Namier, Sir Lewis Bernstein

Namier, Sir Lewis Bernstein nāmˈyər [key], 1888–1960, English historian, b. Poland. He attended the London School of Economics and Oxford and became professor at the Univ. of Manchester in 1931, teaching there until 1953. His greatest fame rests on his Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (1929, 2d ed. 1957). By minute biographical examination of the members of several parliaments, Namier determined that politics in the mid-18th cent. was controlled by a series of small and fluid groups and that self-interest was as important as great issues in dictating political allegiance. His method, which came to be called Namierism, was adopted by other historians and led to much reevaluation of English history. The Namierites have been criticized by scholars who feel that their method is not suitable for most periods of English history. Namier's studies of Europe before World War II include Diplomatic Prelude, 1938–1939 (1948), Europe in Decay (1950), and In the Nazi Era (1952). Among his other works is 1848: The Revolution of the Intellectuals (1946). He was an active Zionist, and from 1929 to 1931 he was political secretary of the Jewish Agency for Palestine. He was knighted in 1952.

See biographies by his wife, Julia Namier (1971) and L. Colley (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Historians, British and Irish: Biographies