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Gibbon and the 'Watchmen of the Holy City'The Historian and his Reputation, 1776-1815$
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David Womersley

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187332.001.0001

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Gibbon and the 'Watchmen of the Holy City'


Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter sets out the general subject of the book and illustrates Gibbon's evolving relationship with his reader by analysing changes in the footnotes to The Decline and Fall as it moves through its three instalments (published in 1776, 1781, and 1788). These changes in the style of the footnotes are related to the historian's increasingly deft management of his reputation. The final paragraphs describe and defend the deliberately promiscuous methodology of the book.

Keywords:   Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall, reputation, footnotes, serial publication, scholarly methodology

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