Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 1: The Enlightenments of Edward by J. G. A. Pocock

By J. G. A. Pocock

During this first quantity, The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, John Pocock follows Gibbon via his younger exile in Switzerland and his criticisms of the Encyclop?die and strains the expansion of his historic pursuits right down to the belief of the Decline and Fall itself.

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All Memoir F). ⁴¹ Memoirs, p.  (A, p. , Memoir B). ⁴² An Universal History from the Earliest Account of Time to the Present, compiled from Original Authors appeared in folio at London between  and , in octavo between  and . This became The Ancient Part when The Modern Part of an Universal History . . appeared in both folio and octavo between  and . See Ricuperati, ; Abbatista, . In his journal of – Gibbon recollected reading the Ancient Part on Macedonian history when aged fourteen in ; Journal B, p.

At the same time, that activity was carried on in a number of contexts, of some of which he may occasionally have been more aware than of others, while some may not have preoccupied his attention at any time at all; the possibility that some of the contexts which will be distinguished operated to form his text indirectly, subconsciously or unconsciously, is not ruled out before it occurs. Of these contexts some will be national, or regional, and cultural: English, since Gibbon was born in England, spent much of his life there, and wrote his greatest work in English; Lausannais, since he spent crucial years of his life and completed the Decline and Fall there, and first wrote history in the French which he acquired in the Pays de Vaud; and it will be necessary to pay attention to the intellectual climates of Amsterdam, Paris, and Edinburgh, where he did not reside but which were important to him.

By the latter statement he means that ill health had kept him from regular school attendance, and so from a normal grammar-school training in Latin, let alone Greek – a ³⁸ Craddock, EGLH, pp. –, dates the various drafts between  and . Cf. Memoirs, pp. xv–xxxi. ³⁹ Memoirs, p.  (A, p. , Memoir F). ⁴² He details the readings in ancient and modern history to which the Universal History led him, and which made him, so he tells us, an object of astonishment to his father’s friends.

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