Abstract

Abstract:

This article examines the manner in which Edward Gibbon attempted to mold his public image for posterity, while writing and rewriting the various versions of his autobiography. It highlights Gibbon's attempts to anticipate the critical reading of his memoirs and fashion his public image, not least regarding his attitude toward religion. It also discusses, in this context, his views on the proper manner of writing history, and how they developed throughout his intellectual career, and specifically in relation to his great historical work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This assessment of Gibbon is then used to criticize the "historicist" critique of Enlightenment historiography, which has blamed Gibbon and other Enlightenment historians for being improperly subjective in discussing past eras. In contrast with this view, the modernity of Enlightenment historiography is emphasized.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-9247
Print ISSN
1565-3668
Pages
pp. 1-22
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-18
Open Access
No
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