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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Back to 4 J. It is possible to interprftation an origins story for aesthetic purposes — and, I would argue, bringing the present into question may be the historian’s most important task. This is a must-read for all historians.

Herbert Butterfield – Wikipedia

But the history of science was not one triumphant march towards greater knowledge of nature, a fact both Butterfield and Kuhn recognised. Buutterfield might say, surely this is an attempt to study the part without reference to the whole. Jun 30, Mike Horne rated it it was amazing. I think buttterfield tends to read history as evidence of whatever they believe certainly I fall into this often.

Jan 10, Eb Daniels rated it it was amazing. Books by Herbert Butterfield. September Index Preface 1. However, Butterfield does not seem to contradict the idea that the past may offer some use, perhaps through exposing human nature or the power of chance? This was actually the second time I read this — first was back in ’93 but seemed like a good time to re-read it after finishing volume two butterfleld Macaulay’s History of England from the Accession of James the Secondand it’s a quick read.

Herbert Butterfield

To ask other readers questions about The Whig Interpretation of Historyplease sign up. Aug 23, Lee Belbin rated it really liked it. It is easy to see why this little book is such an influential text for historians. The work, The Historical Novelhas not aged well.


The Whig Interpretation of History

Butterfield seems to argue that we cannot butterfifld historical events or figures because we have to understand them in herberg time, not our own. I strongly agree with much of this, but I’m not sure the book starts out on the right track. Butterfield spends too much space up front arguing that historians shouldn’t seek out the origins of or analogies to current phenomena, but instead should point out the differentness of the past in order to make it comprehensible to us.

We are all of us exultant and unrepentant whigs. The then-Regius professor sent Butterfield the Fox papers which had been in his care suggesting that Butterfield might like to write a biography of him — not the sort of invitation one declined. In other butferfield she is a harlot and a hireli Everyone interested in history should read this very short book. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I don’t know how I feel about history. Butterfield is a superb writer, and is obviously learned.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Like much of Butterfield’s work elegant and teasing – you think its saying something important but you’re not quite sure what it actually is. The Reconstruction of an Historical Episode: In its place, Butterfield seeks to establish a view of history which focuses upon how conflict and compromise produced the mediating forces which caused history to develop and move forward, not towards some shining point of enlightenment, but instead to move forward from the trials of the past to build a viable future; Butterfield seeks truth in complexity and survival.


Despite his humble origins, receiving his education at the Trade and Grammar School in Keighleyin he won a scholarship to study at Peterhouse, Cambridgegraduating with a BA infollowed by an MA four years later.

George III and the historians. Back to 7 J.

Eliohs – Butterfield – The Whig Interpretation of History – Contents

Jul 02, Heather rated it liked it Shelves: Carey No preview available – Moral Judgements in History. His Christian beliefs in personal sin, salvation, and providence heavily influenced his writings, a fact he freely admitted.

In other projects Wikiquote Wikisource. The Whig approach therefore acts perhaps as an extreme symbol of this bias, and a warning of how history can be distorted when we fail to remain aware of our personal inclinations which may affect our work. I began by thinking I would agree completely with him, in the middle thought I disagreed entirely, and by the end decided he is right about many things but is sti It is easy to see why this little book is such an influential text for historians.

It is the essence of what we mean by the word “unhistorical”.

Historians have an incredible task set forth for them, one that requires them to lo There are few books that Interpretatin have read that have made huge impact on me, but I think Dr. One issue of constant consternation is the basis of our own country: I think he underestimates the inevitability and, indeed, desirability of origins stories.

The Historical Process 4. The Origins of History.