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History and the Enlightenment Hardcover – June 29, 2010
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“[An] indispensable book.”—Andrew O’Hagan, New York Review of Books
Top Customer Reviews
Robertson's "Editor's Introduction," puts the various essays to follow into a helpful context, especially for those who are not familiar with T-R and his interests. Robertson has also taken much care with the essays' notes, supplementing some and adding references where none was published with the essay. In his appendix, "A Guide to Later Scholarship," he discusses some more recent work that pertains to T-R's topics. This update is very helpful because the essays were published mainly in the 1960's, 1980's, with the most recent being published in 1997.
The essays themselves, all tied somehow to the enlightenment and the writing of history, reflect some of T-R's most central interests. For example, there are three perceptive essays on Edward Gibbon, long a T-R favorite. I came to a much better understanding of why Gibbon is so important, both to the discipline of history, as well as to our substantive knowledge.Read more ›
Trevor-Roper is at his best in short pieces, and previous collections, such as 'Historical Essays" and "Renaissance Essay", show him at his insightful best, witty and wise. In the book under review the touch is less popular and more academic. His editor, John Robertson, has even provided more detailed footnotes than Trevor-Roper had originally.. (Oddly, for all his work, Robertson is not even listed on the title page as editor.).
If the title "History and the Enlightenment" is a bit heavy-handed, the contents are less ponderous. Trevor-Roper's breezy style is open to every reader, He reminds us chiefly of David Hume, whose clever and readable history of England, Trevor-Roper praises warmly.in the essay "David Hume, Historian," almost the last word on the philosopher's English history. A valuable essay is that of the little-known Italian Enlightenment historian, Pietro Giannone, who deserves to be better known. Trevor-Roper calls him "the real founder, and indeed protomartyr,of the 'civil history' of the Enlightenment.' Along with Vico, Giannone blazed a trail for Italian historians to follow, but for this he was persecuted, while Vico was praised.Read more ›