Memory, Uses of the Past, and the New History
Reformers in England saw losses as well as gains in the Reformation. John Leland and John Bale recorded the contents of monastic libraries. Matthew Parker recovered manuscripts from the past. The Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries, comprised of lawyers, scholars, and country gentlemen, developed methods of ascertaining accurate information about the past. William Camden, the author of Annals of Elizabeth (1615, Latin) and Britannia (1586, Latin), wrote a new kind of history: dispassionate, based on reliable evidence, and concerned with changes in society. Fifty years after Camden’s lifetime, Thomas Fuller followed methods and approaches that the antiquaries and their successors employed, while developing ideas very much his own.
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