Blogs on the early modern – Newton Key: Crowdsourcing the Early Modern Blogosphere

This is an interesting article about conceptualising the early modern and its different inflections, meaning and scope it received in the Anglophone and Non-Anglophone fields and contexts.

Newton Key: Crowdsourcing the Early Modern Blogosphere

The early modern became ensconced in the Anglophone historiographical scene about 1970. Of course, the phrase “early modern” had long existed, sometimes to refer to the first age of humans, more often to refer to a stage in language development (early modern French, or early Modern English after Old English), more rarely to refer to several centuries, and for the latter, mainly in university curricula and mainly with regards to Europe or even England. (for example, Dawson 1888, p. 398; Edwards 1896, p. vii; The Cornell University Register 1869, p. 62). But a few works in the 1960s applied the term to a broad era after the Middle Ages and it graced numerous collections and texts from 1970. Where before one might name royal houses (the Tudor‑Stuart era) or use dates of major wars and treaties (Europe before 1648), from the 1960s one increasingly turned to “early modern” to signify variously 1300‑1700 or 1500‑1800. Two nGrams show the phrase’s dramatic rise as a term in British and American texts since the 1960s (; (Randolph Starn 2002, discovers slightly different progenitors than I do; but we both agree to the sea change in usage circa 1970).


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