A transnational anarchist newspaper: The Torch (1891-96)

The Torch-page-001

Our next research seminar, on 19th November, will feature Pietro Dipaola (Lincoln, History and Heritage) speaking on ‘A transnational anarchist newspaper: The Torch (1891-96)’. Please note that we have changed rooms – we are now in MB1013. This is a change to the original programme. Refreshments will be served from 5pm and the paper will begin at 5.15pm.

Please find Pietro’s abstract and biography below:

While it is acknowledged as an original and influential journalistic and militant endeavour, the London-based anarchist paper The Torch remains poorly known. It will be examined here to gain insight into the development and functioning of the transnational militant press in the late nineteenth century and its interplay of militant and artistic contents. The paper will focus on The Torch’s editorial history, from its creation through to its heyday in 1894-95 and its disappearance in 1896. It will emphasise the role of informal networks of contributors and collaborators, which made this small and financial precarious venture a striking instance of the pre-WW1 globalisation of the political press. It will emphasise the publication’s specific ideological and generic stance, and in particular its juxtaposition of labour and anarchist militancy with intellectual and artistic bohemia; this was reflected in its staff, composed of literati who briefly dabbled in journalism (especially the paper’s well-to-do founders, Helen and Olivia Rossetti, with their prestigious artistic connections) with near-professional political journalists and militants. All these factors combined to make The Torch both an archetypal anarchist publication in formal terms, and a high-quality publication ranking among the most original and stimulating of the prolific anarchist movement in its golden age.

Pietro Di Paola is senior lecturer in History at the University of Lincoln. He obtained his PhD at Goldsmiths College, London. His interest focuses on the experience of anarchist exiles and the transnational history of anarchism. He is the author of The Knights-Errant of Anarchy. London and the Italian Anarchist Diaspora (1870-1914) (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013). His recent publications include: ‘The Game of the Goose. Italian Anarchism: Transnational, National, of Local Perspective?’ in B. Altena, C. Bantman, Reassessing the Transnational Turn. (London: Routledge, 2015). ‘’The man who knows his village’: Colin Ward and Freedom Press.’, in C. Levy (ed.) Colin Ward. Life, Times and Thought (Lawrence & Wishart, 2014). ‘Marie Louise Berneri and Freedom Press’ in: Maria Luisa Berneri e l’anarchismo inglese (Biblioteca Panizzi, Archivio Berneri- Chessa, Reggio Emilia, 2013).

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