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ATTENTION has often been called to the need of a good bibliography of English history. There has been a deplorable waste of time and energy in historical investigation, because the literature of English history has so long remained unarranged and unanalysed, and therefore students have often been obliged to grope their way through unclassified catalogues in a futile search for bibliographical information. 'In this respect,' says Mr. H. R. Tedder, in the Library Chronicle, 1886, iii. 185, 'we are still in arrear of almost every other civilised country. . . . It is a slur upon English bibliography and upon English historical research that "our island story," told in so many ways and by so many writers, should be yet without an adequate record of its literature.' In a paper read before the Royal Historical Society (Transactions, 1897, xi. 19-30) Mr. Frederic Harrison also emphasises the need of a treatise which should aid students of English history in some such way as the bibliographies of Dahlmann-Waitz and Monod aid students of German and French history. Mr. Tedder and Mr. Harrison both demand, however, that the proposed bibliography, unlike those of Dahlmann-Waitz and Monod, should give some account of the contents and a brief estimate of the value of the books named; and they agree in asserting that the labour of preparing such a treatise can be successfully undertaken only 1 For existing bibliographies, see below, § 2.
by some method of co-operation on the part of various experts. But a co-operative scheme of this sort is difficult to initiate and carry out; and as no such scheme has as yet been undertaken, I have ventured to put forth a bibliography of that part of the subject which extends from the earliest times to 1485.
The main object of this Preface is to explain the scope and arrangement of the book. It contains a systematic survey of the printed materials relating to the political, constitutional, legal, social, and economic history of England, Wales, and Ireland. The manuscript materials are dealt with only incidentally; in this branch of our subject we already have some good guides, like T. D. Hardy and S. R. Scargill Bird. Scotland has been omitted, because in the middle ages her government and institutions were foreign to those of England; but as far as Scotland influenced the current of English history she has received consideration. Even within the above-mentioned limits, this bibliography does not profess to be exhaustive; it comprises only select lists of books; worthless and obsolete treatises are omitted, except in the case of a few recent works which are mentioned merely in order that the student may be warned to shun them. Greater fulness has been sought in the sections concerning the original sources; and it is hoped that no printed source of prime importance has been overlooked. Besides books and pamphlets, the work includes a selection of papers found in collective essays, in journals, and in the transactions of societies; many valuable treasures lie buried in these by-ways of literature. An effort has also been made to include all continental books, pamphlets, and papers that are of any value to students of English history. Throughout the work the task of selection has been a difficult one; it is a
1 See Nos. 45, 459. For the archives, see §§ 12, 13. Pt. iv. also contains many calendars and catalogues of public and local records.
task which no scholar could perform without exposing himself to the accusation of having committed some errors of judgment. The bibliographies mentioned in § 2 and in other sections will furnish the student with many of the titles of books which I have deemed it expedient to omit from my lists.
A glance at the table of contents will show that the materials of English history comprised in this book are systematically and chronologically classified. Part i. includes general or introductory subjects: methodology, bibliographical helps, periodical publications, the studies auxiliary to history (dictionaries, gazetteers, peerages, etc.), the Public Record Office and other archives, general collections of chroniclers and records (the publications of the Record Commission, the Rolls Series, record societies, etc.), and the general treatises of modern writers. Part ii. deals with the authorities for the early history of Britain to the close of the Roman occupation, while Parts iii. and iv. relate to Anglo-Saxon times and to the period 1066-1485 respectively. In Part ii. separate sections, and in Parts iii. and iv. separate chapters, are concerned with modern writers. The separation of the sources from the modern literature doubtless has its disadvantages, but it could not be avoided without seriously impairing other parts of the classification. It is hoped that any defects in the arrangement of the work may be atoned for, in part at least, by the full index, the numerous crossreferences, and the tables in appendix D.
Many of the titles in my lists are accompanied by brief notes explaining the contents of the books and estimating their value. These notes are supplemented by the preliminary remarks which will be found at the beginning of the sections and subsections. Mr. Frederic Harrison rightly asserts that 'just as a real history is not a series of annals, so a real bibliography is not a mere catalogue of books.' To
gauge the value of one treatise as compared with others, in a bibliography which embraces an enormous mass of literature relating to a wide range of subjects, is, however, a delicate and hazardous undertaking, which no one can perform with complete success. Still it is much better to give an inadequate commentary than to allow students to grope in utter darkness.
The book is the outcome of an annual course of lectures on the sources and literature of English history delivered at Harvard University from 1890 to 1899. In 1893 arrangements were made for its publication, and during the past three years it has occupied all the time that I could snatch from my academic duties. Though the work is the fruit of much labour, I am painfully conscious of its shortcomings; but I hope that it will help to smooth the path of teachers and students of English history.
Finally, I wish to express my obligation to the many friends who have kindly aided me; it is difficult to name those who have been most helpful. I am also grateful to the officials of the British Museum Library and the Society of Antiquaries of London for their courtesy and kindness.
July 1, 1900.
An asterisk (*) is prefixed to the titles of works which are particularly important for the study of English history. A dagger (†) is prefixed to titles of works which the compiler has not been able to examine.
Most of the titles are presented in an abbreviated form.
The number of pages when less than one hundred is usually indicated.
The tables of contents appended to titles of books do not profess to be exhaustive. The page references in such tables are to the latest edition mentioned.