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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 120



114 HISTORY AS PAINTING. \V. that his reproduction is an adequate representation of what it seemed to be. The result will have its value ; for first, the work need not be a whit less conscientious because it is less deep and searching ; and, secondly, because the good workman will only try to reproduce scenes that are worth describing; the good painter will not waste his genius on revolting "or worthless subjects, and the historian of true genius will choose for the employment of his genius scenes from history that may read good and noble lessons to the world that reads him. Such historical writing is far more brilliant, if it is well done, than that which I mentioned first ; but, like everything that is brilliant, it is liable to be counterfeited. Sensational and picturesque writing satisfies the popular taste, and sensational and picturesque writing, adopted as a historical style, is very apt to corrupt and destroy the more valuable features of painstaking and conscientious truthfulness. Popularity is nowhere a greater snare than it is in this region of work ; and magazine articles, and review articles, the romance of history, and historic scenes and characters, are produced with great facility when the principal object is to attract the half-educated to read. But, notwithstanding this, both the writing and the study of history in this way has a great value, if it enables the student to realise the situations more vividly, to put himself in the place, so to speak, of his characters, and to represent to his mind's eye, for the purpose of forming an equitable judgment, the several circumstances of the case on which he is trying to adjudge, in somewhat the same way as that in which his characters themselves might have seen them. I should say, then, read history now and then with a view to the picturesque, but do not read it too much, and do not read it at second-hand ; do not write it, or dwell too much on the pictures which are not drawn by the first masters ; try to reproduce, not to copy.


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