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One Hundred Letters From Hugh Trevor-Roper by Richard Davenport-Hines, Adam Sisman

By Richard Davenport-Hines, Adam Sisman

The single hundred letters introduced jointly for this ebook illustrate the variety of Hugh Trevor-Roper's existence and preoccupations: as an historian, a controversialist, a public highbrow, an adept in educational intrigues, a lover of literature, a traveler, a countryman. They depict a lifetime of wealthy range; a brain of highbrow sparkle and keen interest; a personality that relished the comedie humaine, and the absurdities, crotchets, and vanities of his contemporaries. The playful irony of Trevor-Roper's correspondence areas him in a literary culture stretching again to such nice letter-writers as Madame de Sevigne and Horace Walpole.

Though he mostly kept away from emotional self-exposure in correspondence as in corporation, his letters to the girl who turned his spouse exhibit the brilliant depth and the uncooked depths of his emotions.

Trevor-Roper was once some of the most talented students of his new release, and essentially the most well-known dons of his day. whereas nonetheless a tender guy, he made his identify along with his bestseller The final Days of Hitler, and have become infamous for his acerbic attacks on different historians. In his best, Trevor-Roper seemed to have every little thing: a gray Bentley, a prestigious chair in Oxford, a stunning kingdom residence, a spouse with a name, and, ultimately, a identify of his personal. yet he did not write the 'big e-book' anticipated of him, and tainted his acceptance while in previous age he erroneously authenticated the cast Hitler diaries.

For an instructional, Trevor-Roper's pursuits have been terribly extensive, bringing him into touch with such different members as George Orwell and Margaret Thatcher, Albert Speer and Kim Philby, Katharine Hepburn and Rupert Murdoch. The tragicomedy of his tenure as grasp of Peterhouse, Cambridge, supplied a suitable finale to a occupation jam-packed with incident.

Trevor-Roper's letters to Bernard Berenson, released as Letters from Oxford in 2006, gave excitement to a large choice of readers. This extra basic choice of his correspondence has been lengthy expected, and may pride an individual who values wit, erudition, and transparent prose.

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Courtesy of Jane Clark) 2. Dawyck Haig and his fiancée at Bemersyde. (Courtesy of Xenia Dennen) 3. Trevor-Roper writing in his rooms in Christ Church. 4. James Howard-Johnston’s Eton leaving photograph. (Courtesy of James Howard-Johnston) 5. Trevor-Roper outside Chiefswood. (Courtesy of Xenia Dennen) 6. A meal at Chiefswood. (Courtesy of Xenia Dennen) 7. Chiefswood, Christmas 1959. (Courtesy of Xenia Dennen) 8. Wallace and Ada Notestein. (Courtesy of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University) 9.

Although he resisted the more implacable postures of the Cold War, as is indicated by his letter to Isaiah Berlin of 18 February 1955, he loathed the brutal stupidity of Communist regimes, and was shocked by their incarceration or mental subjugation of scholars (see his mention of Mikhail Bakhtin in his letter to Frances Yates, 28 December 1969). In the post-war era he saw both Communism and the Roman Catholic Church, which he likewise assailed in print, as enemies to the freedoms of thought and action which they denied to their members.

Under the nominal supervision of the Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Claude Jenkins, he was left to go his own way. He never saw himself as a member of a historical school or tried to create one. His historical thinking was formed largely in reaction against prevailing orthodoxies. Though in his earlier career—‘my marxisant phase’ as he would later call it—he accepted the premise of R. H. Tawney that the political changes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries originated in economic and social conflicts, he would become repelled by the determinist spirit of Marxist and other progressive historical thinking, which denied or belittled both the freedom of the human will and the role of contingency in history.

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