Samuel Rawson Gardiner [1829-1902] is the colossus of seventeenth-century historiography. His twenty-volume history of Britain from 1603 to 1656 and his many editions of key texts still serve to underpin almost all study of the Civil Wars and of the Commonwealth and Protectorate. Yet, despite his importance, his work has often been reduced by historians of historiography to simple caricature, in which his personal politics and his denominational allegiances got the better of his worthy empiricism. This book seeks to challenge the inadequate view of him and his work, offering a rich contextualisation by locating his writings within a wide range of literary and philosophical milieux, British and continental European. In so doing it not only suggests new ways of looking at Victorian historiography in general, but also proposes a new approach to the growing history of historical writing.
Mark Nixon is an independent scholar and museum curator.