Companion to Enlightenment Historiography by Sophie Bourgault

By Sophie Bourgault

A spouse to Enlightenment Historiography offers a survey of crucial historians and historiographical debates within the lengthy eighteenth century, analyzing those debates' stylistic, philosophical and political importance. The chapters, lots of which have been particularly commissioned for this quantity, provide a mix of obtainable creation and unique interpretive argument; they're going to hence attraction either to the student of the interval and the extra basic reader. half I considers Gibbon, Hume, Robertson, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Herder and Vico. half II explores wider issues of nationwide and thematic context: English, Scottish, French and German Enlightenment historians are mentioned, as are the strategies of ancient growth, secularism, the origins of historicism and the deployments of Greek and Roman antiquity inside of 18th century historiography. participants are Robert Mankin, Simon Kow, Jeffrey Smitten, Rebecca Kingston, Siofra Pierse, Bertrand Binoche, Donald Phillip Verene, Ulrich Muhlack, David Allan, Noelle Gallagher, Francois-Emmanuel Boucher, Sandra Rudnick Luft, Sophie Bourgault, C. Akca Atac, and Robert Sparling.

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199). 28 robert mankin Some of the Decline’s lasting power derives from its practice of a second mode alongside narrative, a style of excursive argument that Gibbon’s age often referred to with French names like tableau and peinture, that he associated with philosophy and that he recommended as a corrective, and a form of relief, from narrative accounts. The Decline opens with a “spatialization” of this kind, and if readers are not surprised, it is because Gibbon’s example has become so common in historiography.

1:148) while also underlining the extraordinary imbalance implied when one man (or child) was responsible for “an hundred millions” (2:513). When Gibbon vaunted “the truth and simplicity of historic prose” (2:106), he was suggesting that his achievement did not consist in isolating single factors but in portraying vast scenes with multidimensional clarity. 20 For the purposes of the present essay, it is interesting to consider how Montesquieu’s help in thinking about the world diminished as Gibbon’s career advanced, and he sought more comprehensive visions than philosophy would seem to allow.

For the topos of such walks in Oxford, see David Womersley, Gibbon and the “Watchmen of the Holy City”. The Historian and his Reputation 1776–1815 (Oxford, 2002), pp. 289–290. 11 In 1763 the philosophy was decidedly Addisonian, combining a spectator, travel in Italy and a concern for domestic life: “Je suivrois Strabon plutot que Pline. Dans les divisions generales et les nomenclatures, je tacherois de mettre tout l’ordre et toute la netteté dont je suis capable, mais j’envisagerois d’un œil philosophique l’intérieur de l’habitation et les habitans eux-mêmes après avoir decrit et partagé la surface”.

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