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The Historians of Angevin England$
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Michael Staunton

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769965

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198769965.001.0001

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William of Newburgh

William of Newburgh

History and Interpretation

Chapter:
(p.82) 5 William of Newburgh
Source:
The Historians of Angevin England
Author(s):

Michael Staunton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198769965.003.0005

This chapter looks at the work of William of Newburgh, one of the most highly acclaimed of medieval English historians. William’s work has been praised for its critical approach to historical evidence, and noted for its reflective nature, so that it has often been seen as a commentary on recent events. Here the character of his interpretive approach is examined, focusing on his ideas of historical causation. Also addressed here is the question of the edificatory nature of William’s work, and of contemporary historiography in general. It is argued that, while William was certainly aware of the moral lessons that history taught, his first task was to use the moral lessons taught by earlier historians, theologians, and other writers, as a means by which recent events could be interpreted.

Keywords:   historiography, William of Newburgh, historical causation, recent events, historical evidence, moral lessons

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