The Idler’s ‘Freedom’ Manifesto
The Idler is an annual periodical that campaigns against the work ethic and promotes liberty, autonomy and responsibility.
It is edited by Tom Hodgkinson. It was founded in 1993 by Tom and Gavin Pretor-Pinney. The Idler is now published as a high quality hardback book, which is typeset by Christian Brett and art directed by Alice Smith. Recent contributions come from Penny Rimbaud, Alain De Botton, Oliver James, Jay Griffiths and Paul Kingsnorth.
The title comes from a series of essays by Dr Johnson, published in 1758-9 in the Gentleman’s Magazine.
Editor Tom Hodgkinson has written four books published by Hamish Hamilton which develop this attitude to life. The first, How To Be Idle, has been published in 20 countries and has so far become a best-seller in the UK, Italy and Germany.
His second book, How To Be Free, takes an anarchic approach to the everyday barriers that come between us and our dreams. The third is an alternative parenting manual, The Idle Parent, which argues that we need to leave the kids alone.
His latest book is Brave Old World: A Practical Guide to Husbandry. This combines Hodgkinson’s experiences of living on a small farm with references to great didactic farming literature, from Hesiod to Virgil and Thomas Tusser to William Cobbett.
The site offers a bookshop and a clothing outlet, where you can buy Idler t-shirts and hoodies designed by Ged Wells. We are now also selling handmade greetings cards by Alice Smith and first edition hardback books.
In March 2011, Tom Hodgkinson and Victoria Hull opened The Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment, a bookshop and café in West London. Our shop is at 81 Westbourne Park Road, London W2 5QH. Please pop in if you’re in London.
LIBERTAS PER CULTUM.
The latest offshoot of the Idler is a centre of learning in West London, dedicated to teaching old-fashioned subjects such as calligraphy, grammar and Greek philosophy. Here you can educate yourself in the ideas of Plato or learn the ukulele, in convivial surroundings with like-minded and interesting people. Recordings of lectures are available to Friends and Fellows of the Idler Academy. This means overseas and out-of-town idlers can join the fun.
The Idler Academy incorporates an 18th century style coffeehouse. We serve Monmouth coffee, fine teas and homemade cakes. There is a small enclosed medieval garden. Here you can escape from the world, find some peace, and sit and meet people. Napping is encouraged.
Tom is the founder of the Idler and author of a number of books, including How to be Idle, How to be Free, The Idle Parent and Brave Old World, all published by Penguin. He plays the ukulele, speaks all over the world on idleness and freedom, and is the father of three children. His partner is Victoria Hull.
Victoria is co-founder and director of the Idler Academy. She set up and ran the celebrated Clerkenwell Literary Festival in the Nineties, then spent the next few years keeping bees, raising children, baking bread and breeding puppies in the country,