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The Rhetoric of Numbers in Gibbon's History
978-1-61149-416-7 • Hardback
September 2012 • $75.00 • (£44.95)
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978-1-61149-417-4 • eBook
September 2012 • $74.99 • (£44.95)

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Pages: 224
Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
By F. P. Lock
Literary Criticism | European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
University Press Copublishing Division | University of Delaware
Gibbon aspired to combine the critical analysis of the eighteenth-century philosophe with the older traditions of the humanist and scholarly historian. His different uses of numbers, to inform and to persuade, illustrate his remarkable fusion of these approaches. This book, the first to be devoted to a historian’s use of numbers, shows how carefully Gibbon interrogated and deployed the numerical evidence in his sources to create a more accurate historical narrative; to demonstrate his own reliability and candor as a historian; and to convince readers of the validity of his interpretations of characters and events.

F. P. Lock is professor of English at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.