The first important scholarly consideration of Enlightenment historiography of the twentieth century, this book, originally published in 1926, critically examines the ideas of Voltaire, Hume, Robertston and Gibbon with respect to the theory and practice of historiography. The substantial introduction outlines the main differences between the ideals of these literary-philosophical schools and those which prevailed among historians in the early 20th century. The author argues that history can never be devoid of philosphical and literary interest, and that if it concerns itself merely with the stablishment of fact, will be a discipline of "contracting horizons".
1. Introduction 2. Voltaire 3. Hume 4. Robertson 5. Gibbon