A Shortened History of England. Front Cover. George Macaulay Trevelyan. Penguin Books, – Gran Bretaña- – Historia – pages. Trevelyan was an English historian whose work, written for the general reader as much as for the history student, shows an appreciation for the Whig traiditon in. A Shortened History of England has ratings and 17 reviews. Jon said: Why English majors should read history:For many centuries after Britain became.
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Tells the story of the nation from the trevdlyan days of the Celt and the Iberian, through the raids of the Vikings, the Norman conquest, the first Elizabethan age and foundation of the Indian Empire to World War I and the setting up of the League of Nations. Paperbackpages. Published April 1st by Penguin Books first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Shortened History of England hsitory, please sign up.
Be the first to ask a question about A Shortened History of England. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Tevelyan English majors should read history: For many centuries after Britain became an island the untamed forest was king. Its moist and mossy floor was hidden from heaven’s eye by a close-drawn curtain woven of innumerable tree-tops, which shivered in the breezes of summer dawn and broke into wild music of millions upon millions of wakening birds; the concert was prolonged from bough to hietory with scarcely a break for hundreds of miles over hill and plain and mountain, unheard by man save where, at Why English majors should read history: Its moist and mossy floor hsitory hidden from heaven’s eye by a close-drawn curtain woven of innumerable tree-tops, which shivered in the breezes of summer dawn and broke into wild music of millions upon millions of wakening birds; the concert was prolonged from bough to bough with scarcely a break for hundreds of miles over hill and plain and mountain, unheard sbortened man save where, at rarest intervals, a troop of skin-clad hunters, stone-axe in hand, moved furtively over englnad ground beneath, ignorant that they lived upon an island, not dreaming that there could be other parts of the world besides this damp green woodland with its meres and marshes, wherein they hunted, a terror to its four-footed inhabitants and themselves afraid.
Jan 16, Hannah rated it liked it. It’s taken me about four months to read, and it was a day of great rejoicing teevelyan I finished. As you can infer, I found parts of this history a bit dry.
A shortened history of England – George Macaulay Trevelyan – Google Books
Some of the problem stems from the fact that this was a history book above my level; Trevelyan assumes that his reader has a working knowledge of key figures and major events for each era, which mostly I do not. One of the greatest merits of this book, however, is his ability to “Obviously not shortened enough,” was my family’s view of this book. One of the greatest merits of this book, however, is his ability to be sympathetic to previous eras, and to place events in their proper context, rather than simply judge them by modern standards and morality.
Altogether an informative overview of English history. Jan 31, Charles rated it really liked it. Cracking example of narrative history-doesn’t let a lack of sources get in the way of a great story. I picked up this book to learn from and not to read critically, so I can’t offer a lot of insight into Trevelyan’s integrity or originality as a scholar. The best I can do is admire and reproduce some of its beautifully written prose.
The story begins almost biblically, dwelling for suspense in imaginative vistas of the virgin prehistoric land, still eternal-seeming: At the time of their coming overland, the chalk downs of Dover and Calais were still united in a continous range; the majestic Tham I picked up this book to learn from and not to read critically, so I can’t offer a lot of insight into Trevelyan’s integrity or originality as a scholar.
At the time of their coming overland, the chalk downs of Dover and Calais were still united in a continous range; the majestic Thames flowed into the lower Rhine; and the Rhine itself meandered towards the Arctic Ocean through the marshy plain now submerged beneath the waves of the North Sea, where the bones of mammoth and reindeer are dredged off the Dogger Bank. It’s moist and mossy floor was hidden from heaven’s eye by a close-drawn curtain woven of innumerable treetops, which shivered in the breezes of summer dawn and broke into wild music of millions upon millions of wakening birds; the concert was prolonged from bough to bough with scarcely a break for hundreds of miles over hill and plain and mountain, unheard by man save where, at rarest intervals, a troop of skinclad hunters, ignorant that they lived upon an island, not dreaming that there could be other parts of the world besides this damp green woodland with its meres and marshes, wherein they hunted.
The villein is achieving his emancipation under a new economic order. New middle classes in town and country and thrusting themselves in between lord and serf, the two isolated pillars of the old feudal structure. Commerce and manufacture are growing with the cloth trade, and are bursting the boundaries of medieval borough and guild. Laymen are becoming learned and are thinking for themselves. Caxton’s press is replacing the monastic scribe. The long-bow of the English yeoman can stop the charge of the feudal knight, and the King’s cannon can breach his donjon wall.
As climax to all these profound changes, slowly at work through many passing generations, the mist is suddenly rolled back one day off the Atlantic waves, revealing new worlds beyond the ocean. England, it seems, is no longer at the extreme verge of all things, but is their maritime heart and centre. She has long been half European; she shall now become oceanic – and America as well, and yet remain English all the while p. In Saxon times an estate had normally been divided among the sons.
In Plantagenet times it normally went to the eldest son alone. And therefore the younger sons, after being brought up as children of the manor house, were sent out into the world to seek their fortunes. This had the effect of increasing the adventurous and roving spirit of the new English nation, and of mingling classes as they were not mingled in Germany or France.
A Shortened History of England. G.M. Trevelyan
The English upper class never became a closed caste, shotrened the continental nobles who married only inside their own order, and despited merchants and commerce.
If English history followed a very different course, it was partly because the custom of primogeniture, though originated to meet a fedual requirement, had become part of the land-law of an England that was rapidly escaping from feudalism.
We are watching an important step towards the higher stages of civilization – the growth of a leisured class. Jistory heathen clan or tribe may be relatively equalitarian, and poverty may be more or less equally distributed among its members, but it can never move forward in mass order towards higher civilization and the freedom of the individual. When men collectively are very poor some few must be made rich if htere is to be any accumulation of weatlth for civilized purposes.
Wen men collectively are ignorant, progress is only possible through the endowment of an educated few. In such a world, organization can only begin through personal ascenancy and can only be rendered permanent through privilege.
I nthose days, kingship, feudalism and ecclesiasticism grew together as harmonious parts of a general movement. King, thegn, and Bishop, though often rivals, in the q fostered one another’s power.
All three were at once the exploiters and the saviours of an otherwise helpless society. During the three centuries when our native language was a peasant’s dialect, it lost its clumsy inflexions and elaborate gender, and acquired the grace, suppleness treveluan adaptability which are among its chief merits. It was enriched by many French words and ideas [ There is no more romantic episode in the history of man than this underground growth and unconscious self-preparation of the despised island patois, destined ere long to “burst forth into sudden blaze,” to be spoken in every quarter of the globe, and to produce a literature with which only that of ancient Hellas is comparable.
It is symbolic of the fate englane the English race itself after Hastings, fallen to rise nobler, trodden under foot only to be trodden into shape. Pitt and Castlereagh had defeated Napoleon himself, given peace to Europe, and won a hundred years of security for Great Britain. The task awaiting their successors, under the later monarchs of the House of Hanover, was to adapt this system of Parliamentary Cabinet government to the new social facts created by the Industrial Revolution.
This was found to involve the admission first of the middle and then of the working class as partners in the control of the political machine. A failure to make these adjustments would have led to a breakdown of the Parliamentary system and a war of classes. By the good genius of English politics has often retrieved apparently hopeless situations. The last British Revolution is still that of By a gradual transition towards democracy, seldom hastening and never turning back, political rights were extended to all without a catastrophe.
This great manouevre was safely acomplished because all classes and all parties showed, upon the whole, sound political sense and good dhortened, because the Victorian age was a period shortenwd peace and external security for Britain, and becuase its middle years were years of unexampled prosperity. Finally, the extension of the political franchise to all compelled the nation to elaborate a system of national education out of the fragmentary efforts of private and denominational enterprise.
He traces how we were a society which was remarkably unlatinised by Roman rule: Nor, on the other hand, had the Gauls and Britons an elaborate civilization of their own, like the inhabitants of the Greek and Oriental lands subject to Roman sway. And, therefore, once the Roman conquerors had glutted their first rage for plunder, their main effort was to induce their Western subjects to assimilate Latin life in all its aspects.
Their success with the Gauls was permanent, and became the starting point of modern European history. But in Britain, after a great initial success, they had complete ultimate failure. The greatest fact in the early history of the island is a negative fact.
Objection may be taken to the word “Nordic” as to all terms invented in after times for historical purposes. But to give a just conception of British history, a single word must sometimes be employed to cover the German, the Anglo-Saxon, and the Sacandinavian peoples of the Fifth Century. They had certain common treelyan, which gave a family likeness to the innumerable and widely scattered tribes of Scandinavians, Anglo-Saxons, Franks and Teutons who ranged conquering and colonizing from Ireland to Constantinople, from Greenland to the Desert of Sahara.
The worship of Odin and Thor, the religion common to primitive Anglosaxon and Scandinavian, was pre-emimently a layman’s religion, a warrior’s religion, a religion of high-hearted gentlemen not overburdened with brains or troubled about their own souls.
Its grand old mythology inculcated or reflected the virtues of the race – manliness, generosity, loyalty in service and in friendship, and a certain rough honesty.
The yrevelyan standards of the modern English schoolboy come nearest to it, as a most elementary expression of the racial character. The Danes had a word for acts of cowardice, desertion, or dishonourableness of any kind – “nidings voerk” – as distinct from ordinary breaches of the law, and more terribly punished by public opinion.
It was worse to be a “niding” than a man-slayer. The people of this nation mortally hate the French as their old enemies, and always call us “France cheneve,” “France shortehed. The period of Walpole and the Pitts was the hisrory of the unchallenged abuses in all forms of corporate life.
A Shortened History of England
Holders of ecclesiastical, academic, charitable, and scholastic endowments had no fear of inquiry or reform. Schoolmasters could draw their salaries without keeping school. Universities could sell degrees historry holding examinations or giving instruction. Parliamentary shprtened and municipal hishory could be as corrupt and ridiculous as they liked; it was enough that they were old.
It is not, therefore, surprising that the greatness of England during the epoch that followed the [Glorious] Revolution is to be judged by her individual men, by the unofficial achievement of her free and vigorous population, by the open competition of her merchants and industrialists in the markets of the world, rather than by her corporate institutions, such as Church, Universities, Schools, Civil Service, and town Corporations, which were all of them half asleep.
English society was then still aristocratic, while American society was already democratic. Six or seven weeks of disagreeable ocean tossing divided London from Boston, so that personal intercourse was slight, and the stream of emigration from the mother country had run very dry ever since In England politics and good society were closed to Puritans, while Puritanism dominated New England and pushed its way thence into all the other colonies; it was Anglicanism that was unfashionable in Massachusetts.
English society was old, elaborate, and artificial, while American society was new, simple, and raw. English society was based on great differences of wealth while in America property was still divided with comparative equality, and every likely lad hoped some day to be as well-off as the leading man in the township. In England political opinion was mainly that of squires, while in America it was derived from farmers, water-side mobs, and frontiersmen of the forest.
In two societies so widely set apart in the circumstances and atmosphere of everyday life, it required people with imaginative faculties like Burke, Chatham and Fox to conceive what the issues looked like to ordinary men on the other side of the Atlantic.
George III had strength of mind, diligence, and business ability, but he had not imagination.