New Left Review


“NLR was founded in 1960, from a merger between the Boards of Universities and Left Review and The New Reasoner—two journals that had emerged out of the political repercussions of Suez and Hungary in 1956, reflecting respective rejections of the dominant ‘revisionist’ orthodoxy within the Labour Party and of the legacy of Stalinism in the Communist Party of Great Britain. The common political focus uniting these two currents was provided by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the first anti-nuclear peace movement. In the pages of these journals E. P. Thompson, Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre debated ‘Marxist Humanism’, ethics and community, Raphael Samuel explored ‘the sense of classlessness’, and Isaac Deutscher analysed the Communism of Khrushchev’s thaw. [For accounts of the early New Left in Britain, see Out of Apathy, edited by the Oxford University Socialist Discussion Group, Verso, London 1989] The new review was conceived as the organ of a broad New Left organization. Its emphases were popular and interventionist, aimed at immediate issues of contemporary politics. The decline of CND by late 1961, however, deprived the New Left of much of its momentum as a movement, and uncertainties and divisions within the Board of the journal led to the transfer of the Review to a younger and less experienced group in 1962. The first two years of NLR (nos 1–12) thus constitute a distinct and self-contained period. It was marked by a novel approach to the understanding of popular culture and innovative proposals for the democratization of the modern communications industry. Stuart Hall and Raymond Williams were later to pursue these two themes in highly influential work. … From 1962 to 1963 a tentative and transitional magazine, of more restricted scope, appeared, with Perry Anderson as editor. With the dispersal of the New Left movement as such, NLR retrenched as a theoretical journal whose intellectual orientation was on the whole more geared to the emerging preoccupations of Continental theory. Articles by Claude Lévi-Strauss, R. D. Laing and Ernest Mandel signalled these new interests. The Review’s primary political focus was on the Third World rather than the domestic arena.  …”
New Left Review: A BRIEF HISTORY OF NEW LEFT REVIEW 1960-2010
Guardian – A life in politics: New Left Review at 50
W – New Left Review
New Left Review
Worlds in Waiting: The Promise of Little Magazines


Cultural theorist Stuart Hall (right) and his comrades of New Left Review, 1960s.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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