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The Study Of Literature
English Literature Of The 19th Century:
 Mrs. E. B. Browning

 Minor Poets

 Thomas Hood

 Owen Meredith

 Historical Literature Of The Early Victorian Period

 Henry Thomas Buckle

 Henry Hallam

 Sir Archibald Alison

 Henry Hart Milman

 John Lingard

 Read More Articles About: English Literature Of The 19th Century

Henry Hallam

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Three great historical works form the monument of Henry Hallam. They are distinguished by their judicial impartiality, and are referred to as authorities by men of all parties. Hallam was born in 1777, the son of a dean of Bristol, and was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He was called to the bar, but early obtained an official position which allowed him plenty of leisure for authorship. After contributing some articles to the "Edinburgh Review," he published "A View of the State of Europe During the Middle Ages" (1818), to which he added a supplemental volume thirty years later. Meantime he had issued in 1827 his "Constitutional History of England," and in 1837 his "Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries." The two later works are really continuations of the first, though in different directions. The "Middle Ages" is a comprehensive survey of European history from the Fifth to the Fifteenth Century. The author carefully avoids generalization on the movements of society. The "Constitutional History" brought the English part down to the reign of George II. It was confined to changes in the organization of the state, and omitted personal history as much as possible. Hallam considered that the modern Whig constitutionalism was the ideal standard to which all questions should be referred, and may therefore have been too severe on Charles I and some statesmen of his century. His "Literature of Europe" is rigidly an account of the books of the period, arranged according to the dates of publication and the nature of their subjects. Biographical notices of the authors were excluded, thus diminishing the general reader's interest. But the critic's conscientiousness and accuracy are as conspicuous as his patient industry and wide range of reading. No mere display of erudition is made, but results are given as compactly as possible. His style is clear and uniform, and in the "Literature" there are passages of special beauty. Hallam died in 1859, having outlived his wife and two sons. One of the latter, Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-1833), was of most brilliant promise, and has been lamented by his friend Tennyson in the most exquisite elegy in the English language.

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