From the late fifteenth century onwards, scholars across Europe began to write books about how to read and evaluate histories. These pioneering works grew from complex early modern debates about law, religion and classical scholarship. Anthony Grafton's book is based on his Trevelyan Lectures of 2005, and it proves to be a powerful and imaginative exploration of some central themes in the history of European ideas. Grafton explains why so many of these works were written, why they attained so much insight - and why, in the centuries that followed, most scholars gradually forgot that they had existed. Elegant and accessible, What Was History? is a deliberate evocation of E. H. Carr's celebrated Trevelyan Lectures, What Is History?.
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