Trevelyan, George Macaulay

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Trevelyan, George Macaulay

George Macaulay Trevelyan, 1876–1962, English historian; son of Sir George Otto Trevelyan. Educated at Cambridge, he became professor of modern history there in 1927 and was master of Trinity College from 1940 to 1951. He was a master of the so-called literary school of historical writing, and his reaction against "scientific" history has had tremendous influence. He did not, however, ignore the scientific aspects of historical scholarship; rather he asserted that the historian must elucidate his subject through imaginative speculation, based on all possible evidence, and present it by means of highly developed literary craftsmanship. His most ambitious works are an extended study of Garibaldi (3 vol., 1907–11) and a history of England under Queen Anne (3 vol., 1930–34). He is perhaps better known for his one-volume History of England (1926), his British History in the Nineteenth Century (1922), and England under the Stuarts (1907). Other works include biographies of John Bright (1913), Lord Charles Grey (1920), his father, Sir George Otto Trevelyan (1932), and Lord Grey of Fallodon (1937); The English Revolution, 1688–1689 (1938); English Social History (1942; pub. in an illustrated version in 4 vol., 1949–52); and An Autobiography and Other Essays (1949).

See biography by D. Cannadine (1991); study by J. H. Plumb (1955, repr. 1969).

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