March 04, 2007

Hugh Trevor Roper


Hugh Trevor Roper was one of the leading early modern historians of his generation. David Wootton, one of his successors, has written a perceptive review of Trevor Roper's last work- a biography of the physician Sir Theodore Mayerne- in the Times Literary Supplement. Wootton's essay turns into a discussion of Trevor Roper's idea of being a Don and the way that in some senses he represented the last of a trend of thinking about the proper place of a scholar. Some of what appears in his review is slightly apocalyptic- but there is much merit in his analysis of what Trevor Roper represented. Wootten writes beautifully about the ideal of scholarship that Trevor Roper saw himself as representing- the article is a fascinating attempt to study another historian's idea of history by a living and working historian.

4 comments:

james higham said...

Ah, Hugh Trevor Roper. I came to him via the Philby Burgess thing. Very interesting life indeed.

Political Umpire said...

I gather he was a respected historian, but his name is rather besmirched by the Hitler Diaries.

Gracchi said...

Yes it was but one misjudgement does not a missed life make- he did a lot of other good stuff and he made a huge mistake once.

Political Umpire said...

Oh sure I understand that he was well respected outside of that particular incident. But it did involve two errors of judgement on his part. The first was endorsing the diaries in the face of all known evidence about Hitler at the time. The second was providing his endorsement to the Sunday Times, in which he had a financial interest.