History and the Enlightenment

“A new generation of readers has come to admire his astonishing verve as a historian: not only a knack for finding lost gems in scattered archives (he is said to have worked easily in eight languages) but also a talent for turning his discoveries into narratives as exotic as Graham Greene and as funny as Evelyn Waugh. Take for example The Hermit of Peking, his 1976 study of Edmund Backhouse – brilliant Sinologist, magnificent philanthropist and incorrigible fibber and fraud: the book could easily hold its own as a comic novel, if it wasn’t in fact a superb feat of historical detection. The same applies, in varying degrees, to dozens of lectures and essays and several book-length works, many of which he preferred not to publish in his lifetime . . . .”

Jonathan Ree reviews Hugh Trevor-Roper’s posthumously published History and the Enlightenment for the New Humanist.

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Published in: on June 15, 2010 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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