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Past and Current Trends in British Historiography


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Past and Current Trends in British Historiography

1. Introduction to the ‘Whig’ historical tradition, its early and late critics. (Paul Rapin de Thoyras, David Hume, Lord Macaulay, Henry Hallam, J.R. Green, George Trevelyan, W.E.H. Lecky, Herbert Butterfield, Lewis Namier). The Historiographer Royal.


Hume, David. The History of Great Britain, 6 volumes, Edinburgh, 1754-62.

Macaulay, Thomas Babington, 1st Baron Macaulay. The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, 5 volumes, London, 1848. 

Butterfield, Herbert. The Whig Interpretation of History, London: G. Bell and sons, 1931.

2. Gibbon’s magisterial work: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.


Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 6 volumes, London, 1776-1789.

Porter, Roy. Gibbon Making History, London: George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988.

3. The early Oxford school. The Regius Chair in Modern History. The Chichele Professorship of Modern History, All Souls College

William Stubbs, James Froude, Maurice Powicke, Keith Feiling, H.A.L. Fisher;


Stubbs, William. The Constitutional History of England in Its Origin and Development, 3 volumes, London, 1873–78.
Fisher, H.A.L. A History of Europe. Vol. 1: Ancient and Medieval; Vol. 2: Renaissance, Reformation, Reason; Vol. 3: The Liberal Experiment, London, 1935.

Feiling. Keith. A History of England. From the Coming of the English to 1918, London: Macmillan, 1950.


4. The early Cambridge school. The Regius chair in Modern History.

Sir John Robert Seeley, Lord Acton, Herbert Butterfield, and William Chadwick.


Figgis, Neville John; Laurence, Reginald Vere (eds). Lectures on Modern History by the Late Rt. Hon. John Emerich Edward First Baron Acton, London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd, 1906.

Butterfield, Herbert. History and Human Relations, (London: Collins, 1951).


5. The Historical Society for Great Britain (The Royal Historical Society) 1868. History at the University of London: University College, Birkbeck College, Imperial College, the London School of Economics and Political Science (DC. Watt)

A.F. Pollard (1903-31), Sir John Ernest Neale 1927-56;

A. F. Pollard: the Dictionary of National Biography, the Royal Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Historical Association and the Institute of Historical Research.
Pollard, A.F. Factors in Modern History, London, A. Constable and Co., Ltd., 1907.

—— Henry VIII, Paris, London, New York: Goupil, 1902.

Alford, Stephen. “Politics and Political History in the Tudor Century” The Historical Journal, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Jun., 1999), 535-548 o.

D.C. Watt, How War Came: the immediate origins of the Second World War, 1938-1939, London : Mandarin Paperbacks, 1990.

6. The School of Slavonic and East European Studies, King’s College, then UCL, University of London.

Robert William Seton Watson, Ronald Burrows, Paul Vinogradov, Tomáš Masaryk, Robert Pynsent, László Péter, Dennis Deletant, Martyn Rady.

The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Daudi Ali, Ian Brown

Establishment and growth of the schools since the First World War.

R.W. Seton-Watson, “The Origins of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies”, The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 17, No. 50 (Jan., 1939), 360-371 o.

Review Article: Maurice Pearton, “The History of SSEES: The Political Dimension”. Review of Roberts, I.W. History of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, 1915-1990, [SSEES, University of London, 1990.] The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 71, No. 2, April 1993, 287-294.
7. The documentarists: Harold Temperley, George Peabody Gooch, Ernest Llewellyn Woodward, Rohan d’Olier Butler, John Patrick T Bury, Anne Orde, Keith Hamilton and David Vincent.
Temperley, Harold William Vazeille and G.P Gooch eds. British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914 (11 volumes), London: HMSO, 1926-1938.

Temperley, Harold William Vazeille, Lillian M. Penson eds. A Century of Diplomatic Blue Books, 1814-1914, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1938.

Woodward, Ernest Llewellyn; Rohan Butler, W.N. Medlicott, W.N. Douglas Dakin, Gillian Bennett, J.P.T Bury, Anne Orde, eds. Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919–1939, First Series, 27 vols, London: HMSO, 1947-1986.
8. The great historiography debate:

R. G. Collingwood, Herbert Butterfield, E.H. Carr, Geoffrey Elton, Richard Evans, Eric Hobsbawm, Michael Howard, Michael Oakeshott, Lewis B. Namier, Keith Jenkins


Collingwood R. G., The Idea of History (Oxford, 1946).
Carr, E. H., What is History? (London: Macmillan, 1961).
Elton, Geoffrey. The Practice of History (Sydney: Sydney University Press; London: Methuen, 1967).
Evans, Richard J. In Defence of History (London: Granta Books, 1997).

Oakeshott, Michael. What is History? and other essays, edited by Luke O’Sullivan, Exeter : Imprint Academic, 2004.

Thomas, Peter. ‘L. B. Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, [a reappraisal]’, June 1997, http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/reapp/lewis.html
9. Official Historian, Official Biographer

Works by W.K. Hancock, Basil Collier, Sir Charles Webster, Noble Frankland, Sir James Butler, N. H. Gibbs, J.R.M. Gwyer, John Ehrman, Michael Howard, Stephen Roskill,

Martin Gilbert. The appointments.
Gibbs, N.H. Grand Strategy, Volume 1, Rearmament Policy, (History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series, edited by J.R.M. Butler), London: HMSO, 1976.
Churchill , Randolph and Martin Gilbert. Winston S. Churchill, 8 volumes, London: Heinemann, 1966-1988.

Gilbert, Martin. In Search of Churchill, London: HarperCollinsPublishsers, 1994.

10. Recent and current history in Oxford

Regius Professors: Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sir Michael Howard, John Elliott, Robert J.W. Evans

A.J.P. Taylor, Asa Briggs, Alan Bullock (Baron Bullock)

James Joll, Anne Deighton, Niall Ferguson


Burk, Kathleen. The Troublemaker. the life and history of A. J. P. Taylor , New Haven, London : Yale University Press, 2000.

Asa Briggs, The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom, 5 volumes, London: Oxford University Press, 1961-1995.


11. Recent and current history in Cambridge

Regius Professors: Herbert Butterfield, William Chadwick, Geoffrey R. Elton, Patrick Collinson, Quentin Skinner, Richard Evans


The lifetime achievements of Zara S Steiner. New Generation: David Reynolds, David Cannadine (Clare College and beyond), Jonathan Haslam, Brendon Simms
William, Penry. “Dr. Elton’s Interpretation of the Age”, Past and Present, No.25 (Jul. 1963), 3-8.

Steiner, Zara. The Lights That Failed: European international history, 1919-1933, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.


12. The British International History Group:

Michael Dockrill, Zara Steiner, Keith Neilson, Erik Goldstein, Brian McKercher, Gaynor Johnson, Thomas G. Otte, John Charmley, Neville Wylie, Michael Kandiah, Alan Sharp, Anthony Lentin ( www.bihg.ac.uk ) Their conferences and symposia.


Johnson, Gaynor. The Berlin Embassy of Lord D’Abernon, 1920-1926, Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Keith Neilson and Thomas G. Otte. The Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, 1854-1945, New York, London : Routledge, 2009.


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