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Immersion and Overview in Histories without Hindsight

  • Helen Kingstone
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)

Abstract

This chapter showcases the work of three historians who defied Victorian convention and wrote narratives of the recent past within living memory. As amateurs in an age of professionalization, they benefited from extra freedom, but also had to prove their claim to authority. The chapter analyzes Harriet Martineau’s History of England during the Thirty Years’ Peace (1849), J. R. Green’s A Short History of the English People (1874 [1878]) and Spencer Walpole’s History of England from the End of the Great War in 1815 (1878–86 [1890]), examining how they approached the challenge of writing history without hindsight. Unable to offer Enlightenment-style philosophical overview, they instead embraced their state of immersion. However, they and their reviewers saw the resultant focus on small-scale details in gendered terms, labeling them effeminate.

Keywords

Short History National History History Writing English People Contemporary History 
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.

Bibliography

  1. Green, J. R. A History of the English People [1877–1880]. 5 vols. New York: Useful Knowledge Publishing Company, 1882.Google Scholar
  2. ———. A Short History of the English People [1874]. London: Macmillan, 1878.Google Scholar
  3. ———. The History of England during the Thirty Years’ Peace. 2 vols. London: Charles Knight, 1849.Google Scholar
  4. ———. The History of England from the Commencement of the XIXth Century to the Crimean War. 4 vols. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1864.Google Scholar
  5. Matthew, H. C. G. “Walpole, Sir Spencer (1839–1907).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/36712.Google Scholar
  6. Walpole, Spencer. A History of England from the Conclusion of the Great War in 1815 [1878–1886]. 6 vols. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1890.Google Scholar
  7. ———. The Land of Home Rule: An Essay on the History and Constitution of the Isle of Man. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1893.Google Scholar
  8. Ward, Thomas Humphry, ed. The Reign of Queen Victoria: A Survey of Fifty Years of Progress. 2 vols. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1887.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Kingstone
    • 1
  1. 1.Leeds Centre for Victorian StudiesLeeds Trinity UniversityLeedsUnited Kingdom

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