A Little History of the World by E H Gombrich - review by Allan Massie

Allan Massie

A Big Read for Little People

A Little History of the World


Yale University Press 283pp £14.99

E H Gombrich is best known for his popular, and excellent, introduction to art history, The Story of Art, first published in 1950, translated into more than thirty languages, and still in print. No doubt some of Gombrich’s judgements have been superseded and some of his opinions seem dated. It still remains the case that anyone who has read The Story of Art can feel at ease in any of the great galleries of the Western world.

This little book is an earlier work. It was written in Vienna in the course of a few weeks in 1935, a chapter a day. The author was just twenty-five. In her introduction, his granddaughter explains how he went about it: ‘In the morning he would read up on the

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