Obituary: Maurice Cowling
Throughout his career Maurice Cowling was never comfortable with being described as a historian, since, as he explained, he had “drifted into becoming a professional historian despite an intense conviction, acquired early and never lost, that professional history is an illusion and historical writing an instrument of doctrine”.
For this reason, perhaps, it is as much for his influence as teacher and mentor to the conservatives in academia and the higher journalism, as for his rebarbative contributions to professional historical writing, that he will be remembered.
However, in a series of three books about British political history, he demonstrated that he could wrestle, albeit sinuously, with traditional historical problems as well as any of his contemporaries; and in so doing he gave rise to a distinctive school of revisionist historiography dubbed “high politics”, which attributed the pre-eminence in bringing about significant political change to the interaction of members of the political elite rather than to popular agitation, as liberal and left-wing historians had assumed.
comments powered by Disqus
- 150 years later, schools are still a battlefield for interpreting Civil War
- Where are America's memorials to pain of slavery, black resistance?
- Richmond split over Confederate history
- The World's Jewish Population Is Nearing Pre-Holocaust Levels
- Bernie Sanders’s Revolutionary Roots Were Nurtured in ’60s Vermont
- Did a historian who said he’s a victim of McCarthyism get the story wrong?
- Stephanie Coontz’s work on the history of marriage cited by the Supreme Court.
- How Does It Feel To Have One’s Work as a Historian Cited by the Supreme Court? Cool. Very Cool. Thank You Very Much.
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- David Hackett Fischer wins $100,000 prize for lifetime achievement in military writing