Crick, Bernard (Rowland) 1929-

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CRICK, Bernard (Rowland) 1929-


Born December 16, 1929, in London, England; son of Harry Edgar and Florence Clara (Cook) Crick; married Joyce Pumphrey Morgan, September 18, 1953 (divorced, 1977); married Maggie Cahill, 1978; children: Oliver Harold, Thomas Kenneth. Education: University of London, B.Sc., 1950, Ph.D., 1956; Harvard University, graduate study, 1952-54. Politics: Socialist. Hobbies and other interests: Reviewing books and plays, hill walking.


Home—8A Bellevue Terr., Edinburgh EH7 4DT, Scotland. E-mail[email protected]


McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, assistant professor, 1954-55; University of London, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England, began as assistant lecturer, became senior lecturer in political science, 1957-65; University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, professor of political theory and institutions, 1965-71; University of London, Birkbeck College, professor of politics, 1971-84, professor emeritus, 1984—, honorary fellow, 1998. University of California—Berkeley, fellow, 1955-56; Harvard University, visiting fellow, 1960-61; Woodrow Wilson Center, visiting fellow, 1995-96; University of Edinburgh, honorary fellow in politics, 1996—. Political Quarterly Publishing Co., chair, 1980-93; Orwell Memorial Trust, chair, 1981—. British and South African Conference, cochair of British Committee, c. 1991-94; Committee on the Teaching of Citizenship in English Schools, chair, 1997-98.


Politics Association (honorary president, 1970-76), Political Studies Association (honorary vice president, 1994—), Hansard Society (honorary member; member of council, 1962-92), Savile Club.


Rockefeller fellowship, 1955-56; D.Sc., Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1988; D.Arts, University of Sheffield, 1990; D.Litt., East London Polytechnic (now University), 1990, and University of Kingston, 1996; knighted, 2002.


The American Science of Politics: Its Origins and Conditions, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1959, reprinted, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1982.

In Defense of Politics, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1962, 4th edition, 1993.

The Reform of Parliament, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1964, Anchor Books (Garden City, NY), 1965, revised 2nd edition, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1968.

(With Sally Jenkinson) Parliament and the People, illustrated by Jill Parfitt, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1966.

Political Theory and Practice, Penguin (London, England), 1969, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1974.

Basic Forms of Government: A Sketch and a Model, Macmillan (London, England), 1973.

Crime, Rape, and Gin: Reflections on Contemporary Attitudes to Violence, Pornography, and Addiction, Prometheus Books (Buffalo, NY), 1974.

(With others) Regierungskunst in der heutgen Welt, Colloquium Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1975.

(With Derek Heater) Essays on Political Education, Falmer Press (Ringmer, England), 1977.

(With Alec Porter) Political Education and Political Literacy, Longman (London, England), 1978.

George Orwell: A Life, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1981, revised edition, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1981.

Socialism, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1987.

(With Tom Crick) What Is Politics?, E. Arnold (Baltimore, MD), 1987.

Essays on Politics and Literature, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1989.

Political Thoughts and Polemics, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1990.

Crossing Borders: Political Essays, Continuum (New York, NY), 2001.

Democracy: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Shorter works include "Reform of the Commons," Fabian Society (London, England), 1960; and "Socialist Values and Time," Fabian Society (London, England), 1984. Author of critical introduction and annotations, George Orwell, 1984, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1984. Contributor to periodicals, including Observer, New Society, and Guardian. Joint editor, Political Quarters.


(With Miriam Alman) A Guide to Manuscripts Relating to America in Great Britain and Ireland, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1961, revised edition, Meckler Books (Westport, CT), 1979.

Essays on Reform, 1967: A Centenary Tribute, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1967.

(With William A. Robson) Protest and Discontent, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1970.

(With William A. Robson) The Future of the Social Services, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1970.

(With A. H. Hanson) The Commons in Transition, Fontana (London, England), 1970.

(And author of introduction) Nicolo Machiavelli, The Discourses, translated by Leslie J. Walker and revised by Brian Richardson, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1970.

(With William A. Robson) Taxation Policy, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1973.

(With William A. Robson) China in Transition, Sage Publications (Beverly Hills, CA), 1975.

Unemployment, Methuen (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Audrey Coppard) Orwell Remembered, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1984.

National Identities: The Constitution of the United Kingdom, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1991.

Citizens: Towards a Citizenship Culture, Blackwell (Malden, MA), 2001.

(With Andrew Lockyer and John Annette) Education for Democratic Citizenship: Issues of Theory and Practice, Ashgate Publishing (Burlington, VT), 2003.

Political Quarterly, joint editor, 1966-80, literary editor, 1993-2000. Also editor of Seventy Serious Years: The Political Quarterly, 1930-2000, 2000.


Bernard Crick's biography of George Orwell is the first to be written with the authorization of Orwell's wife, Sonia; critics praised Crick's thorough examinations of the newly available archives. Edward Crankshaw noted in the Times Literary Supplement that "anyone who wishes to write or think about Orwell will be glad to have the facts assembled here. Perhaps Professor Crick's best service has been to seek out and talk to anyone who remembered Orwell, and particularly the obscurer witnesses, like the residents of Wigam who had dealings with him in the 1930s." Robert E. Kuehn wrote in the Chicago Tribune Book World: "Future critics and biographers of Orwell will consult Crick's biography again and again as the most reliable record of Orwell's movements and of the development of his political views." Kuehn also noted that Crick performed a valuable service by correcting errors made in earlier studies; still, said Kuehn, Crick neglects one duty of a biographer: to bring his subject to life. According to Kuehn, Crick's portrait is "immaterial, cold, humorless, and relentlessly literal-minded."

Steven Marcus explained the reason for Crick's approach to Orwell in the New York Times Book Review: "Mr. Crick is, understandably, polemically opposed to those critics of Orwell who have attempted to explain his later writings by 'reducing' them to direct outcomes of his traumatic childhood experiences. In his extreme determination to undo such quasi-psychoanalytical vulgarizing, however, Mr. Crick becomes anti-psychological himself, denies that Orwell had any significant psychology and thus simply lays waste to an entire dimension of meaning in an important writer's life and work.… Mr. Crick is so concerned to avoid the dangers of psychological reductionism that he turns himself into a mirror-image in reverse of the amateur psychological oversimplifier—which is hardly an improvement."

Crankshaw, who also noted that Crick fails to capture Orwell's spirit, felt that Crick's approach is unsuited to biography: "The trouble is that if a biographer refuses to engage himself intimately with his subject he is reduced either to bare chronological narrative or a chronological narrative with a running commentary. Professor Crick is so strong on running commentary that in the first part of the book Orwell is virtually invisible. It is only when he begins to emerge into the large world, and starts meeting articulate contemporaries that he is allowed to break through and come to life, because Professor Crick can then quote the views of others."

But Samuel Hynes observed in the Washington Post Book World that Crick's attempt to avoid speculation is laudable, especially given the circumstances of Orwell's life: "The problem for the biographer in this story is that the relation between the life and the works was an unusually close one, but neither explains the other: rather it seems that Orwell created both his works and his life, for the sake of his principles." The result, said Hynes, is a biography that "is neither hagiography nor psycho-drama; but what it loses in those dubious directions it gains in credibility, and it will surely be the standard biography of Orwell for a long time."



American Political Science Review, September, 1963.

British Book News, April, 1987, review of Socialism, p. 209; September, 1987, review of Socialism and What Is Politics?, p. 587.

Chicago Tribune Book World, March 15, 1981, Robert E. Kuehn, review of George Orwell: A Life.

Christian Science Monitor, November 5, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. B3.

College Literature, winter, 1984, review of George Orwell, p. 98.

Commentary, March, 1983, review of George Orwell, p. 51.

Contemporary Sociology, September, 1989, Alan Wolfe, review of Socialism, p. 840.

Detroit News, April 5, 1981.

Ethics, July, 1990, Daniel Little, review of Socialism, p. 911.

Guardian Weekly, July 1, 1990, review of Essays on Politics and Literature, p. 27.

Harper's, January, 1983, review of George Orwell, p. 30.

Hudson Review, summer, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. 350.

Kliatt Paperback Book Guide, winter, 1983, review of George Orwell, p. 36.

Library Review, April 15, 1975.

London Review of Books, October 26, 1989, review of Essays on Politics and Literature, p. 19.

Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1985, John Espey, review of Orwell Remembered, p. 10.

National Review, August 13, 1963.

New Statesman, September 29, 1967; August 6, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. 24; December 17, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. 40.

New Statesman and Society, June 22, 1990, review of Political Thoughts and Polemics, p. 51.

Newsweek, April 27, 1981.

New York Review of Books, February 2, 1989, review of In Defense of Politics, p. 42.

New York Times, April 13, 1981.

New York Times Book Review, March 22, 1981, Steven Marcus, review of George Orwell; September 12, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. 55.

Observer (London, England), June 3, 1990, review of Political Thoughts and Polemics and Essays on Politics and Literature, p. 62; August 16, 1992, review of George Orwell, p. 49; December 12, 1993, review of In Defense of Politics, p. 22.

Parliamentary Affairs, April, 1992, Jack Brand, review of National Identities: The Constitution of the United Kingdom, p. 255.

Political Quarterly, October-December, 1989, David Judge, "Parliament in the 1980s," p. 400; October-December, 2000, review by Ted Wragg, p. 482.

Political Studies, March, 1991, Stephen Ingle, review of Essays on Politics and Literature, p. 216.

Reference Services Review, spring, 1984, review of George Orwell, pp. 19, 95.

Sociology: Reviews of New Books, March, 1982, review of Unemployment, p. 73.

Spectator, August 14, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. 24.

Times (London, England), November 27, 1980.

Times Educational Supplement, August 6, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. 21; June 17, 1983, review of In Defense of Politics, p. 31; September 9, 1988, Richard Evans, review of What Is Politics?, p. 34.

Times Higher Education Supplement, February 1, 2002, John Dunn, review of In Defense of Politics, p. 27.

Times Literary Supplement, February 29, 1968; March 28, 1975; December 26, 1980, Edward Crankshaw, review of George Orwell; May 27, 1988, Jeremy Waldron, review of Socialism, p. 580; July 20, 1990, John Vincent, review of Political Thoughts and Polemics, p. 769; August 16, 2002, Mark Garnett, review of Crossing Borders: Political Essays, p. 28.

Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. 353.

Washington Post, June 3, 1981.

Washington Post Book World, March 8, 1981, Samuel Hynes, review of George Orwell.

William and Mary Quarterly, April, 1984, review of A Guide to Manuscripts Relating to America in Great Britain and Ireland, p. 283.

World Literature Today, winter, 1982, review of George Orwell, p. 118.*