One of us? William Camden and the making of history

Patrick Collinson

in This England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084423
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702031 | DOI:
One of us? William Camden and the making of history

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One of the best-informed essays on William Camden was written by its quondam president, Sir Maurice Powicke. As Powicke reminds us, Camden was a cosmopolitan. So to ask whether he was one of the many is to face a paradox. Yet it was with Camden's works that this insular detachment began. The translations of Britannia and of his Annales of Elizabeth, not translations which he undertook personally, served to create an educated rather than learned English readership which appropriated his scholarship and turned it into a piece of English apartness, exceptionality and self-discovery. The philology of his Britannia may have been ‘pitiful’.But then, the foundations of historical criticism were not yet laid. What Camden did was to help to create the atmosphere in which they could be laid.

Keywords: Annales; Elizabeth; Maurice Powicke; historical criticism; William Camden; Britannia

Chapter.  12726 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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