All the glitter of Paris easily outshone a story of impending change east of the Rhine. Yet although that story lacked the gloss of the Enlightenment, it turned out to have more significance for the writing of history than what had taken place in France and Britain. The confused organism of principalities and potential states that would later coalesce as ‘Germany’ had begun to acquire its own voice by 1800. It was a timid voice at first. German intellectuals stood in awe of French achievement and culture. They copied British historiographical models drawn in particular from Hume, Robertson and Gibbon.15 They shared a European fascination with Sir Walter Scott.16 In the last third of the eighteenth century the German-speaking world nevertheless gave rise to the most talented array of intellectuals, artists and poets that has been squeezed into one or two generations in modern times: Goethe, Kant, Herder, Schiller, Hegel, Beethoven, Heine, Schubert. Some of their achievement ran parallel with the Enlightenment and fed on what others had sown. But more was original and, so far as the central characteristics of Enlightenment thought went, counter-thematic. In sharing Sir Isaiah Berlin’s category of a ‘Counter-Enlightenment’ we are therefore calling attention to an important distinction rather than a frontal opposition.17 We shall dwell on it, nevertheless, because no other intellectual initiative has played so great a role in fashioning attitudes to modern historical thinking.