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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 4: 1800-1945$
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Stuart Macintyre, Juan Maiguashca, and Attila Pók

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199533091

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199533091.001.0001

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Shape and Pattern in British Historical Writing, 1815–1945

Shape and Pattern in British Historical Writing, 1815–1945

(p.204) Chapter 10 Shape and Pattern in British Historical Writing, 1815–1945
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Michael Bentley

Oxford University Press

This chapter states that British historical writing has no shape, that there exists no pattern beyond the randomness of spontaneous authorship and occasional moments of involuntary intertextuality. A principal tool in approaching British historiography should be a rejection of the historiographical exercise as simply descriptive bibliography, a corresponding move in the direction of an explanatory account of when, how, and why images of the British past underwent transformation at the hands of its historians. This chapter also talks about the diverging pattern of expectation within British historiography in the 19th century which it states hangs on a contested understanding of what place history should play in framing its audiences' understanding of a nation and state.

Keywords:   British historical writing, British historiography, historiographical exercise, bibliography, British past, historians

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