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The Transformation of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Overview

David Womersley's book investigates Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire as both a work of literature and a work of history, examining its style and irony, tracing its classical and French sources, and highlighting the importance of its composition in three instalments over a period of twenty years. Dr Womersley discusses each of these instalments in detail, plotting the work's transformation from conception to completion, and relating this to the achievements and limitations of the ...

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Overview

David Womersley's book investigates Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire as both a work of literature and a work of history, examining its style and irony, tracing its classical and French sources, and highlighting the importance of its composition in three instalments over a period of twenty years. Dr Womersley discusses each of these instalments in detail, plotting the work's transformation from conception to completion, and relating this to the achievements and limitations of the philosophic historiography which Gibbon inherited from Montesquieu and Hume, but finally discarded. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire emerges from this study as a work more flexible in its sympathies and surprising in its judgements than has hitherto been granted, while the magnitude of Gibbon's achievement as a stylist, historian and thinker is brought into sharper focus.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Part 1. The historiographic milieu: 1. Montesquieu's Considerations; 2. Hume; Part II. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: 3. Introduction; Volume I - 1776: 4. Style; 5. Augustus; 6. Tacitus; 7. Narrative; 8. Chapters XV and XVI; Volumes II and III - 1781; 9. 'The more rational ignorance of the man'; 10. Julian the Apostate; 11. Ammianus Marcellinus; 12. 'The nice and secret springs of action'; Volumes IV, V and VI - 1788; 13. 'A dead uniformity of abject vices'; 14. Structure; 15. 'Not a system, but a series'; 16. 'A keener glance' 17. Realising the past; 18. 'The wide and various prospect of desolation'.

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