“Truth is the criterion of historical study,” wrote G.M. Trevelyan, “but its impelling motive is poetic. Its poetry consists in its being true. There we find the synthesis of the literary and scientific views of history.”
Hugh Trevor-Roper’s posthumous biography of Sir Theodore de Mayerne illustrates this synthesis with a style not spinning on its own metaphysical deconstructionist wheels, but a truth-seeking, straightforward, stately style, passionate but decorous. And it seeks the truth about the life and times of one of the most remarkable historical figures of whom you have probably never heard.
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