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The Organisation of Knowledge in Victorian Britain$
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Martin Daunton

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263266

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263266.001.0001

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Chapter Eight The Evolution and Dissemination of Historical Knowledge

Chapter Eight The Evolution and Dissemination of Historical Knowledge

(p.173) Chapter Eight: Chapter Eight The Evolution and Dissemination of Historical Knowledge
The Organisation of Knowledge in Victorian Britain

Michael Bentley

British Academy

This chapter discusses the nature and development of historical knowledge and understanding in Victorian Britain. It describes the pervasive tendencies within the period as a whole with respect to what needed to be taught and learned. Historians preserved an eighteenth-century tradition throughout the 1820s — the parliamentary history and Catholic vision of English history from the Romans to the Glorious Revolution. Narratives concentrated on the Norman conquest, Magna Carta, the reign of Henry VII, the seventeenth-century constitution, the English Civil War and the apotheosis of whiggery in the eighteenth century. Later versions faltered in face of the need to demonstrate deeper knowledge of events and a denser narrative texture. Thereafter, histories of England, written in the grand manner and across many centuries, petered out until after the turn of the century, and prompted treatments of more modern periods.

Keywords:   historical knowledge, Victorian Britain, Glorious Revolution, Norman conquest, Magna Carta, Henry VII, English Civil War

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