Gibbon and the 'Watchmen of the Holy City': The Historian and His Reputation, 1776-1815

Front Cover
Gibbon was unabashed in acknowledging that his career as an historian was fuelled by a desire for fame, and the success of The Decline and Fall indeed furnished him with 'a name, a rank, a character, in the World' to which he would not otherwise have been entitled. Eventually this publicreputation was pleasing to him, and nourished his innocent vanity. Initially, however, it was a reputation he resented, and was determined to resist. In particular, the denunciation by the spokesmen for religious orthodoxy of Gibbon's treatment of Christianity was (so Gibbon contended) a viciousmisrepresentation.The subject of this book is the story of the conflict between Gibbon and those he mockingly dubbed the 'Watchmen of the Holy City', and it explores the ramifications of an elusive aspect of authorship. By considering the sequence of interactions between the historian and his readership, Womersleymakes possible a more intimate understanding of what might be called Gibbon's experience of himself. At the same time he deepens our knowledge of the conditions of English authorship during the later decades of the eighteenth and the early decades of the nineteenth centuries, from the opening of thewar with the American colonies, down to the successful conclusion of the wars with revolutionary and Napoleonic France.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Appendices
1
THE HISTORIAN AND HIS REPUTATION
11
Revision and Religion
35
Gibbons Vindication
43
Gibbon and Mahomet
147
s Gibbons Unfinished History
175
Autobiography in Time of Revolution
207
Three
241
Fourteen months the most barren and unprofitable of
257
The Making of Gibbons Miscellaneous Works
335
Conclusion
364
Bibliography
428
Index
446
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2002)

David Womersley is an Official Fellow and Tutor in English Literature, Jesus College, Oxford.

Bibliographic information