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This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
Edward Gibbon came from an upper-middle-class family, the eldest of seven children. Gibbon's six siblings all died in infancy. He enrolled in Magdalen College, University of Oxford at the age of 15, and shortly thereafter became a Catholic. His father then sent him to Lausanne, where he lived with a Calvinist minister who swayed the young Gibbon back to Protestantism. Gibbon spent nearly five years in Switzerland, returning to England in 1758 and choosing to devote his life to studying and writing. In 1764, Gibbon visited Rome. While there, he was inspired to begin his great work, "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". These five volumes remain both a great work of history and a masterpiece of English prose. In 1774, after settling in London two years earlier, Gibbon was elected to parliament, where he spent 12 years as commissioner of trade and plantations. In spite of the fact that he was often ridiculed for his vanity, lack of height (he stood less than five feet tall), and extreme obesity, Gibbon was respected in English intellectual circles. Gibbon's lesser-known "Memoirs" is one of the most interesting autobiographies of its time.