On Historical Distance
Conceptions of distance are foundational to historical thought, but Mark Salber Phillips gives the idea new subtlety and meaning. He argues that distance is a matter not just of time and space but also of form, affect, ideology, and understanding. In this exceptionally wide-ranging study, Phillips examines Renaissance, Enlightenment, and contemporary histories, as well as a broad spectrum of historical genres—including local history, literary history, counter-factual fiction, history painting, and museology.
“On Historical Distance is a fascinating and very important book that should be read by all historians. Beautifully written in elegant, economical and engaging prose, the book wears its considerable learning very lightly. A deeply original, challenging and thought-provoking study of the evolving history of history by one of our leading historians of historiography, this book should provoke a lively debate among historians and should be assigned as essential reading for classes on historical methods and historiography.”—John Marshall, John Hopkins University