An Open Letter to Leszek Kolakowski

E. P. Thompson


Dear Leszek Kolakowski, First, I must introduce myself, since this is an unusual kind of letter. You don't know me, but I know you well. This must be familiar enough to a man with an international " reputation. He must often be beset with the importunities of strangers. But my claim is more insistent and vulgar than that. I am the stranger who walks into the house, slaps you on the back, sits down at your ;able, and jests about your youthful escapades, on the pretext of a claim to distant relationship of which you know nothing. I am, in political terms, your mother's brother's stepson. I am an impossible and presumptuous guest, and an uninvited one-you may even suspect that I am an impostor-but the courtesies of kinship disallow you from throwing me from your house.

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