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Jeremy Black

Charting the Past

The Historical Worlds of Eighteenth-Century England

Indiana University Press 2018

New Books in British StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network April 11, 2019 Charles Coutinho

Eighteenth-century England was a place of both the enlightenment and progress: new ideas abounded in science, politics, transportation, commerce, philosophy, religion, and the arts....

Eighteenth-century England was a place of both the enlightenment and progress: new ideas abounded in science, politics, transportation, commerce, philosophy, religion, and the arts. But even as England propelled itself into the future, it was preoccupied with notions of its past, both its immediate past and its far distant past. Professor of History Jeremy Black, the most prolific historian (more than one-hundred books written) in the Anglophone world, considers the interaction of history with knowledge and culture in eighteenth-century England and shows how this engagement with the past influenced English historical writing in his new book, Charting the Past: The Historical Worlds of Eighteenth-Century England (Indiana University Press, 2018). The past was used as a tool to illustrate the contemporary religious, social, and political debates that shaped the advances and changes of the era. Professor Black reveals this type of “present-centered” historical writing to be so valued and influential in the eighteenth-century that its importance is greatly underappreciated in our current considerations of the period. In his customarily magisterial approach, Professor Black takes readers from print shops to church pews, courtrooms to painter’s studios to show how historical writing influenced 18th century England, which in turn gave birth to the modern world which we now live.


Charles Coutinho has a doctorate in history from New York University. Where he studied with Tony Judt, Stewart Stehlin and McGeorge Bundy. His Ph. D. dissertation was on Anglo-American relations in the run-up to the Suez Crisis of 1956. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for the Journal of Intelligence History and Chatham House’s International Affairs. It you have a recent title to suggest for a podcast, please send an e-mail to Charlescoutinho@aol.com.