The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a classic novel of humour and sharply observed characterisation. It is also the first truly imaginative portrayal of life written from a working-class perspective, and a passionate defence of socialist ideals.
The story is of a year in the life of a group of painters and decorators in the town of Mugsborough at the turn of the century. Haunted by fears of unemployment, the men struggle to keep their jobs at any cost but, in the course of events, some of them begin to realise that their condition of miserable poverty is neither 'natural' nor 'just'.
Robert Noonan (Tressell) was a painter and decorator himself and drew on his own experience of working life in Hastings. The novel was an extraordinary achievement in the face of growing ill-health and the harsh demands of paid work. In his own words it is 'the story of twelve months in hell told by one of the damned'.
'One of the most extraordinary revelations that has been made in the guise of fiction' Daily Telegraph
Recently voted 'most influential book' in a survey of Labour MPs in the New Statesman
Cloth, 634pp, All rights
ISBN: 0 85315 152 0