The Role of Ireland in the Life of Leopold Von Ranke (1795-1886): The Historian and Historical Truth

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This book investigates Leopold von Ranke’s concept of objectivity by looking at his private life and how it influenced his historical writing, primarily in regards to his marriage, examining his treatment of Irish history as contrasted with his account of English history. His wedding to Clarissa Graves, an Irish woman, in 1843 not only changed his whole life, it also influenced the writing of his books. Hundreds of spontaneous letters of Clarissa to her relatives in England and Ireland contain details of contacts, meetings, information on documents that were copied in archives, descriptions of research trips, and meetings with statesmen which reveal how Ranke worked, collected his material, and eventually composed his books.


“It is not surprising that Ranke’s private life encompassed a shared cultural identity, and that he was joined in this European way of thinking by Clarissa Graves, as has been Andreas Boldt.” - Prof. Dr. Jürgen Elvert, President of the Ranke-Association in Germany, Professor of Modern History, University of clearly demonstrated in the study provided by Cologne

“I have no doubt that Dr. Boldt’s book will make a major impact on the historiography of all three countries involved - Ireland, Great Britain and Germany.” - Prof. Tim Blanning FBA, Professor of Modern European History, University of Cambridge

“Dr. Boldt’s study has established that when it comes to Irish history Ranke was not an unbiased and ‘objective’ observer but instead interpreted Irish history along nationalist lines. Undoubtedly this was due to the personal influence of Ranke’s Irish wife, Clarissa, and her wider family, namely the Graveses. Dr. Boldt’s work is the most significant contribution to Ranke studies in forty years and it is also an important contribution to the debate on what constitutes good historical practice.” - Dr. John Bradley, Senior Lecturer, Department of History, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

"... the book shows how the correspondence of Clarissa Ranke with John Graves and other members of the Graves families serves to provide fascinating insight into Ranke's life. ... A useful work that offers a grounding in the specifics of historiography often missing in the discussion of historians and their works." - Prof. Jeremy Black, University of Exeter

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Foreword by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Elvert
1 The Family Background of Leopold Ranke and Clarissa Graves before 1843
2 The Ranke Family (1843-86)
3 The Writing of Ranke’s History of England
4 Irish History in Ranke’s History of England
5 Ranke’s Use of Language and Sources
6 Ranke’s Treatment of Irish History Compared with that of Macaulay, Froude and Lecky
Appendix I: Marginalia and Annotations in Books from Ranke’s Library
Appendix II: Books in Ranke’s Private Library Dealing with English or Irish History

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