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Neoclassical History and the Modern World

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Part of the Studies in Modern History book series (SMH)

Abstract

In 1716, writing in The Freeholder, Joseph Addison restated the commonplace complaint against English historical writing:

The Misfortune is, that there are more Instances of Men who deserve … Immortality, than of Authors who are able to bestow it. Our Country, which has produced Writers of the first Figure in every other kind of Work, has been very barren in good Historians. We have had several who have been able to compile Matters of Fact, but very few who have been able to digest them with that Purity and Elegance of Stile, that Nicety and Strength of Reflection, that Subtilty and Discernment in the Unravelling of a Character, and that Choice of Circumstances for enlivening the whole Narration, which we so justly admire in the antient Historians of Greece and Rome, and in some Authors of our neighbouring Nations.1

This criticism dated from the sixteenth century and lasted until the mid-eighteenth century.2

Keywords

Sixteenth Century Modern World Ancient Historian Printing Press Classical Historian 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 5.
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  3. 6.
    [Thomas Burnet], Remarks Upon the Right Honourable Lord Lansdowne’s Letter to the Author of the Reflections Historical and Political… (London, 1732), p. 20.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Donald J. Wilcox, The Development of Florentine Humanist Historiography in the Fifteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1969).Google Scholar
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    Mark Phillips, ‘Machiavelli, Guicciardini, and the Tradition of Vernacular Historiography in Florence,’ American Historical Review 84 (1979), pp. 86–105; Guicciardini pp. 114–20, 180–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Arnaldo Momigliano, Studies in Historiography (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966), pp. 1–39.Google Scholar
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    Anthony Grafton, ‘On the Scholarship of Politian and its Context,’ Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 40 (1977), pp. 150–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    A. E. Nobbs, ‘Digressions in the Ecclesiastical Histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret,’ Journal of Religious History 14 (1986), pp. 1–11. Markus, pp. 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 35.
    Paolo Sarpi, The Historie of the Councel of Trent trans. Nathaniel Brent, 3rd ed. (London, 1640), pp. 1–2, 269, 583–4.Google Scholar
  13. David Wootton, Paolo Sarpi: Between Renaissance and Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983), pp. 8–11, 69, 74, 104–7. Bolingbroke used Sarpi to justify dense detail in his projected history of England, promising Swift to ‘render my Relation more full, or piu magra, the word is Father Paul’s’ (Swift Corr. 3:488). For Sarpi’s place in the canon of neoclassical historians, see Chapter 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 48.
    Tim Harris, Politics Under the Later Stuarts: Party Conflict in a Divided Society 1660–1715 (London and New York: Longman, 1993), pp. 1, 6, 26, 98–100, 140–1, 160, 234–6.Google Scholar
  15. 49.
    Clyve Jones, ed., Britain in the First Age of Party 1680–1750: Essays Presented to Geoffrey Holmes (London: Hambledon Press, 1987).Google Scholar
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  17. 51.
    Adam Smith, Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, ed. J. C. Bryce (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 102.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip Hicks 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Mary’s CollegeNotre DameUSA

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