He would have subscribed to Lewis Namier
's aphorism that "we study history so that we can learn how things didn't happen." Mommsen's work is studded with disclaimers: "cannot be determined"; "we cannot tell"; "conjectures that wear an aspect of probability"; "the information that has come to us gives no satisfactory answer"; "like a distant evening twilight in which outlines disappear"; "our information regarding it comes to us like the sound of bells from a town that has been sunk into the sea."
In the study of history, Plumb turned against Namier--whose protege he had been--and the "apostate" came to have spellbinding powers on his own students, not least in excoriating against Namier
and his approach.
The only historians with works on that list were Huizinga, Marc Bloch, Lewis Namier
, and Elie Halevy.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, British historiography fell methodologically in line with the positivist approaches pioneered in nineteenth-century Germany; the most renowned product of this alignment is Lewis Namier
's The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (1929), a dense study of political networks whose very title obliterates the human agent.
Eliot, Lewis Namier
, Learie Constantine, Alexander Korda, Michael Pressberger, Nicholas Pevsner, Isaiah Berlin, Geoffrey Elton, the two Michael Howards, Solly Zuckerman.
He also had several meetings with Lewis Namier
, who had spent his childhood and youth in Eastern Galicia and championed the interests of Ukrainian peasants when he worked as a Foreign Office expert on Eastern Europe (Hunczak 1977; Baker 1998).
The references to the minutiae of George III and the grass roots of Jacksonian democracy were thinly veiled swipes at the British historian Sir Lewis Namier
and the American historian Lee Benson, and at political history in general.
He joined the newly founded British Institute of International Affairs and traveled extensively in its service, collaborating with groups like the Council on Foreign Relations and falling under the spells of the likes of Arnold Toynbee, Lewis Namier
, and Anthony Eden.