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Walter Ralegh's History of the World and the Historical Culture of the Late Renaissance

Nicholas Popper

4 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0226675009 / ISBN 13: 9780226675008
Published by The University of Chicago Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Walter Ralegh's History of the World and the...

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title

Synopsis:

Imprisoned in the Tower of London after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, Sir Walter Ralegh spent the next seven years producing his massive "History of the World". Created with the aid of a library of more than five hundred books he was allowed to keep in his quarters, this incredible work of English vernacular would become a best-seller, with nearly twenty editions, abridgments, and continuations issued in the years that followed. Nicholas Popper uses Ralegh's History as a touchstone in this lively exploration of the culture of history writing and historical thinking in the late Renaissance. From Popper we learn why early modern Europeans ascribed heightened value to the study of the past and how scholars and statesmen began to see historical expertise as not just a foundation for political practice and theory, but a means of advancing their power in the courts and councils of contemporary Europe. The rise of historical scholarship during this period encouraged the circulation of its methods to other disciplines, transforming Europe's intellectual - and political - regimes. More than a mere study of Ralegh's book, Popper's book reveals how the methods historians devised to illuminate the past structured the dynamics of early modernity in Europe and England.

Review:

"This deeply researched and insightful study of Ralegh's motivations and methods in composing his "History of the World" sheds vivid new light not only on Ralegh and his providential interpretation of the past, but also on the central place of history in early modern European political counsel and practice. Popper guides us with admirable lucidity and expertise through early modern debates on chronology, geography, and methodology at a time when new sources and experiences were unsettling traditional authorities and received opinion."
--Ann Blair "author of Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age "

"In this learned, lively and original book, Nicholas Popper offers a detailed and penetrating analysis of Walter Ralegh's historical ideas and practices. At the same time, he recreates the larger world of Renaissance historical culture, and he sets Ralegh's work into its context in a way that brilliantly illuminates both."
--Anthony Grafton "author of Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West "

"Sir Walter Ralegh took five hundred books with him when he went to prison in the Tower of London. While confined he used that library to write a history of the world that has been read ever since. Nicholas Popper imaginatively followed in Ralegh's intellectual footsteps to produce the subtlest and most in-depth analysis of the "History "that has yet been written. History mattered in early modern England and this book shows us why."--Peter C. Mancall "University of Southern California "

"This is historical scholarship at its most edifying and satisfying. Nicholas Popper paints a vivid picture of Ralegh as explorer not of distant lands but of remote times, putting a staggering range of ancient texts to the service of pressing needs--personal, national, and international. An exemplary history of an exemplary history."
--William Sherman "author of Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England "

"In this learned, lively, and original book, Nicholas Popper offers a detailed and penetrating analysis of Walter Ralegh's historical ideas and practices. At the same time, he recreates the larger world of Renaissance historical culture, and he sets Ralegh's work into its context in a way that brilliantly illuminates both."
--Anthony Grafton "author of Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West "

This is historical scholarship at its most edifying and satisfying. Nicholas Popper paints a vivid picture of Ralegh as explorer not of distant lands but of remote times, putting a staggering range of ancient texts to the service of pressing needs--personal, national, and international. An exemplary history of an exemplary history.
--William Sherman "author of Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England ""

"At long last, a truly comprehensive analysis of the most ambitious universal history both sacred and profane envisaged in Early Modern England. Armed with a thorough familiarity with the sources upon which Sir Walter Ralegh drew, as well as with a keen appreciation of the centrality of history to early modern culture, Nicholas Popper s masterful examination of the context and content of the "History of the World" is destined to become the standard account."
--Mordechai Feingold "author of The Newtonian Moment: Isaac Newton and the Making of Modern Culture ""

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