Macaulay and the Historical Sublime, or Forgetting the Past and the Future

Cregan-Reid, Vybarr (2006) Macaulay and the Historical Sublime, or Forgetting the Past and the Future. Nineteenth-Century Prose, 33 (2). pp. 402-436. ISSN 1052-0406 . (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-2081097...

Abstract

Historical narrative exists to desublimate our experience of the past, present, and future. Moreover, the arrangement of historical experience into narrative is an act of making the temporally and geographically sublime, epistemologically safe and comprehensible. Since history was born in the nineteenth century, many facets of its character--its material emanations, its conflicts, and its collusions--simply do not exist before the beginning of that period. This is not to say there were previously no great historians--there had been Gibbon, Montesquieu, Condorcet, Hume even; but history for them really only existed in the guises of either classical antiquity or the immediate past. Of all historians, Thomas Babington Macaulay was the supreme master of allying the desires of history with the emplotment of the newly-emerged historical novel. This essay contends that Macaulay's style is the necessary response to the ever-growing burden of history in the nineteenth century--that his style is a fundamental effect of history's sublimity, as well as the discipline's relative nascence. Focusing particularly on Macaulay's historiography, I outline the ways in which he takes part in discourses of the historical sublime that are connected with the new earth sciences of paleontology and geology.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Vybarr Cregan-Reid
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2013 20:50 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2016 11:44 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/36320 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Cregan-Reid, Vybarr: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4346-3833
  • Depositors only (login required):