Christopher Hampton 3 May 1929 – 28 April 2012

The poet and critic Christopher Hampton died at his home in Montmorillon on 28 April.  Christopher was born in London and, studying first as a musician, he worked for a time as a pianist and conductor before giving up music for writing.  From 1962 – 1966 he lived in Italy with his wife and daughter, teaching English in Rome.  On his return to Britain he joined the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster), where he taught for 28 years, as well as lecturing at the City Literary Institute.  Active on the left of the Labour party, he was involved in many protest movements of the eighties and nineties.  In 1997 he resigned from the Party in opposition to Tony Blair’s New Labour Third Way politics.  His poems and articles on philosophy, politics and literature have appeared regularly in print and on the radio since 1960.

Publications by Christopher Hampton include The Etruscans and the Survival of Etruria (Gollancz 1969 & Doubleday 1970); Socialism in a Crippled World (Pelican 1981); A Radical Reader (Pelican 1984) and The Ideology of the Text (Open University Press 1990). He was the editor of Poems for Shakespeare published by Sam Wanamaker’s Globe Playhouse Trust in 1972.  Christopher Hampton published four volumes of poetry: An Exile’s Italy (Thonneson 1972); A Cornered Freedom (Peterloo 1980); Against the Current (Katabasis 1995); Border Crossings (Katabasis 2005).

At the time of his death Christopher had a number of completed projects in the pipeline.  Christopher is survived by his wife Kathleen, daughter Rebecca and grandson Rohan.

Christopher was a man with an inquiring mind.  He was not just interested in books, in poetry, in music or in politics but also in people.  One always left any meeting with Christopher feeling more positive and enthusiastic because his positive enthusiasm was infectious.  I only knew him for the last four years of his life but I feel privileged to have been able to call him my friend.

We held a poetry reading for Christopher in the Glass Key bookshop in May 2010 and you can see and hear Christopher reading his poetry on a couple of short pieces of film posted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/pDV4UVh0JIs and
http://youtu.be/bqAg9MRjsbk

1 comment

  1. With unwavering optimism of will, Christopher Hampton pursued his search for truth and justice with an intellectual vigour and resolve that was rooted in the material conditions of life and its myriad contradictions. His passionately dialectic approach allowed for a dialogue of rational discourse offering a clarity of vision through his writing, teaching, sound intellect and generosity of spirit that breathes life beyond his death.

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