“Have you read Buckle’s second volume? It has interested me greatly; I do not care whether his views are right or wrong, but I should think they contained much truth. There is a noble love of advancement and truth throughout, and to my taste he is the very best writer of the English language that ever lived.” — CHARLES DARWIN
Henry Thomas Buckle was a man of one book. But that one book, The History of Civilization in England, was one of the great books of the nineteenth century and earned Buckle instant celebrity. Translated into many languages, it remained one of the most influential of all historical works down to the First World War.
Buckle’s History is a mere fragment of what was to be a general “philosophical history” of civilisation, not just in England, but throughout the world. Of the twenty chapters that Buckle completed, six were devoted to an exposition of his philosophy of history, seven chiefly to the history of France, one to the history of Spain, and five to Scotland. Only one chapter was devoted to England about one-ninth of the whole) Buckle must, therefore, be read not primarily as a historian of England, but as a historical sociologist whose main interest was in the development of general historical laws …
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