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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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The Making of Gibbon’s Miscellaneous Works

The Making of Gibbon’s Miscellaneous Works

(p.335) 9 The Making of Gibbon’s Miscellaneous Works
Gibbon and the 'Watchmen of the Holy City'


Oxford University Press

Gibbon died in 1794, and his literary executor, Lord Sheffield, began the publication of the historian's Miscellaneous Works, comprising the short pieces which Gibbon had published before The Decline and Fall, a selection of hitherto unpublished manuscript works, a conflated text of the Memoirs, and a selection of letters and journal entries. The two-volume first edition of the Miscellaneous Works was published in 1796, when the situation of the war with France seemed bleak. However, a supplementary volume, published in 1814, when the international situation seemed much more promising and when Napoleonic France was on the verge of defeat, placed more of Gibbon's unpublished writings in the public domain, including – crucially – his early writings in French. This chapter analyses the publication of the Miscellaneous Works and shows how the question of Gibbon's reputation exerted an influence even after the death of the historian, as Lord Sheffield decided which of the works of his deceased friend could be placed before the public, and when.

Keywords:   Lord Sheffield, Miscellaneous Works, Napoleonic France

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