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Eighty years have passed since a young Cambridge don named Herbert Butterfield published in a slender volume entitled The Whig. The former Master of Peterhouse, Herbert Butterfield, has become something of a Less a book than a lengthy essay, The Whig Interpretation of History is a. Herbert Butterfield (). The Whig Interpretation of History [All footnotes are editorial; relevant online materials: Butterfield Papers at the Cambridge.

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Lists with This Book. Quotes from The Whig Interpre The Whig historian uses history as a cudgel to advance his own interests while beating down his opponents; the Whig seeks truth in simplicity and progress.

However, his extreme aversion to drawing any moral lessons or even allowing any teleological purpose to the study of history seem to me not only questionable practice but impossible to accomplish. Back intrepretation 21 See Kenyon, p.

Furthermore, in constructing this interpretation historians usually committed anachronisms by seeing the past entirely in terms of the present. I think everyone tends interpreetation read history as evidence of whatever they believe certainly I fall into this often.

Herbert Butterfield

A classic work in historiography. Perhaps one te being too hard on Bentley here; given that this is to all intents and purposes an official biography, one suspects he is trying to straddle two horses at the same time when he writes about this relationship. Put me down as a whig.

Undoubtedly Butterfield said herbsrt stupid things about the political situation in the s and made some misjudgements — but he was hardly alone in this, and, if one wants an example of a card-carrying Nazi sympathiser, one need look no further than Arthur Bryant.

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Ultimately the only man who can answer this question is the subject of this book; and for the foreseeable future he will remain silent. Mar 07, Becky Snow rated it it was amazing. Be the first hhistory ask a question about The Whig Interpretation of History.

The Whig Interpretation of History

Back to 6 Thus, the arch-Tory Bishop Stubbs is seen as one of the great Whig historians on this interpretation. Butterfield is a superb writer, and is obviously learned. It was honestly eye opening despite being almost a century old, and I whkg recommend it to anyone interested in the study of history – it interpretwtion an incredibly short read, and though the prose is sometimes complicated, it is for the most part very engaging.

But at the same time, according to Butterfield, it’s almost as if history is simply descriptive and hfrbert no place in evaluation of the past – for good or bad. The examination of these raises problems concerning the relations between historical research and what is known as general history; concerning the nature of a historical transition and of what might be called the historical process; and also concerning the limits of history as a study, and particularly the attempt of the whig writers to gain from it a finality that it cannot give.

The Whig Interpretation of History – Herbert Butterfield – Google Books

In he was elected to the chair of Modern History, and from — he was master of Peterhouse, as well as holding the vice-chancellorship of the university between and Views Read Edit View history. Influences Harold Temperley [1].


Rather, he jumps to weak conclusions to prove some belief that is irrelevant to what actually happened.

Essays on Media and Society James W. Easily readable in an evening and best consumed whole, Herbert Butterfield’s book is a wonderful indictment of the historical meta-narratives that are typical of ‘Whig’ historians.

InButterfield was awarded the University Member’s Prize for English Essay, writing on the subject of English novelist Charles Dickens and the way in which the author straddled the fields of history and literature. Less a book than a lengthy essay, The Whig Interpretation of History is a curious affair. After the war the emphasis reversed: At the same time Butterfield was writing on science, he was addressing the subject of religion.

He is right to decry the simplified, inter;retation, progressive Whiggish history.

Feb 07, Aurora Dimitre rated it liked it Shelves: A series of lectures given at the behest of the religious faculty at Cambridge was published in as Christianity and Historya book which went on to sell 30, copies in four years. However, from a historical point of view, history again is simply a recollection of facts put into a story.

Sep 12, Justin Daniel rated it it was amazing Shelves: Upon his death doctors found that he possessed only one functioning kidney; the other having been shrivelled since birth.

After Butterfield increasingly turned to wgig study of historiography.