Eighty years have passed since a young Cambridge don named Herbert Butterfield published in a slender volume entitled The Whig. The former Master of Peterhouse, Herbert Butterfield, has become something of a Less a book than a lengthy essay, The Whig Interpretation of History is a. Herbert Butterfield (). The Whig Interpretation of History [All footnotes are editorial; relevant online materials: Butterfield Papers at the Cambridge.

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At the time however, its merits were enough to convince the Master of Peterhouse to elect Butterfield to a History Fellowship alongside Temperley and Paul Vellacott.

The Whig Interpretation of History – Herbert Butterfield – Google Books

The London Gazette Supplement. Nathan rated it really liked it Jan 14, I think he underestimates the inevitability and, indeed, desirability of origins stories. Great quote from the book. Butterfield thought individual personalities more important than great systems of government or economics in historical study. In other projects Wikiquote Wikisource.

Herbert Butterfield

Butterfield turned increasingly to historiography and man’s developing butterfiwld of the past. Ms Malin Dahlstrom NA. Butterfield argues that historians should write aesthetically rather than polemically, exercising “imaginative sympathy” in appreciating the lost worlds of the dead rather than seeking or expecting the vindication of their own current positions.

A classic work in historiography. Lists with This Book.

He needed a new publication, and quickly. Obama was reaching for a similar point on Monday, emphasizing as President Obama often does that the strengths of the United States spring in part from its ugly, painful past. In The Whig Interpretation of History, Herbert Butterfield presages the hyper-political and hyper-moralizing nature of modern history and historiography, in which the past is measured by the present and history is shown as a linear evolution towards progress.

Butterfield seems to argue that we cannot judge historical events or figures because we have to understand them in their time, not our own. Butterfield wrote that “Whiggishness” is too handy a “rule of thumb What is discussed is the tendency in many historians to write on the side of Protestants and Whigs, to praise revolutions provided they have been successful, to emphasize certain principles of progress in the past and to produce a story which is the ratification if not the glorification of the present.


As mentioned above, the post-war period was a productive period for Butterfield. Butterfield’s book Christianity and Historyasks if history provides answers to the meaning of life, answering in the negative: Easily readable in an evening and best consumed whole, Herbert Butterfield’s book is a wonderful indictment of the historical meta-narratives that are typical of ‘Whig’ historians.

Back to 11 According to J. Butterfield was a devout Christian and reflected at length on Christian influences in historical perspectives.

intefpretation Back to 22 September In calling for historians to present the complexity of history rather than a simplified chain of consequences, Butterfield hits the mark.

Jul 26, Daniel Jones rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Wikiquote has quotations related to: This page was last edited on 14 Juneat Of course Butterfield would not be the first bbutterfield historian to struggle with the world of conceptualising historical practise.

Perhaps one is being too hard on Bentley here; given that this is hisfory all intents and purposes an official biography, one suspects he is trying to straddle two horses at the same time when he writes about this relationship. He was knighted in A much needed–still, after all these years–call for humility and restraint for the historian. Butterfield was born in Oxenhope in Yorkshire and was raised a devout Methodistwhich he remained for life.

To me, this was a statement in favor of history’s independence from the dominance The Whig Interpretation of History. I’m not an historian so I’m not sure I actually understood everything that the author discusses. The subject is treated not as a problem in the philosophy of history, but rather as o aspect of the psychology of historians.


Trivia About The Whig Interpre However, from a historical point of view, history again is simply a recollection of facts put into a story. Butterfield was a devout Christian an Sir Herbert Fhe was a British historian and philosopher of history who is remembered chiefly for two books—a short volume early in his career entitled The Whig Interpretation of History and his Origins of Modern Science Despite his humble butyerfield, receiving his education at the Trade and Grammar School in Keighleyin he won a scholarship to study at Peterhouse, Cambridgegraduating with a BA infollowed by an MA four years later.

Ultimately the only man who can answer this question is the subject of this book; intwrpretation for the foreseeable future he will remain silent.

The Life and Thought of Herbert Butterfield | Reviews in History

He looks for agency in history. Wbig 01, Christopher McCaffery rated it liked it. The ideas discussed within this essay are at times very similar perhaps not as a coincidence to those discussed in Evans’ ‘In Defence of History’, although the two essays were written roughly 60 years apart. But the history of science was not one triumphant march towards greater knowledge of nature, a fact both Butterfield and Kuhn recognised.

The Whig Interpretation of History

Back to 7 J. Nov 14, Allan Williams rated it really liked it Shelves: Christianity in European History. Jan 05, Usha Chilukuri rated it really liked it.

Aug 28, Vicky P rated it it was amazing Shelves: Any account of the Whig Interpretation must invariably mention a book that has come to be seen as its sequel — The Englishman and his History. Butterfield saw an alarming trend in histories being written at that time.

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