Overview

Described by his biographer as the author of 'monumental and supreme' histories, Edward Gibbon (1737–94) is widely acknowledged as a major figure of the Enlightenment and the father of modern historical scholarship. However, despite these epithets, the personal life of one of the eighteenth century's most successful authors remains unknown to many of his readers. Published in the first series of English Men of Letters in 1878 (and going into a second edition in the same year), this biography by James Cotter ...

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Gibbon

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Overview

Described by his biographer as the author of 'monumental and supreme' histories, Edward Gibbon (1737–94) is widely acknowledged as a major figure of the Enlightenment and the father of modern historical scholarship. However, despite these epithets, the personal life of one of the eighteenth century's most successful authors remains unknown to many of his readers. Published in the first series of English Men of Letters in 1878 (and going into a second edition in the same year), this biography by James Cotter Morison (1832–88) provides a learned but accessible account of the man who wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Starting with a childhood plagued by ill health and infirmity, and covering Gibbon's time in the militia and travelling on the Grand Tour, Morison leads readers through a life which was apparently unremarkable, but in fact resulted in a work of enduring scholarly achievement.

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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940019549658
  • Publisher: New York, Harper & brothers
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Digitized from 1879 volume
  • File size: 352 KB

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CHAPTER III. IN THE MILITIA. The only person whom, on his return, Gibbon had the least wish to see was his aunt, Catherine Porten. To her house he at once hastened, and " the evening was spent in the effusions of joy and tenderness." He looked forward to his first meeting with his father with no slight anxiety, and that for two reasons. First, his father had parted from him with anger and menace, and he had no idea how he would be received now. Secondly, his mother's place was occupied by a second wife, and an involuntary but strong prejudice possessed him against his step-mother. He was most agreeably disappointed in both respects. His father " received him as a man, as a friend, all constraint was banished at our first interview, and we ever after continued on the same terms of easy and equal politeness." So far the prospect was pleasant. But the step-mother remained a possible obstacle to all comfort at home. He seems to have regarded his father's second marriage as an act of displeasure with himself, and he was disposed to hate the rival of his mother. Gibbon soon found that the injustice was in his own fancy, and the imaginary monster was an amiable and deserving woman. " I could not bemistaken in the first view of her understanding ; her knowledge and the elegant spirit of her conversation, her polite welcome, and her assiduous care to study and gratify my wishes announced at least that the surface would be smooth; and my suspicions of art and falsehood were gradually dispelled by the full discovery of her warm and exquisite sensibility." He became indeed deeply attached to his step-mother. " After some reserve on my side, our minds associated in confidence and friendship,and as Mrs. Gibbon had neither children nor the hopes of children, we more easily adopted the ten...
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Table of Contents

1. Gibbon's early life up to the time of his leaving Oxford; 2. At Lausanne; 3. In the militia; 4. The Italian journey; 5. Literary schemes. The history of Switzerland. Dissertation on the sixth Aeneid. Father's death. Settlement in London; 6. Life in London. Parliament. The Board of Trade. The Decline and Fall. Migration to Lausanne; 7. The first three volumes of The Decline and Fall; 8. The last ten years of his life at Lausanne; 9. The last three volumes of The Decline and Fall; 10. Last illness. Death. Conclusion.

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