Essays Presented to Sir Lewis Namier

Essays Presented to Sir Lewis Namier

Essays Presented to Sir Lewis Namier

Essays Presented to Sir Lewis Namier

Excerpt

The essays in this volume have been written to express the admiration which historians feel for the work of Sir Lewis Namier. Their range, from the parliaments of Oliver Cromwell to the European diplomacy of the twentieth century, is evidence of the wide fields which Sir Lewis has covered. Some of the writers are his contemporaries; some have been his colleagues at Manchester or in journalism. All wish to acknowledge the debt that they owe to his help, his example and his ideas.

The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, his first great work, marked an epoch. It gave a new look to a century of British history, and established a method of studying past politics which has been applied fruitfully for other periods. Sir Lewis turned from what politicians said to what they did and who they were. He composed his picture from the biographical details of countless forgotten figures. The political history of England has been permanently reshaped; and its study will continue to bear the stamp of Sir Lewis Namier's inspiration.

This work would have occupied the life of a lesser man; but Sir Lewis has had an equally powerful influence in other fields. Equipped with a personal knowledge of east-central Europe and with a rare command of languages, he has given a new perspective to the liberal and national movements of modern Europe, especially during the revolutions of 1848. Nor has he arrested his attention at the nineteenth century. He has shown that a historian can write with the same accuracy and detachment about events that are strictly contemporary; and his study of the diplomatic origins of the Second World War set a standard that will not easily be surpassed. In every field, he has combined rigid attention . . .

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