Western Civilisation was in its pomp when Jacob Burckhardt delivered his Judgements on History and Historians; European Empires spanned the globe, while the modern age was being forged in the nationalist revolutions of 1848. As a tutor to the young Friedrich Nietzsche as well as one of the first historians to take 'culture' as his subject rather than the triumphs and travails of kings and generals, Burckhardt was at the vanguard of this modern sensibility.
Ambitious in its scope, ranging from the days of Ancient Egypt, through the Reformation to the time of Napoleon, this is indeed a history of 'Western Civilization', written before two monstrous world wars threw such a concept into disrepute.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Translator's Preface 1. Antiquity 2. The Middle Ages 3. History from 1450 to 1598 4. History of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Ceturies 5. The Age of Revolution
Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897), was born in Basel in Switzerland where he lived and worked for virtually the whole of his life. The author of The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy, he is widely regarded as the father of Cultural History.
'Unlike other 'universal historians,' Burckhardt never closed his mind to new possibilities. He imposed no system on history. He believed, with all the real 'liberals,' ultimately in the freedom of the human will.' – Hugh Trevor-Roper
'Unlike other universal historians Burckhardt never closed his mind to new possibilities... Some tools for thinking, and the cultivation of an attitude of respect and wonder towards the heroic people who shaped history are what you get from this book.' - Andrew Vass, SATH: History Teaching Review