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
- Jonathan Zimmerman says homosexuality is not alien to Africa
- Historian Howard Segal says the cost of paying for expensive commencement speeches is diverting funds from where they’re most needed
- Historian Shelly Cline researches female Nazi guards
- Owen Chadwick, Eminent Historian of Christianity, Dies at 99
- Members of the University of South Florida’s history department are finding new ways to get their jobs done after budget cuts