Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper 1914–2003

Blair Worden

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 150 Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, VI

Published by British Academy

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264232
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734243 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper 1914–2003

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Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper has been called both a Whig and a Tory historian, a distinction he shares, perhaps fittingly, with Hume. He was a Whig insofar as he believed in a plural, liberal society, in constitutional checks and balances, and in social counterweights to centres of power. He was a Tory insofar as he recognised the power of traditional institutions, if they are kept up to the mark, to channel constructive human characteristics and restrain destructive ones. However, neither the Whig nor the Tory label, nor any other, captures Trevor-Roper's idiosyncratic essence. In everything he was his own man. The historians of Trevor-Roper's own time whom he most admired were not the panjandrums of the academic community but figures eccentric to it, whom he discovered for himself: above all Gerald Brenan and Frances Yates, neither of whom had been trained as a historian.

Keywords: historian; biography; obituary

Chapter.  16917 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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