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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 3: 1400-1800$
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José Rabasa, Masayuki Sato, Edoardo Tortarolo, and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199219179.001.0001

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Historical Writing in Britain from the Late Middle Ages to the Eve of Enlightenment

Historical Writing in Britain from the Late Middle Ages to the Eve of Enlightenment

(p.473) Chapter 23 Historical Writing in Britain from the Late Middle Ages to the Eve of Enlightenment
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Daniel Woolf

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines historical writing in Britain. It suggests three phases for the principal developments of the period from 1400 about 1740. The first phase, from 1400 to about 1550, is dominated by dynastic and nationalist themes inherited from the royal/baronial and monarchical/papal struggles of the Later Middle Ages. A ‘Late Renaissance and Reformation’ phase, c.1540–1660, is governed by the religious tensions that climaxed in rebellion in both kingdoms. In the third phase, a ‘Restoration and Early Eighteenth Century’ phase, ending about 1740, historical writing adjusted itself to the permanent presence of ideological division; to the reality of a multi-denominational kingdom in England and of a Scotland increasingly dependent upon its wealthier southern neighbour; and to the tastes of a broader and more demanding readership.

Keywords:   British historical writing, late Renaissance, Reformation, England, Scotland, dynastic historiography, nationalistic historiography

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