Translations, Histories, Enlightenments: William Robertson by L. Kontler

By L. Kontler

Historian and minister William Robertson used to be a principal Scottish Enlightenment determine whose impression reached well past the limits of the British Isles. during this reception learn of Robertson's paintings, Laszlo Kontler exhibits how the reception of Robertson's significant histories in Germany exams the bounds of highbrow move via translation.

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Extra info for Translations, Histories, Enlightenments: William Robertson in Germany, 1760–1795

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First, no fundamental change is supposed to have occurred in regard of the status which history had held in humanism and Calvinism as an edificatory discourse and a form of knowledge intended to inculcate values of political leadership. History thus preserved its polemical commitment and the desire to articulate moral and social purposes. 20 In several crucial respects, Robertson was no exception. We have been reminded that his forays into the apparently more avant-garde domains of “theoretical history” have obscured the fact that the bulk of his output is conceived in terms of (a predominantly political) narrative, with “the character of men and manners” at its center.

All of this served to underline the significance of the economic realm for the social realities behind these historic developments, including the patterns of the production, consumption, circulation, and distribution of goods, and the agents of such processes, together with the cultural practices, habits, beliefs, and lifestyles peculiar to them. Historical reflection in the eighteenth century could have hardly afforded not taking into account such conditions of emerging modernity. Even among these circumstances, neither history’s traditional concern with and for public life nor the consequent endeavor to derive normative judgment and moral purpose from narrative was abandoned.

66 For this state of affairs, the existence of an “imperial constitution” that eschewed universal monarchy and vested the composite parts of the assemblage with considerable powers to provide for the civil, spiritual, and material well-being of their subjects was deemed essential. 67 Nevertheless, the Reich and its constitution was, for figures from Pufendorf’s senior contemporary Hermann Conring to Johann Stephan Pütter a century later, a political self-evidence throughout the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for scholars interested in the exploration of German ius publicum as a system of civil liberty and security.

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