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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 28 January 2022

William of Newburgh

William of Newburgh

History and Interpretation

(p.82) 5 William of Newburgh
The Historians of Angevin England

Michael Staunton

Oxford University Press

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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