The following study deals with “the whig interpretation of history” in what I conceive to be the accepted meaning of the phrase. At least it covers all that is. [All footnotes are editorial; relevant online materials: Butterfield Papers at the Cambridge University Library; E. Royle, The “Whig” Interpretation of History and its. His most widely known work is still The Whig Interpretation of History. saw the publication of the book Butterfield is most associated with. Less a book than.

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John Bird rated it really liked it Oct 18, Of course Butterfield would not be the first practising historian to struggle with the world of conceptualising historical practise. Butterfield spends too much space up front arguing that historians shouldn’t seek out the origins of or analogies to current phenomena, but instead should point out the differentness of the past in order to make it comprehensible to us.

Though Whig historians are no longer in the ascendency, this is a good antidote for reading history as if it were a story that leads to your particular view of the present.

The work, The Historical Novelhas not aged well. I think he underestimates the inevitability and, indeed, desirability of origins stories. Butterfield’s main interests were historiographythe history of science18th century constitutional history, Christianity and history as well as the theory of international politics. Feb 07, Buttercield Dimitre rated it liked it Shelves: Back to 7 J.


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The Whig Interpretation of History

Jul 05, Miles Smith rated it liked it Shelves: He needed a new publication, and quickly. Open Preview See a Problem? Excellent analysis of Whig history–that is, defining the past in terms of the present.

Fair enough, but I’m willing to step out and make the claim that Pol Pot was a wicked man.

Having dished the Whig interpretation less than 15 years earlier, Butterfield now seemed to have performed a volte-face. Christianity, diplomacy and war.

Eliohs – Butterfield – The Whig Interpretation of History – Contents

I strongly agree with much of this, but I’m not sure the intrrpretation starts out on the right track. Butterfield was a devout Christian and reflected at length on Christian influences in historical perspectives. It weighs in at pages, however, Butterfield claimed that this constituted less than half of his original manuscript.

The Whig Interpretation did not refer to Whig intsrpretation, but to the 19th-century interpretation of history as one long triumphant march of progress. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. This is imposing a 21st century view of equality onto a people group several generations back. Rather, he jumps to weak conclusions to prove some belief that is irrelevant to what actually happened. Butterfield is a superb writer, and is obviously learned. Butterfield also captures a very intriguing aspect of historical study in his comment that: This book reminded me of why I love history so much: Take another example in the Civil Rights Movement.


Jan 10, Eb Daniels rated it it was amazing.

The Whig Interpretation of History by Herbert Butterfield

Use has been made of words like conjuncture and contingency to describe what appear as such to the observer and to the historian. Perhaps Bentley felt that inyerpretation nearly pages such a tail-end was unnecessary.

Ms Malin Dahlstrom NA. Interoretation is right that knowledge of this relationship should be included in a biography, but aside from telling us the fact that Peace Tactics of Napoleon was completed seven years before hisstory was published, it does not really tell us anything new about Butterfield the historian.

At the same time, Butterfield’s early works emphasized the limits of a historian’s moral conclusions, “If history can do anything it is to remind us that all our judgments are merely relative to time and circumstance”.

Bentley goes to great lengths to exonerate Butterfield from the charge of being a fellow-traveller — more than is necessary I suspect. This is a must-read for all historians. Return to Book Page.