By Sophie Bourgault

A better half to Enlightenment Historiography offers a survey of an important historians and historiographical debates within the lengthy eighteenth century, studying those debates' stylistic, philosophical and political importance. The chapters, a lot of that have been especially commissioned for this quantity, supply a mix of available creation and unique interpretive argument; they'll therefore allure either to the student of the interval and the extra common reader. half I considers Gibbon, Hume, Robertson, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Herder and Vico. half II explores wider subject matters of nationwide and thematic context: English, Scottish, French and German Enlightenment historians are mentioned, as are the strategies of historic growth, secularism, the origins of historicism and the deployments of Greek and Roman antiquity inside of 18th century historiography. individuals 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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See Le Journal de Gibbon à Lausanne, 17 Août 1763–19 Avril 1764, ed. Georges Bonnard (Lausanne, 1945), pp. 167–169, in Gibbon’s original French. Gibbon would already have known Hume’s far less Addisonian invocation of a “philosophical eye” in “Of the First Principles of Government” (1741): David Hume, Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. ), p. 32. By the end of the 1760’s, Hume had prevailed over Addison: the same image appears regularly in the Decline but the sense of the domestic spectator has vanished.

Essays on the Classical Tradition (New York, 2009), p. 16. 30 robert mankin was. 10 This was the blueprint of the Decline. A second scene occurred not in physical but in intellectual space (the pages of his journal) in 1763, shortly before Gibbon embarked on his Grand Tour to Italy and Rome. He had been studying in order to write a geographical account of ancient Italy, which he imagined might become a standard schoolbook and an estimable tour guide for the happy few who travelled. 11 There was to be no future for his scheme of a philosophical travel book for gentle folk—though it is amusing to compare that description to the Decline.

14 To Edmund Burke, the century’s and modern Europe’s end came two years after Gibbon’s final volume. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, ed. g. p. 119. 15 Gibbon, Autobiographies, p. 308: “the middle tone between a dull Chronicle and a Rhetorical declamation”. For the political significance of this exercise for French and European history, see the references concerning France in note 39 infra. 16 But cp. Gibbon, Autobiographies, pp. 332–333. 17 Although Gibbon could not help but admire Voltaire’s easy narration and deft turns of phrase, he could neither accept nor think well of them.

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