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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 5: Historical Writing Since 1945$
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Axel Schneider and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199225996.001.0001

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British Historical Writing

British Historical Writing

(p.291) Chapter 14 British Historical Writing
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Michael Bentley

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies British historical writing, tracing its transformations from the end of the war—when, arguably, much of the late nineteenth-century empiricist agenda was still intact, and political history continued to dominate—through signal events such as the founding of a new journal of radical historiography called Past and Present (1952), to the advent of neoconservatism in the 1980s, the puffing up and eventual bursting of the bubble of Franco-American-style quantification, and the advent of the cultural turn. Intertwined in the narratives of structural evolution, as well as generational narratives, one might see another in the growing presence of technology as a force impelling historical method and providing new ways of disseminating research. By 1995, many of Britain’s most successful historians defined themselves as ‘public intellectuals’ or tele-dons commanding a wide audience in ways that no one could have dreamed of in 1945.

Keywords:   British historical writing, radical historiography, neoconservatism, cultural turn, technology, public intellectuals, British historiography

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