Philip Bounds

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Philip Bounds
Philip Bounds in 2011
Swansea, Wales, U.K.
Died(2020 -04-08)8 April 2020[1]
Swansea, Wales, UK
Academic background

Philip Bounds was a Marxist historian, journalist and critic. He held a PhD in Politics from the University of Wales and wrote a number of books, including Orwell and Marxism and British Communism and the Politics of Literature, 1928–1939.


Much of Bounds's work was concerned with the intellectual history of the British Left. His book on George Orwell advanced the controversial argument that Orwell's literary and cultural criticism was deeply influenced by the work of British communists. The book was praised for its originality by leading Orwell scholars such as Peter Davison, John Newsinger and Jean-Jacques Rosat.

Bounds's last book was a memoir of life on the British left entitled Notes from the End of History. Drawing on his own experience of organisations like the Socialist Party of Great Britain and the Communist Party of Britain, Bounds evokes the evolution of the Marxist left over the last thirty years in a style that is simultaneously affectionate and satirical. In her review of the book in the journal New Welsh Review, Helen Pendry described it as "a romp of a read...politically searching [and] gloriously well written". A review in the Socialist Standard described it as "exceptionally well written" and suggested that "Bounds wishes to challenge his readers to move beyond the stock-in-trade reformism and sloganeering of the far left".

Philip Bounds described himself as a "libertarian Marxist" and said that his "enduring belief is that individual liberty can only be achieved in a socialist society".[2] In some of his writings he expressed cautious sympathy with free-market libertarians, and he wrote pamphlets for the Libertarian Alliance. He once claimed that "The great virtue of right-wing libertarians is that they stolidly defend freedom even in the hardest cases." [3]

Bounds's work on the history of the left has been supplemented by shorter pieces on an eclectic range of subjects, including the music of Pete Townshend,[4] film[5] and the paranormal.[6]

His articles, essays and reviews appeared in a range of journals and newspapers including Critique, Socialist History, Socialism and Democracy, Nature, Society and Thought, Cultural Logic, The Individual, Key Words and George Orwell Studies.

Select bibliography[edit]

Selected discussions of Bounds's work[edit]


  1. ^ "Announcing the passing ofPhilip BOUNDS". Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  2. ^ Bounds, Philip. "About Dr. Philip Bounds". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  3. ^ Bounds, Philip. "Lying About Libertarians". Fifth Estate Online, February 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  4. ^ Bounds, Philip. "Come to the Lifehouse: Pete Townshend's Unfinished Utopia". Fifth Estate Online, March 2007. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  5. ^ Bounds, Philip. "Tintin and the Anti-Semites: Spielberg's Ambivalent Tribute to Hergé". Fifth Estate Online, November 2011. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  6. ^ Bounds, Philip. "Orwell and the Paranormal". The Orwell Society. Retrieved 28 February 2014.

External links[edit]