By Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon was once one of many world's maximum historians and a towering determine of his age. whilst he died in 1794 he left at the back of the incomplete drafts of his Memoirs, that have been posthumously edited by way of his buddy Lord Sheffield, and stay an surprising portrait of a wealthy, complete lifestyles. Recounting Gibbon's sickly adolescence in London, his unhappiness with an Oxford steeped in port and prejudice', his profitable years in Lausanne, his first and merely love affair and the monolithic fulfillment of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", he distils his genius for heritage right into a amazing present for autobiography. Candid and designated, those writings are choked with heat and highbrow ardour.

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Returns to Lausanne. 1789 Deyverdun dies; Gibbon stays on at La Grotte. 1788–93 Writes six drafts for Memoirs; last entry 2 March 1791. 1793 April. Lady Sheffield dies. May. Leaves Lausanne; spends summer at Sheffield Place. 1794 16 January. Dies in London. 1796. Lord Sheffield publishes his version of the Memoirs. EDVARDUS GIBBON CRITICUS ACRI INGENIO ET MULTIPLICI DOCTRINA ORNATUS IDEMQUE HISTORICORUM QUI FORTUNAM IMPERII ROMANI VEL LABENTIS ET INCLINATI VEL EVERSI ET FUNDITUS DELETI LITTERIS MANDAVERINT OMNIUM FACILE PRINCEPS CUJUS IN MORIBUS ERAT MODERATIO ANIMI CUM LIBERALI QUADAM SPECIE CONJUNCTA IN SERMONE MULTAE GRAVITATI COMITAS SUAVITER ADSPERSA IN SCRIPTIS COPIOSUM SPLENDIDUM CONCINNUM ORBE VERBORUM ET SUMMO ARTIFICIO DISTINCTUM ORATIONIS GENUS RECONDITAE EXQUISITAEQUE SENTENTIAE ET IN MOMENTIS RERUM POLITICARUMQUE OBSERVANDIS ACUTA ET PERSPICAX PRUDENTIA VIXIT ANNOS LVI MENS.

His engaging zest for information on every available subject is apparent in the Catalogue of his library, which is full of surprises; along with the editions of classical texts and historical works are titles such as the Bhagavatgita and The Natural History of Norway, together with accounts of travels in Russia, Tartary and the Far East, histories of the Colony of Massachusetts, of Greenland, of Portugal, of Sumatra, dissertations on freemasonry, precious stones, astronomy, chemistry, fishes, and Frederick II on falconry.

Where twenty lines are dropped here, a whole paragraph there, or a sentence is curtailed or re-phrased, the reason seems generally to be a reluctance to print anything which might detract from Gibbon’s dignity or reputation or offend his relatives and friends. Thus the whole passage on Gibbon’s relations with Mme Bontems (18 lines on p. 137) is omitted, as well as two passages giving details of his attacks of gout (14 lines on pp. 127–8, 9 lines on p. 174), the former attributing it to ‘the daily practice of hard and even excessive drinking’ learned in his militia days; and 9 lost lines on p.

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