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As Geoffrey Elton put it, ‘The future is dark; the present is burdensome; only the past, dead and finished, bears contemplation’.(1) We take the concept of ‘the past’ for granted, yet Schiffman argues that the notion of the past as a concept ‘began only fairly recently, during the Renaissance, and did not culminate until the eighteenth century, after which it acquired
One could perhaps argue that, so far as the popular academic imagination is concerned, America has never had much of a reputation so far as historical theory goes.
Hayden White is a controversial figure in the world of history. Study any textbook on the theory and philosophy of history, and you will be assured that his 1973 book Metahistory marked a revolutionary turning point in historical theory.
In History in the Discursive Condition (2011) – a follow up to her (for me) ground-breaking Realism and Consensus (1), and Sequel to History: Postmodernism and the Crisis of Representational Time (2) – Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth, a student of interdisciplinary cultural history and theory, explores the practical implicat
Over the past few decades we have been invited to rethink history, pursue it, practise it, defend it, refigure it, and generally consider what it is, what it’s for, and whether we really need to bother with it. Now, just as we think it must all be done and dusted, if not done to death, we are offered more advice on ‘doing’ it.
The somewhat conventional choice of jacket imagery – detail of Clio, the muse of history from Vermeer’s The Art of Painting – belies the ambitious aims of Dr Ulinka Rublack’s Concise Companion to History. It sets out to be a ‘guide to be inspired by and rethink history’ (p.
How far should the practising historian accept the conclusion of the idealist analysis of history carried out by Michael Oakeshott in Experience and Its Modes (1), probably the most brilliant book on the philosophy of history written in the first half of the 20th century (even possibly inc
Russell, Conrad Sebastian Robert, Fifth Earl Russell (1937–2004)
Charles Darwin died in April 1882 at which time William Bateson and Walter Weldon were still Cambridge undergraduates and, indeed, still friends. In later years their bitter feud over the mechanisms of inheritance, evolution, and, in particular, the status of 'Natural Selection', was to colour Darwinian studies throughout the 1890s and well beyond.
'It is not necessary to be dull to write about history', Ged Martin remarks (p. 8). One suspects that many historians would add, 'but it helps'. This book is a wonderful antidote to that excessive seriousness. The style is crisp, paradox and aphorism abound – 'historians love paradoxes', Martin says (p.