Sir Arthur Bryant and National History in Twentieth-Century Britain
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Sir Arthur Bryant and National History in Twentieth-Century Britain

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Sir Arthur Bryant and National History in Twentieth-Century Britain is a significant new study of the work of the popular historian and journalist, Sir Arthur Bryant (1899-1985). Since his death, scholarly interest in Bryant has focused on his Nazi sympathies in the late 1930s. Julia Stapleton broadens our understanding of the man and the writer. She shows us that Bryant prefigured and sustained a form of romantic nationalism that remained nascent within the British population (though not always its elites) deep into the twentieth century.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 324 pages
  • 157.5 x 228.6 x 33mm | 521.64g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739109693
  • 9780739109694

Review quote

Stapleton's careful study of Bryant's career, thought, books and journalism is not a biography: we learn next to nothing about Bryant's personal life; but for thoughtful readers its focus is more valuable as a result, as we are able to study the travails of romantic Tory nationalism through one of its foremost exponents. The Social Affairs Unit This is a thoroughly researched, clearly written study of the attitudes and influence of Sir Arthur Bryant...Julia Stapleton does not offer a full biography of Bryant, but thoughtfully explores Bryant's efforts to "revive the role of 'national historian'... Stapleton succeeds admirably, showing how Bryant projected romantic conservative views on the past, often to great popular approval, but not always as a partisan of the Tory Party. H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online In her brilliant, richly textured, ably supported, and continually judicious study of Bryant's career and intellectual development, Julia Stapleton reveals him as a complex figure who sought to represent and sustain an inherent patriotism... Stapleton's important study offers much to those interested in intellectual history and historiography. It is a considerable achievement and one of the most interesting books I have read for some time. -- Jeremy Black Times Higher Education Sir Arthur Bryant is nowadays a largely forgotten figure. Julia Stapleton's new study, based on his papers at King's College London, and other archival materials, undertakes to situate Bryant in the wider context of the melancholy fate of 'Englishness' in British national history in the course of his life... Stapleton's account of his life is both balanced and considerate, particularly her persuasive rebuttal of charges that he was a keen Nazi sympathizer in the 1930s, his views at the time being less pro-Hitler than reflective of a historian's convictions about how best to engage a German people who had been unjustly humiliated by an undercurrent of loss perhaps inescapable in a tale cast against a background imagery of decline and fall. -- George Feaver Times Literary Supplement Stapleton does an excellent job in presenting a highly complex individual. Bryant emerges as a very English Tory, who did not really fit into the Conservative Party any more after 1945... H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online, (H-Soz-U-Kult) Arthur Bryant was not the kind of person most people approve of today-an English Tory patriot, writer of romantic 'middlebrow' histories, an appeaser who thought the intellectuals were too hard on Hitler. But the history of the twentieth century cannot be written properly without taking account of people like him, and the thousands of readers who believed what he wrote. Julia Stapleton tells his story with care and grace and insight. She illuminates the range of moral and political dilemmas that Bryant had to face and which were not then as simple as they may now appear with hindsight. A troubling and often moving book. -- Peter Mandler, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University Stapleton does an excellent job in presenting a highly complex individual. Bryant emerges as a very English Tory, who did not really fit into the Conservative Party any more after 1945. H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online, (H-Soz-U-Kult)show more

About Julia Stapleton

Julia Stapleton is senior lecturer in politics at the University of Durham.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Early Life and the First World War Chapter 3 Oxford and the Making of a Middlebrow Figure Chapter 4 Patriotism, Pagentry, and Tory History Chapter 5 National Character, the Countryside, and the English Country House Chapter 6 The Life of Samuel Pepys and Liberal-Conservatism in the 1930s Chapter 7 The Offensive Against the Left in Interwar Britain Chapter 8 The Crown, Dictatorships, and Appeasement Chapter 9 Nazi Fellow-Traveling, 1939-1940 Chapter 10 History and Patriotism during the Second World War Chapter 11 Captive Audiences, New Alliances, and the Retreat from Conservatism in 1945 Chapter 12 Postwar Niche, the Armed Forces, and Political Disillusion Chapter 13 The History of England in the New Elizabethan Age Chapter 14 Friends, Critics, and the End of the Tory-Whig Road Chapter 15 Final Years: Political Commentator Chapter 16 Final Years: National Historian Chapter 17 Conclusionshow more