1848: the revolution of the intellectuals

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Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press, Mar 12, 1992 - History - 124 pages
This famous essay is now republished, with a new Introduction by James Joll, at a time when its discussion of the power of nationalism in European politics seems particularly relevant. Concentrating on the revolutions in central and eastern Europe, and the relations of Germans, Poles, and Slavs, Namier explains how 1848 inaugurated a new age, not of liberalism as many revolutionaries hoped, but of a nationalism that was to destroy liberal constitutionalism. As Professor Joll demonstrates in his Introduction, the essay also reveals much about the prejudices and passion underlying the historical writing of one of Britain's most prominent historians. The modern reader will find in the range and cogency of this book not only many shafts of light on the year 1848 itself, but also fresh insights into historical forces still at work in our own time.

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History of the Human Sciences

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About the author (1992)

Born in Poland, Lewis Namier was educated in England at the London School of Economics and Oxford University. In 1931 he accepted a professorship at Manchester University, where he remained for more than 20 years. An active Zionist, he served for several years as political secretary of the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Knighted in 1952, as a historian Namier specialized in studies of eighteenth-century English political and diplomatic history, setting the pattern for later studies in that and other eras. For his major work, Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (1929), he prepared detailed biographical studies of individual members of several Parliaments as a method of studying mid-eighteenth-century England. He concluded that the underlying motives behind political action were especially familial and oligarchic connections and the quest for position and place, rather than great events and issues. His method came to be called Namierism in his honor. Although criticized by some scholars, it led other historians and scholars to reevaluate much of English history.