The introduction rethinks three long-standing narratives about the nature of British historical writing from 1770 to 1845. The first narrative concerns the widely held belief that the relationship between history and literature was open and porous, resulting in a period of epistemological innocence marred only by encroaching disciplinary transformations and the increasing professionalization of history. The second narrative relates to the exclusion of literary texts from accounts of the ‘rise of historicism’ and the birth of the modern historical method, despite obvious parallels between the rise of the historical novel and that of a new historical consciousness. The third narrative concerns the characterization of ‘Romantic’ history as a subjective and emotionally charged reaction to philosophic history and other Enlightenment modes of representing the past, thereby eliding a far more varied and complex set of Romantic historiographical agendas and representative practices based on newly expanded definitions of Romanticism and its periodicity.
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