The History of the Worthies of England
Fuller’s History of the Worthies of England (1662), the first biographical dictionary in England, was published after his death. Fuller relied heavily on books and documents, but he also traveled widely, interviewing the most knowledgeable persons he could find and gaining knowledge first-hand of his country’s commodities, enterprises, buildings, and natural features. The work is organized on a county-by-county basis, and the notable individuals are listed in chronological, rather than alphabetical order. The result is a treatment of notable persons across many centuries in the context of the social, economic, political, and cultural contexts in which they lived. Fuller saw England as distinguished in many ways by industriousness and ingenuity as well as by a concern for the common good. The Worthies is one of the most original historical works in early modern England and is unexcelled as an analysis of the society that Fuller and his contemporaries knew.
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