W.C. Abbott and the historical reputation of Oliver Cromwell
Cromwelliana, third series, volume 2
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Smith, D. (2013). W.C. Abbott and the historical reputation of Oliver Cromwell. Cromwelliana, third series, volume 2 https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.33942
Wilbur Cortez Abbott is best known for his edition of Oliver Cromwell’s writings and speeches published by Harvard University Press between 1937 and 1947. This edition comprises 3,639 pages in four volumes, but over the years since it appeared scholars have become ever more conscious of its shortcomings. The usefulness of the edition is greatly reduced by the lack of tables of contents or running heads, and although it contains roughly 1,250 ‘texts’ it privileges those that were available at Harvard. Above all, Abbott often blended the different variants of a text together to create a single composite version without adequate explanation of how he did this or why he preferred certain readings to others. Such failings are all the more regrettable given that Abbott undoubtedly intended his edition to be definitive; indeed when it was published reviewers such as David Ogg, Ernest Barker and Godfrey Davies applied this very adjective to it. For Abbott, the project was the culmination of an engagement with the personality and career of Oliver Cromwell that spanned many years. This article will explore how Abbott’s interpretation of Cromwell’s character, motives and significance developed during the course of a long scholarly career, how Abbott influenced Cromwell’s historiographical reputation, and where the edition fitted into what became an almost obsessive interest in the Lord Protector.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.33942
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/286630