The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist

James Jarvis

It is one hundred years since Robert Tressle passed away and was buried in a paupers grave in Liverpool, not a great deal is known about him and even less about the intentions behind the book he left behind but what is clear is the massive impact his novel has had on its reader ever since publication. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist is one of the seminal pieces of socialist literature of the past 100 years. Its bitter expose of the working class’ political capabilities of the time pulls no punches and many see it taking an almost inhumane view of the workers. What the book has been however is a beacon of inspiration for socialists around the world. From the beautifully simple way the protagonist Owen explains ‘The Great Money Trick’ to his fellow uninterested workers, to the feeling of hopelessness which prevails throughout the book in much the same way the quality of righteousness does. In many ways this is where its quality lays, throughout the book flows the same forces which applies to that of the timeless fight for socialism. Tressell puts a Machiavellian twist on the realities of socialism; he truly tells it how it is. A must read for anyone and any age, this book will continue to inspire and inform all who approach it with a clear mind. This is why we here at Pulp pause to remember the brilliant mind which lay behind the ‘Ragged Trousered Philanthropist’ and want to use this opportunity to encourage anyone and everyone to give this book a try.

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