The leading light of the French Annales school revolutionised the writing of history by imbuing it with wider, holistic, narratives and literary flair, says Alexander Lee.
In the 18th century, when women in scholarship were not encouraged and medieval languages were little-studied even by men, Elizabeth Elstob become a pioneer in Anglo-Saxon studies, her work even finding its way into the hands of Thomas Jefferson.
John Aubrey, best known for his concise and incisive pen portraits of his 17th-century contemporaries, left no diary of his own. Ruth Scurr set herself the challenge of imagining one from the remnants of his life.
While we return again and again to the proto-historians of the classical world, we neglect those pioneering figures closer to us in space and time. Why is this, wonders Mathew Lyons?