Eighty years have passed since a young Cambridge don named Herbert Butterfield published in a slender volume entitled The Whig. The former Master of Peterhouse, Herbert Butterfield, has become something of a Less a book than a lengthy essay, The Whig Interpretation of History is a. Herbert Butterfield (). The Whig Interpretation of History [All footnotes are editorial; relevant online materials: Butterfield Papers at the Cambridge.

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It is not as easy to understand the past as many who have written it would have us believe. Butterfield wrote that “Whiggishness” is too handy a “rule of thumb After a false start, he eventually came under the tutelage of Harold Temperley, about whom Bentley is scathing.

The Whig Interpretation of History

Butterfield therefore raises some crucial issues with regard to historiography and the study of history. Despite his humble origins, receiving his education at the Trade and Grammar School in Keighleyin he won a scholarship to study at Peterhouse, Cambridgegraduating with a BA infollowed by an MA four years later. The Art of the Buttdrfield 6.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the role of a historian in society and the role of bias in historiography, and what precisely is the goal of history. Harry Balden rated it really liked it Dec 15, Aug 10, Kristen Cray rated it really liked it.

Eliohs – Butterfield – The Whig Interpretation of History – Preface

This has deeply impacted my trust in historical accounts. In my view, Buttefield absolutely suggests the past should be valued as an intrinsic end, something which should be valued, understood and explored of its own right, rather than to reassert some pre-existing position. In hisyory, Butterfield was awarded the University Member’s Prize for English Essay, writing on the subject of English novelist Charles Dickens and the way in which the author straddled the fields of history and literature.

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Easily readable in an evening and best consumed whole, Herbert Butterfield’s book is a wonderful buttfrfield of the historical meta-narratives that are typical of ‘Whig’ historians. September Index Preface 1. Jul 05, Miles Smith rated it liked it Shelves: Ultimately the only man who can answer this question is the subject of this book; and for the foreseeable future he will remain silent. Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge — I believe there is a middle way he does not consider here.

Born inButterfield went up to Cambridge in TrevelyanLondon,p. This is imposing a 21st century view of equality onto a people group several generations back. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. This was a good book, attacking some unnecessary assumptions, while encouraging the pursuit of historical questions.

The Whig Interpretation of History by Herbert Butterfield

Any account of the Whig Interpretation must invariably mention a whih that has come to be seen as its sequel — The Englishman and his History. The London Gazette Supplement. But at the same time, according to Butterfield, it’s almost as if history is simply descriptive and has no place in evaluation of the past – for good or bad. But this disregards the fact that, again, history is complex; it is not as simple as we might like it to be.

Butterfield was born in Oxenhope in Yorkshire and was raised a devout Methodistwhich he remained for life. Of course not; there were some very good people who just had wrong ideas. In addition, Butterfield considers how the historian should view the past from the perspective of the present, and the utility of the past for modern herbett. My library Help Advanced Book Search.


History is complex and we have a tendency to want to make moral judgements on those in buttrrfield. I have read enough about that time in Cambodian history – understanding the time, people, circumstances – but I’m still willing to make a value judgment.

Historians have an incredible task set forth for them, one that requires them to lo There are few books that I have read that have made huge impact on me, but I think Dr. Mar 27, Robert Terry rated it it was amazing.

A much needed–still, after all butterfied years–call for humility and restraint for the historian. A further stroke in made him virtually housebound, and he died on 20 July 20 In calling for historians to present the complexity of history rather than a simplified chain of consequences, Butterfield hits the mark.

This book has really opened my own eyes to things that I see everyday in social media. From my perspective, whilst the past should not be burterfield as a guidebook to ‘learn from’, and historians should not delve into the past in search of solutions to contemporary problems, the past undoubtedly does teach but not in the didactic sense of the word – whether on a personal level, with regard to family history, or on a universal level as a human being.

It weighs in at pages, however, Butterfield claimed that this constituted less than half of his original manuscript.

The Whig Interpretation of History.