil and Civilisation has been described as an early example of "environmental literature".[5] Hyams also edited a historical anthology of articles from the New Statesman magazine, New Statesmanship. [6] Other works included a biography of Proudhon, and Terrorists and Terrorism. His fiction included The Astrologer (1950) a satirical science fiction novel about an ecological disaster.[4]

He won a prize for his translation of Joan of Arc By Herself and Her Witnesses.[2]

Hyams' work was praised by both Anthony Burgess and Ronald Bryden, the latter describing Hyams as "the most exasperatingly gifted writer in England".[2]

Hyams was a keen gardener; he spent some time as a market garderner in Kent, and wrote several books about gardening.[1] He was consulted by the government of Iran when the National Botanic Garden in Tehran was being built. He was also keen on viticulture, and tried to grow wine in Britain.[7]

His last work, published posthumously in 1979, was The Story of England's Flora.


  1. ^ a b Miles Hadfield, Robert Harling and Leonie Highton British gardeners: a biographical dictionary Zwemmer, 1980 (p. 159). ISBN 0302005412
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h John Wakeman, World Authors 1950-1970 : a companion volume to Twentieth Century Authors. New York : H.W. Wilson Company, 1975. ISBN 0824204190. (pp. 697-99).
  3. ^ Martin Ceadel, Pacifism in Britain, 1914-1945 : the defining of a faith Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1980. ISBN 0198218826 (p.2).
  4. ^ a b Horace Herring. From energy dreams to nuclear nightmares : lessons from the anti-nuclear power movement in the 1970s. Charlbury : Jon Carpenter Publishing, 2005 (p.61). ISBN 1897766998
  5. ^ Joseph M. Petulla, American environmentalism: values, tactics, priorities Texas A&M University Press, 1980 (p. x). ISBN 0890960879
  6. ^ Adrian Smith, The New Statesman: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-1931 London, Routledge, 1996 (p. xii). ISBN 0714646458
  7. ^ Alexis Lychine (1967). Alexis Lychine's Encyclopaedia of Wines and Spirits. Cassell. p. 153. 

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