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Fall 2021 catalog cover

The Penn Press list for fall 2021 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

Clarendon and the Rhetoric of Historical Form

Martine Watson Brownley

296 pages | 6 x 9 | 11 illus.
Cloth 1985 | ISBN 9780812279887 | $79.95s | Outside the Americas £64.00
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512803983 | Buy from Combined Academic Publishers £64.00
An Anniversary Collection volume

Clarendon and the Rhetoric of Historical Form is the first major evaluation from a literary point of view of the writings of Edward Hyde, the first Earl of Clarendon and the most important English historiographer of the seventeenth century.

As an early reformer in the Long Parliament, as an adviser to Charles I and Charles II, as the major architect of the Restoration on the Royalist side, and as Lord Chancellor of England from 1660 to 1667, Clarendon played a crucial role in determining the course of English history during and after the tumultuous years of the civil wars. As a historian and a literary stylist, he produced the History of the Rebellion, generally regarded as the greatest historical work written in England during the seventeenth century.

Martine Watson Brownley evaluates Clarendon's literary abilities and achievements, focusing on his prose style, narrative form, and thematic structure on biographical influences on his writing; and on his literary background and associations. She also places Clarendon in the context of the development of English literary historiography during the seventeenth century.

Various political and literary changes—for example, the antiquarian movement, the civil wars, and alterations in English prose and narrative styles—made the seventeenth century a particularly crucial era in the evolution of an English historiography that would lead to historical works which were also classics of literature.

Brownley demonstrates that, through his experiments in style and structure in the History of the Rebellion, and particularly through the imaginative overview which he evolved for and in his work, Clarendon made the most significant advances in English literary historiography before the late eighteenth-century triumvirate of Gibbon, Robertson, and Hume.

Clarendon and the Rhetoric of Historical Form will be valuable to scholars interested in historiography, prose and narrative style, and seventeenth-century literature and history.

Martine Watson Brownley is Goodrich C. White Professor of English, Winship Distinguished Research Professor, and Director of the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University.

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