Dr Brady and the History of England
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The Earl of Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion appeared to have answered neoclassical critics once and for all by repairing the weakness in English historiography. However, Englishmen recognized that only two or three decades of their history — and to many the Civil War represented perhaps the most disgraceful part of it — had been narrated in the manner of the greatest historians of ancient and modern times. As long ago as the early sixteenth century, Polydore Vergil had written a general history of England, and during Clarendon’s own lifetime both Samuel Daniel and John Milton attempted to write, according to humanist protocols, the history of England, from earliest times to modern ones.1 This Chapter will examine the general histories of England written in the half century following Clarendon’s death, roughly from the year 1675 to about 1725. In the second quarter of the eighteenth century, the expansion of audiences for history and the emergence of foreign-born historians would present different challenges to the writing of Livian history, to be considered separately in Chapter 6.
KeywordsComplete History General History Ancient Historian Royal Court English Culture
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