Whig Historiography

(511 words)
  • Mark Nixon (University of Reading)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

In 1931 Herbert Butterfield published a short essay under the title The Whig Interpretation of History. Although a recognition of the political uses to which history had been put by Whigs (in the political sense) was a commonplace in critical historiography, Butterfield attempted to delineate an approach to historical writing that was not, strictly speaking, a reference to a political ideology. There were a number of elements to Butterfield's critique of this style of history-writing, not least of which was an absolute rejection of the idea of seeing history in present terms and from present conceptual positions: the historian must understand a period or moment through the ideas and concepts of those who lived (in) it. This, …

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Citation:
Nixon, Mark. "Whig Historiography". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 March 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1205, accessed 18 December 2014.]