It may be assumed that a bibliographical survey of a period of history is likely to reveal the nature, strengths and weaknesses of its historiography. This assumption depends to a large extent on the historical rather than bibliographical knowledge which the bibliographer brings to his work. So I would begin by pointing out two things which mere bibliography does not reveal about Victorian historiography. One is the influence upon it of works dealing with earlier, pre-Victorian periods. In any list of the ten most important works for the Victorian historian, one must include Namier's Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III and E. P. Thompson's Making of the English Working Class. Whatever one may think of these works, they are methodologically or ideologically seminal. A second thing not easily revealed by bibliography is the relative styles and types of work done in the United States as distinct from the United Kingdom. The British are more likely to write essays and biographies, and they have a near monopoly of social history; Americans, as everybody knows, are dreadfully monographic; as everybody may not know, they seem to have taken the lead in the field of intellectual history, perhaps because one may more readily depend on printed sources.
I should next like to venture some remarks about the relative importance of particular genres in Victorian historiography. The most obvious is that editions of printed sources are of rather less importance for so modern a period of history. Percentage figures are deceptive, however, because Parliamentary Papers and the periodical press are too numerous to be cited individually, and autobiographies and other contemporary works could only be cited sparingly. Thus, while the preparation of printed sources is only a small part of the work done in Victorian history, the actual amount of available printed sources is in fact overwhelming. To this must be added the increasing availability of such sources in microform or photoreproduction, which may well transform historical research. Another observation relevant to genres of historical writing is the much larger prominence of biography in the Victorian field. The taste for biography is itself a Victorian phenomenon, and in certain fields—I have elsewhere discussed its role in religious history— this genre may be unduly prominent, often resulting in a narrowly personalistic approach. Nonetheless, the monograph still dominates the field.