A NN CURTHOYS JOHN DOCK ER

and

ANN CURTHOYS is a well-known historian and public intellectual. Her fields of expertise include: indigenous and migration history, feminist theory and the history of feminism, history of the media and popular culture, history of genocide in relation to settler colonialism, theories of history. She was GO8 Visiting Professor in Australian studies at Georgetown University,Washington DC, in 2003–04. Her most recent book, Freedom Ride: A Freedomrider Remembers, won the 2003 Stanner Award. JOHN DOCKER is a well-known literary and cultural critic, and public intellectual. He has written on Australian literary and cultural history; contemporary theories of culture, identity, colonialism, and diaspora; Orientalism and exoticism; monotheism and polytheism; and genocide in relation to both the Enlightenment and colonialism. His many books include Postmodernism and Popular Culture:A Cultural History (also translated into Chinese) and most recently 1492:The Poetics of Diaspora.

ANN CURTHOYS AND JOHN DOCKER

UNSW PRESS

In memory of Minoru Hokari, 1971–2004

A UNSW Press book Published by University of New South Wales Press Ltd University of New South Wales Sydney NSW 2052 AUSTRALIA www.unswpress.com.au © Ann Curthoys and John Docker 2006 First published 2006 This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Inquiries should be addressed to the publisher. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry Curthoys, Ann, 1945– . Is history fiction? Bibliography. Includes index. ISBN 0 86840 734 8. 1. Historiography. 2. History - Philosophy. I. Docker, John, 1945– . II.Title. 907.2 Design Di Quick Print Griffin

Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Herodotus and World History Thucydides Leopold von Ranke and Sir Walter Scott History, Science and Art Has History any Meaning? History in the Light of Catastrophe The Linguistic Turn The Feminist Challenge Postmodernism and Poststructuralism Anti-Postmodernism and the Holocaust History Wars Notes Index

vii 1 12 33 50 69 90 115 137 154 180 206 220 238 269

Acknowledgements

We have many people to thank. We warmly thank the many students involved in our ‘Writing History’ courses taught at the University of Technology, Sydney, in 1992 and 1994, and at the Australian National University in 1996 and 1999.We would also like to thank the ‘History and Theory’ students at ANU in first semester 2005. We thank the Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Centre at Bellagio for funding and supporting us for a one-month residency in February–March 2001, during which a first draft of the book was written. Special thanks to Susan Squier, Colette Daiute, Mark Blasius, Yvonne Jehenson and Peter Dunn for their interest in our project and helpful comments, and to Daphne Osborne whose impish sense of fun helped make our stay at Bellagio so pleasant. Intellectual conversation with the following people has helped us think through the issues essayed in this book: Ien Ang, Bain Attwood, Tony Ballantyne, Larissa Behrendt, Jane Bennett, Roland Boer, Alice Bullard, Antoinette Burton, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Graeme Clarke, Bill Connolly, Alex Cook, Bill Craven, Ned Curthoys, Joy Damousi, Desley Deacon, Greg Dening, Miriam Glucksmann, Heather Goodall, Patricia Grimshaw, Gavin

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Edwards, Gerhard Fischer, Chris Forth, Debjani Ganguly, Ann Genovese, Glenda Gilmore, Ian Higgins, Barry Higman, Subhash Jaireth, Carol Johnson, Rosanne Kennedy, Ben Kiernan, James Knapp, Marilyn Lake, Brij Lal, Stephanie Liau, Sarah Lloyd, Wendy Lower, Iain McCalman, Ann McGrath, Mark McKenna, Susan Magarey, Jill Matthews, John Maynard, Jenna Mead, Phillip Mead, Jon Mee, Donna Merwick, Nick Mirzoeff, Meaghan Morris, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Dirk Moses, Ilan Pappé, Senia Paseta, Frances PetersLittle, Aron Rodrigue, Craig Reynolds, Marsha Rosengarten, Lyndal Roper, Deborah Bird Rose, Gillian Russell, Lyndall Ryan, Sue Sheridan, Mary Spongberg, Nick Stargardt, Dan Stone, Stephanie Tarbin, Clara Tuite, Kathleen Wilson, Lorenzo Veracini, Christine Winter, Angela Woollacott. Our thanks to our colleagues at ANU, in the School of Humanities and the School of Social Sciences, and the Humanities Research Centre, as well as in the Research School of Social Sciences, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Faculty of Asian Studies, and the Centre for Cross Cultural Research. Our thanks also to the staff in the following libraries: ANU Library, Georgetown University Library, Library of Congress, the American Jewish Historical Society, the New York Public Library, the British Library. John would like to thank Colleen Chaston, his Greek language teacher in the Department of Classics at ANU in the Continuing Greek course, second semester, 2002. We would also like to express deep appreciation for our publisher Phillipa McGuinness, our copy editor extraordinaire Carla Taines, and master indexer Alan Walker. We also thank the editors of the journals which published our early forays into this field:
‘Is History Fiction?’, UTS Review: Cultural Studies and New Writing, vol.2, no.1, May 1996, pp.12–37 (special issue on ‘Is an Experimental History Possible?’). ‘The Two Histories: Metaphor in English Historiographical Writing’, Rethinking History:The Journal of Theory and Practice, vol.1, no.3, December 1997, pp.259–75. ‘Time, Eternity, Truth and Death: Allegory and History’, Humanities Research, no.1, 1999, pp.5–26.

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Introduction

Ilsa: Can I tell you a story, Rick? Rick: Has it got a wild finish? Ilsa: I don’t know the finish yet. Rick: Go on, tell it. Maybe one’ll come to you as you go along. Ilsa: It’s about a girl who had just come to Paris from her home in Oslo … (Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca) they [Australian Aboriginal people] believe European culture is in a state of epistemological chaos.White people, they say, don’t know what to remember and what to forget, what to let go of and what to preserve. They don’t know how to link the past with the present… (Deborah Bird Rose, Hidden Histories, 1992)1

What is history? asked E.H. Carr in his influential text of that name, first published in 1961, and reprinted endlessly since. Our question is more limited: is history fiction? Yet in asking if history is fiction, we are also seeking to explore Carr’s question, what is history? Like him, we ask about problems of historical truth, the relationship between the historian and the past, and questions of fact, value, and interpretation. Yet we differ from Carr in our
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interest in history’s literary aspects – constituted through language, narrative, metaphor, rhetoric, and allegory – and the connections we see between questions of literary form and the desire for historical truth. We have been working on this project for some years now, and when people hear our title – Is History Fiction? – they have one of three responses. Of course it is, one group of respondents will say, historians create histories from the perspective of their own time and place, and histories of the same events are thus rewritten, over and over. They see the analyses and narratives produced by historians working in a broad Western historiographical tradition as clearly deriving from one particular way of seeing the world, from particular ‘European’ notions of time and causal relationships. In these terms, works of history are felt to have no more, or less, truth-value than other ways of seeing, deriving from other worldviews.While such works of history claim to be detached, scientific and objective, they in fact seduce readers with the magic of narrative:‘It’s about a girl,’ says Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa in Casablanca, ‘who had just come to Paris from her home in Oslo …’. A second group answers just as firmly that of course history is not fiction. History is history, and fiction fiction, and the two have nothing in common. On the basis of a notion of fiction as that which is the product purely of invention and imagination, that which makes knowledge insecure, these respondents (usually historians themselves) see history as fiction’s antithesis. Where writers of fiction are free to imagine and create characters, events, places, even whole countries, and to set their stories in imagined times, the future as much as the past, historians are not. Historians, they point out, are tied inescapably to their records, whether these are documents, images, objects, sound recordings, or buildings, a variety of textual, visual and material residues from the past.They search for and through these records minutely and meticulously, but if vital information is missing, they cannot fill the gaps, cannot construct an imagined past and call it history. If information is overabundant, they must select from it using strict rules of relevance and representativeness. Certainly, most historians will say, they rely on interpretation, but, they will stress, they are also obliged to attempt to reconstruct the past as best they can from the evidence available. Historians resent the painstaking and detailed research they pursue, often taking years, being airily referred to as fiction by those who are not practising historians.2 And then there is a third, and by far the largest group, who reply ‘well, is

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it?’ When we say, well ‘yes and no’, they ask us not to sit on the fence, to speak up for history’s truth, or history’s literary qualities, or history’s entrapment in the present. For us, the question is extremely complex, and it will take us a book to answer it.

I
So, can historians tell the truth about the past? Should history be written for the present or for its own sake? Is it possible to see the past in its own terms? Should we make moral judgements about people and actions in the past? Are histories shaped by narrative conventions, so that their meaning derives from their form rather than the past itself? These are hardly new questions; historians are not and have never been united about how history ought to be written, and how true their histories are. One of the aims of this book is to show how historians have always pondered the problem of historical truth, and have always markedly differed over how to achieve it. Such differences are evident in the great works of Herodotus and Thucydides, the joint founding figures of Western historical writing; their divided and complex inheritance, in The Histories and History of the Peloponnesian War, has been argued over ever since, from antiquity to the present.The play of differences and similarities between Herodotus and Thucydides has implications for the gendering of historical writing, and also for the problem of what should be the proper focus of historical enquiry. Should historical investigation focus on the sphere of the political, military and diplomatic, and the actions of states? Or should historical research cast its gaze much more widely, on processes that are everyday, that are social, cultural, religious, erotic, and extend over longer time periods than is usually encompassed by a focus on war and crisis? In the modern era, a touchstone for such debates is Leopold von Ranke’s famous manifesto-like endlessly influential phrase coined in the 1820s: historians, he declared, must seek to show the past ‘as it actually/essentially was’ – wie es eigentlich gewesen.3 Ranke’s views on how to write history, so formative for modern historical practice, we will consider in chapter 3, with, we think, surprising results. The question ‘is history fiction?’, we have found, attracts considerable

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interest. One reason, perhaps, is that the increased public and legal scrutiny of history and historians has led to greater public interest in the old and fundamental question ‘what happened?’ History has become a source of public debate and anxiety in many societies in recent years, as differences between historians about the past have become the site for major political contestation and discussion. Sometimes these are debates over alleged wartime atrocities, as in Japan (over the Nanjing massacre in China) and the United States (the Enola Gay and the bombing of Hiroshima). In other cases, it is the very foundation of the nation that is in question, as in Australia’s ‘history wars’ over the degree of violence in the course of British settlement. In these debates, nationalist historians seek to justify and praise the nation through a particular version of its past, while revisionist historians aim to question national historical myths through what they see as an honest coming to terms with its darker aspects. These revisionists are then themselves challenged, or revised, with conservative historians fiercely critiquing historical narratives that suggest, for example, that European settler societies were founded in violence, dispossession, cruelty and trauma for the indigenous inhabitants. Public debates in postcolonial societies have been extremely varied, ranging from the examination of the experience of the apartheid years in the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa to the question of the relationship between Asian immigrants and past and ongoing dispossession of the indigenous people in Hawaii.4 These public debates over the national past place specific pressures on historians, and give added urgency to the question ‘is history fiction?’. Public audiences want what historians say to be true, and do not like it when historians disagree among themselves or suggest that a true answer may never be found. If the question is important, there must be a correct answer; to say there are many truths sounds like obfuscation, fence-sitting, and avoiding one’s public responsibilities. Public (and student) expectations of absolute truth lead to a situation where the boundaries between interpretation, error, and ‘fabrication’ become obscured. In the process of battling it out in the public sphere, historians learn, sometimes at considerable personal cost, that they are even more divided than they knew on issues fundamental to their discipline, such as whether documents can ‘speak for themselves’, the relationship between ‘fact’ and ‘interpretation’, and the role of moral judgment in history. We explore these debates in more detail in chapter 11.

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II

We should make it clear from the outset that we do indeed believe in truth and in the search for truth. No one – including us – would do history, would pursue historical research, unless she and he thought they could arrive, however provisionally, at some kind of truth about the past.We think, however, that the temptation to declare that the historian can objectively establish the truth about the past is to be resisted. There always has to be a question mark hovering over any claim to have attained an objective, let alone scientific, status for one’s findings. It is this paradox – the necessity for and difficulty of finding truth in history – that we explore in this book. Poststructuralism and postmodernism have frequently been perceived as a major threat to the project of scientific objective writing and therefore a threat to the very survival of history as a discipline and profession, as the title of one book putting this case, The Killing of History, indicates.5 They seem to induce epistemological vertigo, shortness of intellectual breath, sense of convulsive death to the West. In their radical questioning of Western historical discourse, indeed of the ability of language itself to refer straightforwardly to a world external to it, poststructuralism and postmodernism have been taken to suggest in an absolute way – wrongly, we will suggest – that the past can never be recovered, that the historical project is impossible, and that history cannot but live by its own fictions, its quixotic belief in its own truth. Recognising this way of interpreting postmodernism as endangering history’s continued existence and survival as a profession, many historians attack it as ahistorical, a fatal betrayal. If we cannot see a historical account as true, they ask, then why bother with the difficult and time-consuming processes of research at all? Can the document tell us nothing? Can’t we find out anything? Nevertheless, some cultural theorists’ discussions of history and fiction do indeed come perilously close to denying the value of the discipline of history altogether.We find, for example, the work of the postmodern historical thinker Keith Jenkins to be very problematic in this respect. In ReThinking History (1991), Jenkins ascribes an ideological importance to moral relativism and epistemological scepticism as the ‘basis for social toleration and the positive recognition of differences’. Yet Jenkins’ metaphors for the

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relationship between the historian in the present and whatever occurred in the past are disturbingly loose and even rather careless. Jenkins feels that the ‘past and history float free of each other, they are ages and miles apart’, and he replaces any language of facts with ‘raw material’ and ‘all that stuff ’. Jenkins appears to give absolute primacy to the present, as if a trifle contemptuous of the past, when he writes that historians ‘invent all its descriptive categories and any meanings it can be said to have’.6 In his later On ‘What is History?’ (1995), in the context of arguing that the past can be seen as ‘simply waiting for meanings and purposes to be ascribed to it’, Jenkins writes that in this sense the ‘past can be described as an utterly “promiscuous past”, a past which will, as it were, go with anybody; a sort of loose past which we can all have; the sort of past that is, arguably, not much use having in the first place’.7 Here Jenkins is drawing on curiously traditional sexual metaphors of contempt and disdain for the past. Our approach rejects both this kind of extreme relativism, and historians who claim an absolute objectivity for their findings and interpretations. In our view, the search for historical truth brings with it not a rejection but rather a greater awareness of the cultural specificity and the necessary limitations of historical practice. A self-conscious recognition of the fictive elements in historical writing, we argue, strengthens – not weakens – the search for truth. The historian, in being more open about his or her active role in representing the past, assists the reader to approach histories of all kinds (in books, film, video, television, museum exhibition, historic site) with appropriate suspicion. The historian does not assume or claim omniscient knowledge, or suggest that the historical sources can be read and presented as if the past is speaking in the present, unassisted, unmediated in extensive and complex ways. It is possible to respond to the challenge of cultural theory with a desire to explore the possibilities of kinds of historical writing that seek to relate multiple narratives, and to self-reflexively foreground our awareness of our own present relation to the past. Further, and this point is very important for our book, such historical awareness and writing, we will suggest, is not a discovery of contemporary ‘postmodern’ literary and philosophical theory, but is present at the very birth of Western historical writing itself, in the protean figure of Herodotus: a postmodern historian, we might say, avant la lettre.8

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III

In debates on the question of history, the Holocaust is often referred to as proof of the dangerous absurdity of the ideas of those who see strong fictive elements in the historical enterprise. Poststructuralist and postmodernist historians are accused – wrongly, as we argue in chapter 10 – of removing the grounds for opposing Holocaust denialism.Yet it seems to us that in the case of a historical event as profound as the Holocaust, it is particularly important to scrutinise the practices of historians, to notice the political and historical specificity of histories of the Holocaust.9 A methodological principle of Michel Foucault was to suggest that any notion or concept has its own history, its own context and conditions of coming into being. Peter Novick’s The Holocaust and Collective Memory: The American Experience outlines a postwar history for the Holocaust as a concept, with a capital ‘H’. In particular, he suggests that in the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s there was no developed concept of the Holocaust because of the cold war and an American desire to minimise criticism of postwar Germany, now an ally. The specific concept of the Holocaust as referring to the murder of six million European Jews developed during the 1960s and has become institutionalised in all sorts of ways in American life, including in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. Novick points to how much the concept of the Holocaust has been used by various political organisations and groups for their own specific ideological ends. He also refers to the angry critiques by Native American and African American writers protesting at what appears to them as an attempt to sequester the term holocaust so that it can only refer to a World War II catastrophe that occurred in Europe, rather than to catastrophes that occurred as well in North America, in its history as a settler-colony. Novick quotes James Baldwin’s sad caustic observations made in the latter 1960s on the gathering view that American Jews were somehow the quintessential victim community in the United States:
One does not wish … to be told by an American Jew that his suffering is as great as the American Negro’s suffering. It isn’t, and one knows that it isn’t from the very tone in which he assures you that it is… It is not here, and not now, that the Jew is being slaughtered, and he is never despised, here, as the Negro is, because he is an American.The Jewish

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travail occurred across the sea and America rescued him from the house of bondage. But America is the house of bondage for the Negro, and no country can rescue him.

In this powerful passage, Baldwin suggests that white Americans are performing an act of displacement, that they cannot bear to confront the history of mass death and cruelty that occurred in the United States itself, the history that was and is the condition for the emergence of the white nation. White Americans cannot bear to confront the horror of what their forebears have done in their name, the originary horror by which they exist, build a society, prosper, and attempt to dominate the world. They cannot bear, that is, to possess – as Baldwin does – a tragic consciousness. Novick’s historiographical point is that the Holocaust as an idea in American life can never be a given, an agreed understanding, but itself has a history, shaped in part by the United States’ own riven traumatic history of colonialism, slavery, and race relations.10 If ever there was an event, or series of events, more likely to be open to a range of interpretations, historical representations, metaphoric and figurative understandings, surely the Holocaust is it.11

IV
The act of remembrance through history, the desire to impose ‘form on formless time’, lies deep in Western culture.12 In Western societies historical thinking is inescapable, we cannot think without or beyond distinctions between future, present, and past. This is not the case in all cultures, as Claude LéviStrauss remarked: historical thinking is not necessary thinking, is not essential to our humanity.13 The anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose tells us (see our second epigraph) that Australian Aboriginal people find Westerners’ sense of the past very odd. For many Aboriginal peoples, past and present are linked indissolubly through place and belonging; the idea of a past separate from the present, to be understood in terms other than those of the present, is strange indeed. The Western-ness of history poses problems for writing the history of non-western peoples and societies. In his Provincializing Europe (2000), Dipesh Chakrabarty investigates the problem of trying to write the history

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of a country like India.14 Modern history, he argues, is a European discourse, for the very idea of historicising carries with it some peculiarly European assumptions about disenchanted space, secular time, and human sovereignty. Yet European historical approaches remain essential and inescapable if we wish to understand history on a more global scale. European thought, then, ‘is both indispensable and inadequate in helping us to think through the various life practices that constitute the political and the historical in India’.15 Chakrabarty helps us see the specificity of professional history as a practice.Yet, in pointing to history’s inescapable Europeanness, he also oversimplifies it. His argument carries the danger of homogenising Western historical writing from Herodotus and Thucydides onwards, especially in seeing it as necessarily and consistently secularist, rationalist, and universalist. Talal Asad is more precise in his Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (2003) when he links secularism and its rationalist and universalist assumptions to a specific phase in Western history, to modernity and especially liberalism.16 Historical thinking has been continuously influenced in profound ways by the West’s classical and Judeo-Christian heritage. In the classical heritage there is an unresolved tension between secular and sacred/mythic conceptions of history. Herodotus considered that the gods intervened in historical happenings (The Histories, 9.100). Thucydides in History of the Peloponnesian War wonders if the terrible plague that descended on the Athenians and the Athenians alone, not their enemies the Spartans, soon after the war began may have been a divine judgement (1.23, 2.54). Judaic narratives, as in the stories in Exodus of servitude in Egypt, flight through the desert and revelation on Mt Sinai, are conceived as historical; in Judaic thought more generally, history is unpredictable, the messianic, or catastrophic, may occur at any moment, unrelated to previous patterns of events. In Christianity, the stories of Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and resurrection are conceived as historical, the basis of Western calendrical time. Notions of the centurial, the fin de siècle, and the millennium recurrently intensify the salience of Western calendrical time, with an accompanying abundance of visions of utopia and dystopia, foreboding, dread, and hope.17 Modern scientific history may attempt to present history as secular, but European and Western historical writing both past and present has many religious, sacred, and mythic elements. In this book, we evoke in

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‘postsecularist’ fashion the Western experience and phenomenology of time as double, as secular yet also sacred and mythic. Secular time is as if a line, unbroken, continuous, homogeneous. But time is also as if a substance – sacred, mythic, messianic, prophetic, apocalyptic, millennial, miraculous, nostalgic.18

V
A note on our working method in this book. In the introduction to Orientalism, the late Edward W. Said wished to modify Foucault’s approach to the history of ideas, which was to focus on a kind of impersonal discourse as if it contained no particular authors. To the contrary, Said would focus on the contribution to the making of ideas and discourses by particular intellectual personalities. This will be our approach. Names like Herodotus, Thucydides, Sir Walter Scott, Ranke, Lord Acton, J.B. Bury, Francis Cornford, George Macaulay Trevelyan, Benedetto Croce, Herbert Butterfield, Walter Benjamin, Raphaël Lemkin, Hannah Arendt, Mary Beard, Carr, J.H. Hexter, Foucault, Gerda Lerner, Hayden White, Anna Davin, Sheila Rowbotham, Natalie Zemon Davis, Lois Banner, Joan Scott, Daqing Yang will be somewhat like characters in a historical novel, or figures in a tapestry. We might even think of them in the way that the philosophers Deleuze and Guattari in What is Philosophy? have considered important and enduring philosophers in history as ‘conceptual personae’ or ‘thought figures’, or the ways Arendt in Men in Dark Times discussed thinkers in terms of biography, anecdote, vignette, and social genealogy.19 It is only in considering key books or essays by particular historians with particular ‘intellectual personalities’ and sensibilities that the historian of ideas can reveal the ambivalences, contradictions, and quirkiness that ‘grain’ intellectual history and make it so interesting. So we investigate what historians say they do, and what they do.We are interested in their commitments and obsessions, their passions, especially their frequent desire to play an important advisory role in the Western nation-state. We are interested in their bodies, even their dress, how they wish to appear to the world.We are interested in historians’ dreams and nightmares, their inevitable eccentricities and idiosyncrasies.

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VI

The frequent opposition in modernity between history and literature has left many historians scarcely able to recognise history’s inescapably literary qualities. History cannot escape literature, as Hayden White, one of the writers who has most insisted on the fictive character of history, has famously suggested. History cannot escape literature because it cannot escape itself: history presents the results of its enquiries, its research, as narrative, and so necessarily enters into and partakes of the world of literary forms.We also agree with White that literary qualities and literary forms and genres are not something decorative or merely added to an account or analysis, but help explain what the historian in the present takes to be the meaning of past events and occurrences.

VII
Our general argument will be that the very doubleness of history – in the space between history as rigorous scrutiny of sources and history as part of the world of literary forms – gives it ample room for uncertainty, disagreement, and creativity.20 And perhaps this doubleness is the secret of history’s cunning as a continuing practice, an inventive, self-transforming discipline. Herein lies our enjoyment of, our fascination with, our affection for, our love of, history. We also recognise that history’s doubleness, its divided character from its very beginning, means that it is also frequently at war with itself. It is a scene of differences and disputes, sometimes amiable and cooperative, sometimes angry and bitter. Given history’s doubleness, such differences and disputes are inevitable, often dramatic, and always interesting: they, too, are part of history’s very nature.

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CHAPTER 1

Herodotus and World History

I went once to a certain place in Arabia … to make inquiries concerning the winged serpents … The story goes, that with the spring the winged snakes come flying from Arabia towards Egypt, but are met in this gorge by the birds called ibises, who forbid their entrance and destroy them all.The Arabians assert, and the Egyptians also admit, that it is on account of the service thus rendered that the Egyptians hold the ibis in so much reverence … The winged serpent is shaped like the water-snake. Its wings are not feathered, but resemble very closely those of the bat. And thus I conclude the subject of the sacred animals. (Herodotus, 2.75–6)1 For myself, my duty is to report all that is said; but I am not obliged to believe it all alike – a remark which may be understood to apply to my whole History. (Herodotus, 7.152)

In the fifth century BCE Herodotus, the historian of the wars between Persia and Greece, and Thucydides, the historian of the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta later in the century, established Western historical writing. They are its undisputed foundational figures, recognised as such in the ancient world itself and for ever after. Yet the kind of history they inaugurated has

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always been in dispute.2 In his The Greek Historians (1997), T.J. Luce tells us that the Roman statesman Cicero cited Herodotus as the Father of History, but almost in the same breath referred to him as a purveyor of countless tall tales.Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Herodotus, especially in his stories of the wonders of Arabia, was accused of being the Father of Lies, and a reputation as the Great Liar has continued: not only was he a Great Liar in his frequent fantastical storytelling and apparent gullibility, but he was never the great traveller and first-hand observer of customs in many and diverse lands he claimed to be; he never went to places like Lower Egypt, Babylon, and the Black Sea.3 Thucydides has always been held to be a far more focussed and disciplined historian than Herodotus; yet the austere temper of his history too has frequently been discussed in terms of its possible relations to Greek tragedy, medical theories of diagnosis, and pre-Socratic philosophy.4 These varied readings indicate a foundational ambiguity in Herodotus and Thucydides themselves, in how they conceived the historical enterprise. In this and the following chapter we argue that Herodotus and Thucydides established the curious doubleness of history: history as a sustained inquiry into the past; history as literary, engaged in narrative, history as drama, engaged in the creation of scenes, characters, and speeches.5

I
We will begin with the earlier historian. In our view, Herodotus’ The Histories created for the continuing future of historical writing a cosmopolitan international mode of world history. Here we sharply diverge from conventional approaches that argue for the value of Herodotus because his stories can be seen as revealing ancient Greek historical consciousness. François Hartog, for example, introduces The Mirror of Herodotus (1988) by claiming that through Herodotus we can discover how the Greeks of the classical period saw nonGreeks, how Greece saw its others, for as Herodotus travelled the world and told of it, he set that world within the ‘context of Greek knowledge’ and hence ‘constructed for the Greeks a representation of their own recent past’. For Hartog, there is interchangeability between the Greek world and the world created in Herodotus’ book.6 The Histories, we argue to the contrary, does not assume the centrality of

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Greek culture and history.The work is anti-nationalist and anti-ethnocentric, Herodotus announcing in his very opening sentence that he wishes to preserve from decay ‘the great and wonderful actions of the Greeks and Barbarians’; neither Greeks nor Persians are to lose ‘their due meed of glory’. The Histories reveals a sophisticated methodology that at once creates and disperses meanings and interpretations, a pluralising methodology that anticipates contemporary literary and cultural theory, especially if we think of three of modernity’s greatest literary philosophers: Walter Benjamin, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Jacques Derrida. Since The Histories appeared near the beginning of the Greek prose tradition, we can say that the birth of history is in effect coincident with the birth of prose. Sometimes extended stories in The Histories read like novellas, and the effect of the whole, in terms of created characters, reading of dreams and omens and prophecies, exploring of dilemmas, dramatic speeches, reported actions, fantastical ethnography, is novelistic. We see Herodotus as a kind of outsider figure in relation to any settled ethnic or national identity. He owed and professed in The Histories no fealty to any particular Greek nation-state, and in part was an outsider to Greekness itself, free to be as critical – or admiring – of any Greek society as of any other society in the worlds, far and near, that he knew or knew of. He was born in Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum, on the Aegean coast of Turkey), possibly in 484 BCE, and died soon after 430 BCE, probably in the panhellenic Greek city of Thurii in southern Italy. On his father’s side, it would appear that Herodotus was not Greek but Carian, the Carians being the native people in the hinterland of Halicarnassus, a city that in his earliest years was part of the Persian Empire. Halicarnassus was a city on the margins, of the Persian Empire, of Ionia, and of the non-Greek hinterland. Herodotus claimed to have spent most of his life travelling, with extended stays on the island of Samos, in Athens, and elsewhere in Greece as well as extensively in eastern and Mediterranean societies. In the Greece and wider world of his day, travel was frequent by itinerant philosophers and thinkers, and in this sense Herodotus can be considered a cosmopolitan intellectual-traveller-flâneur in an internationally connected world that often valued the viewpoint and knowledge of the outsider, the stranger, who could arbitrate local differences and suggest alternatives. As we shall see, the enemy of such wisdom was always the hubris of rulers.7 In The Histories, Herodotus makes it clear that offering hospitality, haven, sustenance and kindness to travellers, supplicants, refugees and exiles was part

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of international law that stretched at least from Egypt and Persia to Greece (1.73; 2.115; 5.51; 6.70; 7.104; 9.76). Kindness to messengers and ambassadors was also part of international law. At one point in The Histories Herodotus refers to the outraging of such law by Athens and Sparta who had brutally killed messengers sent by the Persian king Darius (7.133). He relates the anger and contempt of the Persian king Xerxes who, recalling this ‘former outrage’, said ‘with true greatness of soul’ to some heralds of the Lacedaemonians (Spartans) who had come to apologise, that ‘he would not act like the Lacedaemonians, who, by killing the heralds, had broken the laws which all men hold in common’ (7.136). As it turned out, many years later the sons of the two Lacedaemonians, who had come as ambassadors to Xerxes on this mission of apology, were put to death by the Athenians. The narrator of The Histories suggests that manifest here in such retribution might be ‘the hand of Heaven’ (7.137). A signal aspect of The Histories is the number of stories and digressions (logoi) that are highly critical of the Greek city-states, not sparing even democratic Athens from stories of prejudice, ignorance, cruelty, treachery, and betrayal. Herodotus refers to the Greeks frequently telling ‘many tales without due investigation’, for example, that the Egyptians engaged in human sacrifices. Of a story that Heracles only just escaped being sacrificed in Egypt, Herodotus comments: ‘Now it seems to me that such a story proves the Greeks to be utterly ignorant of the character and customs’ of the Egyptians (2.45). Herodotus tells the story of the escape from Sparta of Demaratus, a deposed king distinguished among the Lacedaemonians for many noble deeds (including winning at Olympia the prize in the four-horse chariot-race) and wise counsels; Demaratus, fleeing his countrymen who were pursuing him, made his way by sea to Asia, and presented himself before King Darius, who granted him exile and received him generously, giving him both lands and cities (6.70). Herodotus also suggests that the woes that befell the Greeks during the wars with the Persians were caused partly by internal contentions between the Greeks themselves, with some Greek states looking to rewards from the Persians and ready to ‘betray’ their country (6.98, 100).The Greeks were not blameless victims. King Xerxes felt that it was necessary to wreak vengeance upon the Athenians for they had made unprovoked attacks upon the Persians (7.8). The Histories refers to a story where the Persians express astonishment at what they see as the almost incomprehensible levels of

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internecine violence and warfare among the Greeks. Mardonius, one of Xerxes’ chief military commanders, comments:‘these very Greeks are wont to wage wars against one another in the most foolish way, through sheer perversity and doltishness’. Instead of interchanging heralds and messengers and making up their differences ‘by any means rather than battle’, the Greeks attempt to destroy each other, with the conquerors usually departing with great losses, while the conquered are ‘destroyed altogether’ (7.9). In the decisive sea battle won by the Greeks, the Athenian commanders like Themistocles were not above corruption and bribery (8.4–5), while some of the Ionian Greeks who fought on the Persians’ side ‘saw with pleasure the attack on Greece’, vying eagerly with each other ‘which should be the first to make prize of an Athenian ship, and thereby to secure himself a rich reward from the king’ (8.10). Once the Greek fleet had won, and the Persians had fled the scene of battle and sped towards the Hellespont, the Greeks (in this case the Athenians) immediately laid siege to their fellow Greeks in the vicinity, demanding large sums from islanders like the Carystians and the Parians, who gave it to them out of fear. The inhabitants of the isle of Andros, however, resisted paying. To Themistocles’ declaration that the money must needs be paid, as the Athenians had brought with them two mighty gods, to wit, Persuasian and Necessity, the Andrians replied that they were wretchedly poor, stinted for land, and cursed with two unprofitable gods, who always dwelt with them and would never quit their island, namely Poverty and Helplessness (8.111–12). Unheeding, the Athenians then laid siege to Andros, an action which perhaps prefigured the imperial arrogance in the Athenian empire that developed after the defeat of Persia. The episode anticipates the famous Melian Dialogue of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. Themistocles distinguished himself in these rapacious actions. Certainly he was clever. He had after all advised the Athenians how to interpret the crucial oracle before the war, that said ‘Safe shall the wooden wall continue for thee and thy children’ and ‘Holy Salamis, thou shalt destroy the offspring of women’. Themistocles convinced his fellow citizens that these images meant that it was the Persians who would be destroyed by the Athenians’ wooden ships at Salamis (7.141–3). And in war he was resourceful, cunning, and successful. But Themistocles was also a war profiteer, secretive (receiving money without telling the other captains), and willing to betray his fellow Greeks for his own safety and gain if the occasion required it (8.111–12).

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The Greeks could commit extraordinary cruelties.While Xerxes returned to Persia, his general Mardonius decided to attack the city of Athens again, but found it empty, the Athenians having withdrawn to their ships or to Salamis:‘he only gained possession of a deserted town’. Mardonius despatched a Hellespontine Greek to the Athenians to offer them terms; when Lycidas, one of the Athenian councillors, gave his opinion that the Persian proposals be heard by the council and also be submitted to an assembly of the people, the Athenians became enraged and, surrounding Lycidas, stoned him to death; when the Athenian women heard about Lycidas, they flocked to Lycidas’ house, where they stoned to death his wife and children (9.3–5). So critical on many occasions are the stories of The Histories against the Greeks that Plutarch in his ‘On the Malice of Herodotus’ accused Herodotus of being philobarbaros, too fond of foreigners and the viewpoints of foreigners, malicious towards his fellow Greeks.8 Far from expressing or reflecting Greek consciousness, then, Herodotus remains detached, adopting in antiquity what we might refer to now – if we think of twentieth-century philosophers, literary critics, and jurists like Hannah Arendt, Jaspers, Bakhtin,Auerbach, Spitzer, Lemkin, Edward Said – as world thought, world culture, world literature, world history.9 Raphaël Lemkin, the great Polish-Jewish jurist who formulated the notion of genocide in his 1944 Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, wrote in his autobiographical fragment ‘Totally Unofficial Man’ that from his time as a refugee fleeing Poland in 1939 he wished his life to proceed by enlarging the concept of world-awareness, or rather the oneness of the world.10 Herodotus also anticipates the thought of Lemkin in not positing history as a delusory or comforting narrative of progress.11 As Herodotus wrote in The Histories, ‘nothing is impossible in the long lapse of ages’ (5.9), and such could include the very worst as well as the very best of human possibilities; either could occur at any moment.

II
Herodotus pursues a double desire in The Histories: a desire to find truth if he can; and a desire to record stories even where truth is impossible to ascertain. In terms of the first desire, Herodotus wishes his historia to be a disciplined

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enquiry, based on research, observation, scepticism about information, and the weighing and evaluating of different reports and viewpoints (5.86). He also believes that historical enquiry should observe protocols of research, for example, that as someone who had been initiated into the Mysteries by the Egyptian priests, he should not divulge secret knowledge: ‘What they [the priests of Heliopolis] told me concerning their religion it is not my intention to repeat’ (2.3; also 2.46–7, 61, 65, 132, 160, 170–1; also, apropos the holy orgies of the Epidaurians, 5.83). The historian has a responsibility to his informants; he must maintain a scrupulous research ethics. The historian desires, then, to find the truth of the past, especially if an event or happening or attitude can be corroborated (2.150), or he knew directly of it himself, or if he can decide that one account rather than another is to be believed as ‘the truth of this matter’ (3.2; also 8.103). Yet often, indeed very often, Herodotus will as part of his method admit that there is no way for him to decide between various stories or to verify this or that story by research or his own presence. In this case, he will record stories without deciding on the truth of the matter: ‘Such as think the tales told by the Egyptians credible are free to accept them for history. For my own part, I propose to myself throughout my whole work faithfully to record the traditions of the several nations’ (2.123). In this spirit of reporting what he has heard, Herodotus tells stories of African societies and regions that are far beyond Egypt, tales often wondrous, marvellous, fantastical, yet possibly true: we can never, says Herodotus, know from our present researches. The Carthaginians report the existence of an island, Cyraunis, where there is a lake ‘from which the young maidens of the country draw up gold-dust, by dipping into the mud birds’ feathers smeared with pitch.’ Herodotus continues:‘If this be true, I know not; I but write what is said’ (4.195; also 5.32, 45, 86). Hoping for truth but unsure on so many occasions that he will with any certainty reach it (6.14, 82, 124; 8.8), Herodotus’ characteristic method in The Histories is to proceed by assembling more than one story, perhaps two or three or four, about an event.The narrative effect is profusion close to incoherence and chaos, with stories often differing because told by different groups in a conflict, creating contradictory viewpoints and complexity. Herodotus announces this method of recording multiple narratives in the wonderful opening pages of The Histories on the beginnings of the conflict between East and West. Here Herodotus refers to ancient stories that involve

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the capture of women, or, as he says, from another point of view, the choice of women to pursue a love that goes beyond the borders of peoples and groups.The consequences of such events reverberate through the generations, their meaning continuously disputed by Persians, Greeks, Phoenicians,Trojans (1.1–5). In this opening section Herodotus himself explicitly declines to pronounce on the truth of any one account or interpretation or memory held by the various nations, for such, he feels, is not possible. Rather, the opening pages are a kind of allegory for the method of the rest of The Histories. The opening pages suggest that history, the history of any event, begins with logoi (myths, fables, opinions, traditions of interpretation, rumours, claims), logoi that are often incompatible, maintained by different people and peoples, about past acts of violence, cycles of revenge, bitterness, resentments, that live fatally on into the present. For Herodotus, then, the history of any event begins with a kind of surplus or excess of stories about that event.The remainder of The Histories, as it explores in terms of social history and ethnography Lydia, or Ionia, or the Massagetae, or Egypt, or Medea and Persia, or the Scythians and Amazons, or Libya and Africa, or the Thracians, or Athens or Sparta, sustains that opening richness of storytelling. Often the stories involve a party in a dispute, or people wanting to found a colony, or make war, sending envoys to Delphi (or another oracle somewhere else), who receive a riddling answer in verse (deploying metaphors always needing to be ‘read’) from the Pythia, which is taken back to the community, whose leading people then have to interpret – or, frequently, misinterpret – what they think it means.And if they misinterpret, through the hubris of wanting to believe that history will fulfill their dreams of greatness (as with kings and empires), then disaster and destruction will follow. In Herodotus’ view, every act involves interpretation. The participants in history are always attempting to interpret oracles, sacrifices, omens, prophecies, prodigies, wonders, marvels, dreams, and the historian is always discussing their interpretations as they bear on this or that situation. What is methodologically interesting about The Histories is how explicit Herodotus is about these processes. In postmodern terms, we would say that he is highly selfreflexive in making clear to the reader at all times what he is doing. In terms of such self-reflexivity, Herodotus frequently uses the ‘I’ voice, intervening to tell the reader what his research protocols are, whether or not

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such and such a claim might be true, or the source of a story. Herodotus establishes the ‘I’ voice at the beginning of Western history.

III
Why did Herodotus write The Histories in prose, in what was then a relatively new literary form? Why did he choose prose over poetry? Some of the stories of the opening section of The Histories involve the flight of Alexander, son of the Trojan king Priam with Helen the Lacedaemonian princess: from its very beginning The Histories throws out a challenge to the inherited authority of Homer’s Iliad in wishing to establish a rival mode of historical writing and memory. Herodotus suggests that poetry brings with it a kind of iron determinism, it demands completion, in the case of epic poetry the completion of punishment. Where epic poetry like The Iliad will rigidly pursue narratives that might be highly improbable, prose is more flexible, more worldly; prose can entertain all sorts of possibilities and play stories one against the others – Herodotus’ characteristic method in The Histories. Herodotus makes explicit his preference for prose over poetry as the medium of history in a discussion of key events in The Iliad in book 2 (sections 113–20) of The Histories, the book devoted to exploring the ethnography and customs of pharaonic Egypt. In The Iliad there is never any doubt that Helen came with Alexander to Troy, where she takes up residence with his family, the ruling family of the city, and indeed makes a powerful and moving speech as catastrophe looms for the Trojans. Herodotus, however, asks the Egyptian priests what they know of a quite different story concerning Helen, that after her abduction Alexander came with Helen from Sparta to Egypt (they were taking refuge from a storm), where, contrary to what occurs in The Iliad, Helen is detained by the Egyptian ruler, later to be joined by her husband Menelaus, who was met ‘with the utmost hospitality, received Helen back unharmed, and recovered all his treasures’ (2.119). Herodotus in any case thinks it highly unlikely, even if Helen had reached Troy with Alexander, that Alexander’s father King Priam would have allowed the war to go on for so long with their city facing disaster and Priam’s sons one after another being killed in battle. Priam and Alexander’s older brother

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Hector and the Trojans would have given Helen up to the Greeks:‘For surely neither Priam, nor his family, could have been so infatuated as to endanger their own persons, their children, and their city, merely that Alexander might possess Helen’ (2.120). In this view, the Trojans ‘had no Helen to deliver, and so they told the Greeks, but the Greeks would not believe what they said’ (2.120). Herodotus says Homer knew the story of Helen not leaving Egypt with Alexander, but discounted it because he wished his epic to show the harsh divine retribution that necessarily follows when great wrongs are done (2.116). Herodotus, by contrast, chooses a procedure where he permits multiple stories to surround an event, so that the notion of historical necessity is always open to question.12 Where The Iliad is composed in a single tragic key, Herodotus constructs The Histories in terms of a free-wheeling multiplicity of genres, which, like the many stories he tells, play off against each other, sometimes tragic, ironic, comic. For Herodotus, it is prose and only prose that can give such freedom to historical writing. Herodotus, that is, challenges and overturns what he sees as the rigidity of poetry with a kind of carnivalesque gusto, a flood of genres and tones, from melancholy to wry humour to a relishing of storytelling itself; a relishing that goes very close to self-parody in telling stories that are frequently extreme or extravagant or wildly improbable.13

IV

In its interplay of multiple storytelling and adventures of interpretation, The Histories creates its true subject, world history itself,14 a history without any necessary progress for humanity. In The Histories, world history is the exploration of what might prove to be the salient, enduring, or permanent features of human history. Let’s take the power of women in history, for in The Histories world history is not androcentric, it does not assume that women recede from view, nor does it only foreground as the proper sphere of historical writing the actions of male rulers or male warriors or the state or interactions of states. Nor are women idealised nor held to be incapable of violence and cruelty. From its

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very beginning, Herodotus instates world history as gender-inflected.15 The Histories, we saw, begins with an explosion of stories that refer to the power of women in history, in terms of their choices, as perceived causes for outraged honour and ruthless war, as subjects of competing embittered interpretation, as performing sacred offices, as mythological beings. Throughout The Histories we see the power of the Pythia, the priestesses at Delphi and elsewhere who bring to supplicants the riddling advice of Apollo, the god of prophecy (e.g. 1.91 refers to how the foolish king Croesus misinterprets the god’s oracle delivered by the Pythia, thus losing his empire to the Persian king Cyrus; also 2.54–7). In expansionist mood, the Scythians in one period of their history defeat the Medes and become masters of Asia; they decide to invade Egypt, but when they get to Palestine the Egyptians persuade them by gifts and prayers to advance no further. Returning through Ascalon in Syria, some of the Scythians pillage the temple of Celestial Aphrodite; the goddess punishes those who did the plundering by inflicting them ‘with the female sickness, which still attaches to their posterity … travellers who visit Scythia can see what sort of a disease it is’ (1.104–5).The Lycians, whose customs are partly Cretan, partly Carian, exhibit a ‘singular custom in which they differ from every other nation in the world’: they take the ‘mother’s and not the father’s name’ (1.173). There are two female sovereigns of Babylon, one of whom, Nitocris, leaves great monuments to her reign (1.184–7). In The Histories male hubris, the desire that one will be remembered in history for great deeds, usually military, otherwise one’s society or empire might be regarded as sinking into mediocrity, is often met with female doubt and caution.16 In the case of Tomyris, queen of the Massagetae, a people living on a vast plain east of the Caspian Sea, resistance to the hubris of the Persian king Cyrus is both eloquent and violent. Cyrus, at this time king for twenty-five years, sends messengers to the queen desiring her hand in marriage, but Tomyris knows that he really wants her kingdom. Cyrus then makes preparations to invade. Tomyris sends a herald with the message that Cyrus should prefer ‘peace and quietness’ to war and conquest: ‘Be content to rule in peace thy own kingdom, and bear to see us reign over the countries that are ours to govern.’ Troubled by visions and dreams, which he misinterprets, not realising they foretell his death in the coming battle, Cyrus presses ahead, and manages by a stratagem to capture Tomyris’ son (who suicides in captivity). In the fierce fighting that follows, the Massagetae at last

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prevail, the greater part of the army of the Persians is destroyed, and Cyrus himself dies. Queen Tomyris has Cyrus’ body brought to her, which she desecrates, dipping his head into a skin full of human blood; mournfully she intones to the dead king, that while she has defeated him in battle, yet he has ruined her life in the death of her son. Tomyris makes comment, in this sad and tragic speech, on the hubris of male rulers in pursuing the misery of war, in wars of conquest that always put nations and peoples under threat of loss of liberty and death of loved ones (1.204–14; also 2.102). Herodotus observes of gender relations in Egypt that they ‘exactly reverse the common practice of mankind’:‘The women attend the markets and trade, while the men sit at home at the loom … the women likewise carry burthens upon their shoulders, while the men carry them upon their heads’ (2.35). Herodotus tells of powerful women in Egypt, for example the fearsome queen Nitocris, who avenges the death of her brother, the king, at the hands of his subjects by devising a cunning scheme to destroy a ‘vast number of Egyptians’ (2.100). Anticipating by well over two millennia Flaubert’s observations in his journey through Egypt in 1849–50 when he encounters the dancer Kuchuk Hanem, Herodotus refers to famous Egyptian courtesans, including Rhodôpis, originally a Thracian by birth and brought to Egypt as a slave; after obtaining her freedom, she remained in Egypt and,‘as she was very beautiful, amassed great wealth, for a person in her condition’, becoming so celebrated that her name came to be familiar to all the Greeks, as did the name of another courtesan, Archidicé (2.134–5).17 In book 4, in part exploring stories about Scythia and its far-flung neighbours beyond the Black Sea, Herodotus tells us of reports he has heard concerning the Issedonians, who live near a mountain folk that ‘have feet like goats’ and another people ‘who sleep during one half of the year’ (though Herodotus says such stories are hardly worth considering as credible). Interestingly, in terms of gender, among the Issedonians ‘their women have equal authority with the men’ (4.26).The Scythians refer in their stories told to the Greeks to soothsayers called the Enarees,‘or woman-like men’, who say Aphrodite taught them their techniques of divination (4.67). Here The Histories anticipates much later cultural histories of gender inversion and androgyny.18 Herodotus evokes the manner and customs of women who reject usual roles as women: the famous warrior women the Amazons. Some Amazon

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women had been captured by the Greeks and were imprisoned on ships.The Amazons rise up against the crews and massacre them to a man, and finally land the ships in Scythian territory, where they seize horses and start plundering the Scythian lands (4.110). Then follows a witty narration about the coming together of the Amazon women and young male warriors of the Scythians, who ask the Amazons to marry and stay with them in Scythia.The Amazons reply:
We could not live with your women – our customs are quite different from theirs. To draw the bow, to hurl the javelin, to bestride the horse, these are our arts – of womanly employments we know nothing. Your women, on the contrary, do none of these things; but stay at home in their waggons, engaged in womanish tasks, and never go out to hunt, or to do anything. (4.114)

The young Scythian men go to live with the Amazons in another land some six days north-east of where they are; there the women and men wear the same clothes, the Amazons hunting on horseback and taking the field in war (4.116). Herodotus tells many other stories of the power and resourcefulness of women as exemplars, for good or ill, in world history. There are the Spartan wives who exchange clothes with their husbands to allow them to escape prison (4.146).There is the fierce ruler Pheretima, who nailed some enemies to crosses round the walls of her city, also cutting off the ‘breasts of their wives’ (4.202).When Aristagoras attempts to persuade Cleomenes the Spartan king to cross into Asia to make war on behalf of the Ionians, Cleomenes’ daughter Gorgo, his only child, a girl of eight or nine years old, warns him not to trust Aristagoras, wise advice that the king accepts (5.50–1).19 There are still more stories.When only one Athenian warrior survives an expedition and returns to Athens, the women whose husbands have died surround and stab the man with the brooches by which their dresses are fastened (5.87). There is the ‘all-powerful’ Persian queen, Atossa (7.3).20 Artemisia the Greek queen, wise and brave, who fights on the side of the Persians, tries, unsuccessfully, to warn Xerxes not to fight the Greeks at sea because of Greek superior seamanship and in any case the Persians had already conquered Athens (8.68–9). Artemisia distinguishes herself, to the king’s admiration, in the sea battle even though it is lost by the Persians, and later she advises him to return home to Persia rather than stay for any more battles (8.87–8).
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In the scenes involving Xerxes and Artemisia, the Persian king and Greek queen as well as Mardonius the Persian general are created like characters, with Artemisia in particular given powerful speeches, while Xerxes’ inner feelings and thoughts are explored (8.100–3).This is history as great novelistic and dramatic writing.

V
The Histories do not see war, or hubris for conquest, or colonising and empire-building, as natural for humanity, as necessary and inevitable.War and hubris are certainly created as common in world history, bringing with them endless catastrophe. But Herodotus also reports stories of peoples who eschew war and violence, who are pacifists. Beyond the Scythians are the gentle Argippæans, a people bald from birth, both men and women, with flat noses and very long chins:‘No one harms these people, for they are looked upon as sacred – they do not even possess any warlike weapons. When their neighbours fall out, they make up the quarrel; and when one flies to them for refuge, he is safe from all hurt’ (4.23). Herodotus also hears reports from the Libyans of a remote people in Africa called the Garamantians, ‘who avoid all society or intercourse with their fellow-men, have no weapon of war, and do not know how to defend themselves’ (4.174). There are, then, in The Histories touches of utopia, of Gandhians long before Gandhi.

VI
The Histories 3.80–3 refers to an interesting discussion about different forms of government that might be appropriate for world history. It takes place in Persia. A Persian, Otanes, says he prefers democracy to oligarchy and monarchy, commenting of monarchy that the rule of one man over all is ‘neither good nor pleasant’, often leading to ‘haughty tyranny’, including setting aside the laws of the land, putting men to death without trial, and subjecting ‘women to violence’. Another Persian, Megabyzus, says the failing of

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democracy is that in calling ‘the people to power’ it leads to domination by ‘the unwieldly rabble’, the ‘rude unbridled mob’, ‘untaught, and with no natural sense of what is right and fit’. Megabyzus advocates oligarchy, government composed of the worthiest citizens of the society. Finally, Darius comes forward, declaring that monarchy surpasses both democracy and oligarchy, for it permits government by ‘the very best man in the whole state’. Anticipating modern theories of elites, Darius says that in oligarchies fierce enmities arise between men, each wishing to be leader, with violent quarrels often the outcome. In democracy, he says, there will always be malpractices, with close friendships formed by those engaged in them, until a man stands forth as champion of the commonalty against the evil-doers, usually leading to the eclipse of democracy and rise of monarchy, a single leader. As it turned out, says Herodotus (3.88–9), it was Darius who became king. In what we might call now an anti-Orientalist spirit, Herodotus tells us that the Persians were not necessarily anti-democratic. Herodotus reminds those Greeks who would not believe that Otanes advised that Persia become a democracy, that Mardonius the Persian general, when young and on an expedition for Darius,‘put down all the despots through Ionia, and in lieu of them established democracies’ (6.43). In general Herodotus is not dismissive in an absolutist Orientalist way of the Persians. They are perceived as pursuing luxury, in sumptuous food and clothing (for example, in the discussion of Mardonius’ defeated army, 9.82). They and their kings are also praised as we have seen for many qualities: there is in The Histories no absolute distinction, familiar from Orientalism, between the Greeks as representing an essentialised democratic Europe and the Persians representing an essentialised autocratic Asia. Furthermore, the Greeks were far from unified in their values and modes of governance, the Spartans being ruled by kings, the Athenians making decisions through democratic assemblies. Many Greek states, particularly the Ionian, were ruled by tyrants who preferred Persian protection (4.137). Often, there were interactions, and Greeks taking themselves into exile are wont in The Histories to be warmly received in Persia. There could be values shared by Greeks, Persians, Egyptians and Scythians and other societies in the world explored by Herodotus, for example, looking down on citizens who practise trades (except in Corinth), while especially honouring those who are ‘given wholly to war’ (2.167–8).

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VII

We will end this part of our chapter on Herodotus by entertaining a provocative thought in world history: the hubris of colonisers from agricultural societies in regarding themselves as settlers wherever they go, while the indigenous peoples they encounter, who yet don’t live in homes and towns or practise agriculture but who stay firmly on their own lands, are regarded as nomads. Australian Aboriginal spokespeople, as Ann Curthoys has pointed out, passionately resent being characterised as nomadic by their European colonisers, a characterisation they regard as a narrative reversal. The contemporary indigenous leader, Galarrwuy Yunupingu, has highlighted the irony of a situation in which Aboriginal people who remain on their own land as far as they are permitted become in white Australian mythology the wanderers, the nomads, while those inveterate wanderers, the European colonists and immigrants who have crossed oceans and strayed far from their homelands, and who continue restlessly to roam and wander within the continent, are named the settlers, those who stay at home, who always belong wherever they go, however distant. In world historical terms inspired by Herodotus, we can observe that the migratory nomadic societies of the Spanish and British empires, the white colonisers/migrants coming from afar, across the seas, from 1492 onwards, invaded the lands of sedentary indigenous groups in the Americas and Australia.21 In The Mirror of Herodotus François Hartog says that the Scythians, the ‘nomads’ who lived beyond the Black Sea and existed without houses, towns, or ploughed fields, ‘never ceased to astonish the Greeks’; he then asserts that ‘the nomad’ is Herodotus’ ‘primary subject’.22 We found no evidence from the text of The Histories that Herodotus singles out the supposed nomadic figure of the Scythian for particular attention or interest: Hartog is reading from an assumed central interest of the Greeks to an assumed central interest of The Histories. Herodotus creates an ancient world of the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Africa, where agricultural societies like the Persian and Greek, once they feel powerful enough, restlessly roam, warring, conquering, establishing colonies, transferring populations into and out of conquered islands and lands, losing colonies, being conquered themselves or resisting being conquered, winning empires, losing

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empires, expanding, contracting. In The Histories agricultural societies are revealed to be precarious in their fabled stability: because of ever-present warfare and the hubris of conquest, the supposedly settled are always becoming unsettled; those alive at one moment can be transferred by war and battle into death, those free and high-born including women and children can at any instant move to slavery and servitude.23 Nor were the Scythians nomadic in the sense of having no defined territory: on the very contrary. Herodotus does refer to groups near the Scythians who are ‘nomads’, for example, the cannibalistic Androphagi, or the Budini, the ‘aboriginal people of the country’ who ‘eat lice’ (4.106, 109). But Herodotus himself says that the ‘boundaries of Scythia extend on two sides to different seas, one upon the south, and the other towards the east, as is also the case with Attica’, and that Scythia is ‘square in shape’ (4.99, 101). That the Scythians did have a defined territory recognised by themselves and their neighbours becomes clear when the Scythians call an urgent conference of surrounding nations to discuss the imminent Persian invasion of Scythia led by King Darius. Some neighbouring nations pledge support for the Scythians, others refuse saying it is the Scythians’ own fault because they had once attacked the Persians (1.103–5). In Herodotus’ telling, Darius, remarkably anticipating the invasion of Russia by Napoleon, enters Scythia with his vast host but the Scythians keep falling back and staying out of sight, though after a while the Scythians on horseback attacked the Persians at their mealtimes or at night. The Scythians remain watchful to see when the Persian supplies might fail. As it finally happens, Darius and his best troops, fearing disaster and impelled by terror, take desperate flight to the Ister to escape by sea back to Asia (4.83–91, 118–42). Undeterred by this near-catastrophe, the Persians decide to undertake another great expedition, this time against Libya (4.145). It is, then, part of the wisdom of The Histories to recognise that it is the supposedly settled agricultural and urbanised peoples like the Persians and the Greeks who are always on the move, more or less benignly, usually less, far less. Here, perhaps, is the greatest similarity between the Greeks and Persians, cutting across distinctions of West and East, Europe and Asia. It is the supposedly settled and urbanised peoples who are the nomads of world history.

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VIII

One more thing about the Scythians: they exhibit a quality, ethnocentrism, which earns disapproval throughout The Histories as something that always leads to prejudice and ignorance, believing one’s own society’s stories, refusing to credit the stories of other societies, narrowing one’s life.‘The Scythians’, says Herodotus,‘have an extreme hatred of all foreign customs, particularly of those in use among the Greeks’ (4.76). Herodotus instances the fate of one Anacharsis, a Scythian who had ‘travelled over a great portion of the world, and displayed wherever he went many proofs of wisdom’. On his return to Scythia,Anacharsis wishes to continue celebrating the Mother of Gods, which he tries to do in secret, in woodland, and at night; but he is espied in this activity and is killed by the Scythian king, in Herodotus’ view ‘because of his Grecian travels and adoption of the customs of foreigners’ (4.76). Later, a similar fate befell a man called Scylas, whose mother was Istrian, not Scythian, Ister being a Greek colony. Becoming king of the Scythians, Scylas nevertheless liked, when he came to the Greek town of the Borysthenites, to exchange his Scythian dress for Grecian garments, even building a house there and taking a Grecian wife.When the Scythians happen to see Scylas engaged in a Greek ‘Bacchanal rage’, a custom of revelry and madness the Scythians dislike, Scylas’ life is placed in danger, and he is eventually beheaded by the leader of an army of his former subjects: ‘Thus rigidly do the Scythians maintain their own customs, and thus severely do they punish such as adopt foreign usages’ (4.78–80). In their dislike of Greek Bacchic ‘madness’ (4.79), the Scythians appear curiously rationalist compared to the Greeks.24 Herodotus is also critical of the Egyptians for being ethnocentric, venerating their own purity above all other peoples:‘The Egyptians adhere to their own national customs, and adopt no foreign usages’; the ‘Egyptians are averse to adopt Greek customs, or, in a word, those of any other nation’; they call by the name of barbarian all such as speak a language different from their own (2.41, 79, 91, 158). It is difficult not to conclude, reading these stories of Anacharsis and Scylas the Scythians and such comments on Egypt, that The Histories prefers a mixing of and play with identities, a cosmopolitan ease with different cultures, to ethnocentrism and its violence; ethnocentrism it records as a universal characteristic of humanity (3.38), to which Herodotus’ whole history is yet opposed.

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IX

Establishing historical writing as world history, as cosmopolitan, internationalist, and transnational, Herodotus’ The Histories we think is a truly remarkable and wonderful work. What characterises The Histories as a project of historical writing, and so what launches Western historical writing, is its doubleness: the concern for history as a field, a discipline, an enquiry, with associated research protocols, combined with the interest in storytelling. The Histories provides an exemplar of expansiveness and inclusiveness for future Western historical writing that historical narrative can be written in any genre, or variety of genres. Herodotus does not confine history to any area or field or focus, rather establishing historical writing as freely economic, political, diplomatic, social, cultural, sexual, religious, military, naval. In its recognition of doubleness, Herodotus’ The Histories anticipates contemporary literary and cultural theory in many ways.The frame story of The Histories is a history of how the Persian empire came into being, how it came to invade Greece in the early part of the fifth century, how its attacks were finally repulsed, followed by how the Athenians, victorious at Salamis, immediately set about creating an empire themselves. Yet The Histories also tells a proliferating number of stories that record the everyday, curious, fantastical, exotic, or marvellous, for example, famous courtesans in ancient Egypt or the evocation of how the Amazons join up with the Scythians.The effect is similar to what we can observe of the mode of storytelling in The Thousand and One Nights, where the frame story concerning the perilous relationship between King Shahriyar, who lived in the lands of India and China, and his new wife Shahrazad, is always in tension with the multiple stories that lead to more stories that lead to more stories that have only an indirect or indeed no apparent relation to the frame story involving Shahriyar and Shahrazad: the stories exceed the frame story and the frame story can never rein them in. In the Enlightenment, from early in the eighteenth century, the Nights influenced narrative towards a delight in decentredness and the mixing of heterogeneous genres, from the erotic to the cosmological. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Nights influenced Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Conrad, Joyce, Borges.25

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We can think of Herodotus’ The Histories in terms of the Nights as well as in relation to the fragment: another mode of narration important in early modernity and modernity in moral-philosophical writing from Montaigne’s Essays through Pascal, Shaftesbury and La Rochefoucauld to the literaryphilosophical modes of the Athenaeum Fragments of Jena Romanticism, to Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin. In The Literary Absolute, Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy suggest a tension within the fragment, of combination and dissolution, totality and dispersal.26 Both the narrativity of the Nights and the fragment look forward to cultural features of modernity and postmodernity like pastiche and montage, polyphony and heteroglossia. In its profusion of stories, The Histories anticipates later Menippean modes of writing in antiquity, dated to Menippus of Gedara in the third century BCE. Menippean writing incorporated looseness of structure, it would freely display digressions, report symposia, comment on life and morals, incorporate humour and fantasy, with a constant movement from the serious to the humorous; unlike other satirical writing which would criticise people and activities from a fixed standpoint, Menippean satire undermined any certainties of position and outlook. In his Problems of Dostoevsky, the great Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin sees Menippean writing as a key part of the long history of the European polyphonic novel that for him culminates in Dostoevsky’s novels. Bakhtin prizes the Menippean novel for its extraordinary freedom of plot, its philosophical invention, its interest in the fantastic and marvellous, sometimes including dream journeys, utopias, nightmares, madness. For Bakhtin, the Menippean novel explores the adventures of a philosophical idea in scenes high and low.27 In Herodotus’ The Histories conceived as Menippean, that philosophical idea, that adventure, is history itself. Herodotus establishes history as a mode of storytelling where the stories work emblematically as parables, as allegories, of world history, of what it is and ever will be. Here the doubleness of The Histories anticipates the notion of modern allegory in Walter Benjamin’s famous prologue to his The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Benjamin argues of the kind of allegory that developed in the sixteenth century in baroque art and theatre, that there is a constant tension between the apparent clarity of an idea or emblem, and the profusion of images, often almost chaotic, used to illustrate or personify the idea or emblem.28

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Benjamin says that in The Origin of German Tragic Drama he is writing a kind of philosophical history. His method will be like constructing a mosaic, which represents a fragmentation into capricious particles, emphasising the distinct and separate. Philosophical history works always by digression, so that in the search for truth what might be most valuable to investigate, Benjamin suggests, is the most singular, eccentric, and extreme of examples, the most unusual and isolated; examples to be found in the merest fragment, the minutest detail.29 In these terms, The Histories in its digressive method establishes history from its beginning as philosophical history.

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CHAPTER 2

Thucydides

My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever. (Thucydides, 1.22)1 I lived through the whole of it [the Peloponnesian war], being of an age to understand what was happening, and I put my mind to the subject so as to get an accurate view of it. It happened, too, that I was banished from my country for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis; I saw what was being done on both sides, particularly on the Peloponnesian side, because of my exile, and this leisure gave me rather exceptional facilities for looking into things. (Thucydides, 5.26)

Thucydides (c.460–400 BCE) was younger by a generation than Herodotus, and his great work the History of the Peloponnesian War focusses on a largely internecine conflict between the Hellenes themselves: the nearly thirty years war between democratic Athens and its empire, and monarchical Sparta and its league of allies, often with oligarchic governments.The Peloponnesian war broke out in 431 and was fought intermittently until 404, when Athens

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surrendered and lost its empire, the extensive empire of allies and subject states it had acquired especially to the east in Ionia after the defeat of the Persian invasion earlier in the fifth century, and which had provided it with wealth and prosperity and a conviction of historical greatness. Thucydides himself participated in the war. In 424 he was appointed general, but was banished for what was perceived in Athens to be a military failure; he remained away for twenty years, and not long after he returned to Athens he died.The History is the work of an exile. In Herodotus and Thucydides, then,Western historical writing was inaugurated by two outsider figures. If in antiquity Herodotus was accused by Plutarch of being philobarbaros, Thucydides was reproved in similar spirit by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who in his ‘Letter to Pompeius’ writes that the ‘attitude’ of Thucydides is ‘severe and harsh and proves that he bears a grudge against his country because of his exile’. Dionysius adds that Thucydides ‘details’ Athens’ ‘misdeeds with the utmost exactitude, but when things go right, either he does not mention them at all, or only like a man under compulsion’:‘In his malice, he finds the overt causes of the war in the conduct of his own city’.2 In this chapter we explore differences and similarities between Thucydides and Herodotus as the co-founders of history.

I
Thucydides’ approach to historical writing in many ways clearly contrasts with Herodotus’ approach. Thucydides’ History is fast moving, precise, directed, decisive, carefully structured, and highly analytic, deploying a strict chronological method where the recording of events can be organised year by year, season by season (5.26). In Thucydides’ view, the historian should focus on a great historical period, a period of war. At the beginning of his introductory book 1, Thucydides reflects that the times before his own ‘were not great periods either in warfare or in anything else’ (1.1). The Peloponnesian war was, however, ‘the greatest disturbance in the history of the Hellenes, affecting also a large part of the non-Hellenic world, and indeed, I might almost say, the whole of mankind’ (1.1). The greatest war in the past, Thucydides writes, was the Persian war, which yet was over quickly after two

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naval battles and two battles on land, while the Peloponnesian war not only lasted a long time, but brought with it ‘unprecedented suffering for Hellas’.
Never before had so many cities been captured and then devastated, whether by foreign armies or by the Hellenic powers themselves (some of these cities, after capture, were resettled with new inhabitants); never had there been so many exiles; never such loss of life – both in the actual warfare and in internal revolutions … and there was the plague which did more harm and destroyed more life than almost any other single factor.All these calamities fell together upon the Hellenes after the outbreak of war. (1.23)

Thucydides does not glorify war, indeed the very reverse, but much of his History is devoted to evoking in detail, often in wonderful writing, military and naval battles, preparations for battles, encouraging speeches by generals, effects when it is over for the participants, consequences for the state of the nations at war. For Thucydides, then, the historian’s true subject is political and military history, not as in Herodotus the history of the everyday as well as of crisis; history in its oddities and eccentricities and remarkable surprising differences.3 Another contrast concerns the prominence or not of women in the narrative, frequently present in Herodotus as part of his social and cultural histories, but almost excluded from Thucydides’ focus on male politicians, orators, demagogues, battles, and warriors. Pericles, the famed Athenian statesman and orator who convinces Athens to proceed to war against Sparta (1.127), closes his remarkable Funeral Oration on those who had already died, by advising the newly widowed in the crowd on their duties.‘Your great glory’, Pericles tells the women, ‘is not to be inferior to what God has made you, and the greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or criticising you’ (2.46). There is little or nothing elsewhere in the History to suggest that Thucydides disagrees with Pericles here that the proper life for a woman is to pursue the negative virtues of being unnoticed and marginal to true history’s concerns. When the Peloponnesians, led by the Spartan king Archidamus, besiege Plataea, an Athenian ally, we learn that while most residents had left the city for Athens, those remaining behind ‘to stand the siege amounted to 400 men together with eighty Athenians and 110 women to do the cooking for the garrison’ (2.78). Eventually, Plataea surrendered, some 200 Plataeans and twenty-five

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Athenians were executed by the Spartans, and the ‘women were made slaves’: men of military age being put to death, and the enslaving of women and children, were the usual result when a city lost a siege (3.68; also 4.48, 5.32). With war came turmoil across Hellas. When civil war broke out in Corcyra between the democratic and oligarchic parties, Thucydides reports, almost with surprise, that the pro-democracy ‘women also joined in the fighting with great daring, hurling down tiles from the roof-tops and standing up to the din of battle with a courage beyond their sex’ (3.74).There is mention of the temple of Hera at Argos being burnt down ‘through the negligence of the priestess Chrysis’, another priestess, Phaeinis, then being appointed (4.133).When the democratic party in control of Argos, out of fear of Spartan attack, built long walls down to the coast, the ‘whole of the Argive people, men, women, and slaves, joined in the work of building’ (5.82) That’s about it: such mentions of women are not only rare in Thucydides but occur incidentally.4 Another difference concerns the question of the feasibility of histories of the past. Herodotus chose to write about a past event, the Persian war. By contrast Thucydides famously held in his book’s opening paragraph that he found it impossible, ‘because of its remoteness in time, to acquire a really precise knowledge of the distant past or even of the history preceding our own period’ (1.1). Thucydides doubts, then, that the historian can write a history even of the recent past.Thucydides stresses the advantage of a history of the present: ‘either I was present myself at the events which I have described or else I heard of them from eye-witnesses whose reports I have checked with as much thoroughness as possible’ (1.22). For Thucydides, history is largely oral history, where ‘facts’ are established by comparing ‘reports’ from various ‘informants’, from contemporaries who were participants in and observers of the war (1.21–2). Indeed, it appears that such was Thucydides’ preference for and reliance on oral communication and eyewitness reports that he neglected documentary research, even when pertinent documents existed (though he does quote some documents).5 Here intrudes a major difference between the two historians, one that involves the question of the stance of the author-narrator to his material and his readership. While Thucydides stresses the care with which he compares and checks the views of his informants in order to decide on the truth of an episode or event, he does not see it as part of his method to tell his readers

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who his informants are. Where Herodotus specifies the source of a story, Thucydides’ informants remain largely unknown, and we only know their views and reports as assimilated and analytically reworked by the historian. The effect is that the History presents us with a magisterial and authoritative account, where the reader has no alternative but to accept the truth of the author’s interpretation and analyses and narrative of events: in this aspect Thucydides’ History is monologic, whereas by contrast Herodotus in The Histories is polyphonic. The Histories frequently presents a number of stories and explanations for events, permitting readers more actively to become involved in the text, to consider what they think of the various narratives and interpretations.6 The terms monologic and polyphonic immediately reprise the literary theory of Mikhail Bakhtin. In Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics Bakhtin constructs a contrast between Tolstoy and Dostoevsky as two opposing kinds of author-narrators. In Tolstoy’s monologic fiction, Bakhtin feels, Tolstoy as author dominates his text; the author, all-knowing and all-controlling, constructs his characters, juxtaposes and contrasts them one to another, and then evaluates them; the author does not speak with but about them; the characters are not active subjects but become objects of his fixed authoritative gaze, his all-encompassing field of vision. The characters, that is, are denied anything like equal rights with their author. Standing above and outside the narrative, the author gives to his characters a definitive, final meaning. Here is Thucydides. By contrast, Bakhtin argues, Dostoevsky’s texts are polyphonic: the author acts as a kind of arranger, an organiser and participant in the dialogues, the clashes of conflicting positions and voices, but without retaining for himself the final word. His characters remain unfinalised and with strong rights as autonomous subjects in the narrative.7 Here is Herodotus. Another difference concerns a famous aspect of Thucydides’ History, its great ‘set speeches’ (1.22).There are remarkable speeches in Herodotus as part of the stories he relates, but in Thucydides the set-speeches are profoundly influenced by the Sophist philosophy of exploring divergent views and presenting each side as powerfully as possible, in an Athenian and wider Hellenic public sphere of superb oratory, of energetic argument and counterargument, view and counter-view, opinion and counter-opinion.8 Hannah Arendt, in her essay ‘The Concept of History’ in Between Past and

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Future (1954), relates the vigour and liveliness of the Athenian public sphere, the ‘polis-life’ which ‘to an incredibly large extent consisted of citizens talking with one another’, to Thucydides and the Sophists:
In this incessant talk the Greeks discovered that the world we have in common is usually regarded from an infinite number of standpoints, to which correspond the most diverse points of view. In a sheer inexhaustible flow of arguments, as the Sophists presented them to the citizenry of Athens, the Greek learned to exchange his own viewpoint, his own ‘opinion’ – the way the world appeared and opened up to him [dokei moi], ‘it appears to me’, from which comes [doxa], or ‘opinion’ – with those of his fellow citizens. Greeks learned to understand – not to understand one another as individual persons, but to look upon the same world from one another’s standpoint, to see the same in very different and frequently opposing aspects. The speeches in which Thucydides makes articulate the standpoints and interests of the warring parties are still a living testimony to the extraordinary degree of this objectivity.9

A superb example of set-speeches for and against a position arises during the early dispute over Corcyra. Attempting to be neutral, Corcyra had not enrolled itself either in the Spartan or Athenian league, and now found itself at war with Corinth.They decide to join the Athenian league, and send representatives to Athens to put their case. The Corinthians, hearing of this, also send representatives to Athens: ‘An assembly was held and the arguments on both sides were put forward’ (1.31).The Corcyraean and Corinthian speakers discuss disputed issues of neutrality, statecraft, alliances, treaties, diplomacy, arbitration, what is due to the past, and international Hellenic law and custom. After the two speeches the Athenians ‘discussed the matter at two assemblies’ and chose what to do (1.32–44). The speeches in the dispute over Corcyra are equally persuasive, as all the opposing set-speeches in the History tend to be, though, in Bakhtin’s terms, in keeping with a monologic text, it is clear that all the speeches are written by Thucydides, in an unvarying tone and style that is the historian’s brilliant own, not of the historical actors.10 Not all these set-speech contestations occur in Athens. There is the early debate at Sparta over whether or not to declare a general war against Athens, where a formidably argued speech by some Corinthian representatives is matched by an equally incisive speech by some Athenians who happened to be in Sparta at the time on other business

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(1.62–78). There are also remarkable speeches made involving the fate of Mytilene, the chief city on the island of Lesbos, the Mytilenians choosing to revolt from Athens’ empire in 428. Some ambassadors from Mytilene explain to the Spartans and their allies at Olympia that Mytilene had long chafed under the domination of Athens (3.8). They relate that the alliance between Mytilene and Athens dated from the end of the Persian war:
But the object of the alliance was the liberation of the Hellenes from Persia, not the subjugation of the Hellenes to Athens. So long as the Athenians in their leadership respected our independence, we followed them with enthusiasm. But when we saw that they were becoming less and less antagonistic to Persia and more and more interested in enslaving their own allies, then we became frightened. (3.10)

The Mytilenians felt what they perceived as Athens’ imperial arrogance was becoming increasingly insufferable: as indeed did many in the empire, for revolts and attempts to secede became more and more common in the Ionian allied or subject states as the war went on. The Mytilene revolt, however, disastrously failed. The Mytilenians, thinking that Athens was brought low by the plague that had broken out in the city and in its port Piraeus soon after the war began, underestimated Athens’ boldness and resourcefulness in situations of crisis (3.3). (A motif of the History is to feature Athens’ characteristic speed of decision and action, its innovativeness and adventurousness, compared with Sparta’s slowness and caution; e.g. 1.118.) After a siege the Mytilenians surrender to the Athenian forces, with Athens, ominously, having the ‘right to act as she saw fit with regard to the people of Mytilene’.The Athenian army enters the city, while the Mytilenians are permitted to send representatives to Athens to put their case (3.28). Back in Athens, the Athenians, angry that the Mytilenians had revolted and had also attempted to ally themselves with Sparta and the Peloponnesians, decided what to do about Mytilene and its population. They chose to enact what in modern terms would be called genocide. They ‘decided to put to death not only those now in their hands but also the entire male population of Mytilene, and to make slaves of the women and children’ (3.36). Accordingly, they sent a trireme to Paches, the Athenian general now in control of Mytilene, ‘with orders to put the Mytilenians to death immediately’ (3.36). The next day, however,Thucydides tells us, there was a sudden change of feeling and the Athenians ‘began to think how cruel and how unprecedented
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such a decision was – to destroy not only the guilty, but the entire population of a state’. The representatives from Mytilene then suggest to the Athenians that they reopen the debate about what should happen to their people.A new assembly is called at once, with various opinions ‘expressed on both sides’. Pericles had died early in the war, so other leaders had come forward to be prominent speakers at assemblies, some of them dangerous and contemptible demagogues in Thucydides’ view. In Sophist fashion, Thucydides chooses to focus on two speeches for and against destruction of the Mytilenians. Now occurs the famous Mytilenian Debate, a key episode in the History. The first featured speaker is the demagogue Cleon, who had been responsible for passing the original motion to put the Mytilenians to death.‘He was remarkable among the Athenians’,Thucydides comments,‘for the violence of his character, and at this time he exercised far the greatest influence over the people’ (3.36). Cleon argues that ‘compassion’ by the Athenians will only be read as a sign of weakness by the allies who compose the empire: ‘What you do not realize is that your empire is a tyranny exercised over subjects who do not like it and who are always plotting against you … your leadership depends on superior strength and not on any goodwill of theirs.’ Cleon tells his fellow Athenians that to ‘feel pity’ and to ‘listen to the claims of decency’ are ‘entirely against the interests of an imperial power’.The ‘rights and wrongs’ of the case are irrelevant, the primary thing is that Athens should continue to ‘hold power’: ‘The only alternative is to surrender your empire’. Cleon concludes that the Mytilenian revolt has to be punished by mass death as he had recommended before, as an ‘example’ to the other allies who, in observing the inevitable consequences, will be warned never to revolt (3.37–40). The opposing set-speech is given by Diodotus, who in the previous assembly had vigorously opposed the motion to put the Mytilenians to death. He again argues that the Mytilenians should be spared. Yet, as Thucydides presents it, what Diodotus proposes to his fellow citizens is also an argument where, as with Cleon, imperial reason is put before concern for the Mytilenians themselves.What matters is how to manage the empire, not pity or compassion for the fate of subject peoples: ‘Do not be swayed too much by pity or by ordinary decent emotions. I, no more than Cleon, wish you to be influenced by such emotions.’ Diodotus suggests that ‘we shall see that the question is not so much whether they are guilty as whether we are making the right decision for ourselves’. He brings forth the analogy of the death

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penalty for individuals, saying it should be opposed because it does not deter the breaking of laws. Similarly on a grander scale with rebels to the empire: if a city has revolted and knows that it will be destroyed ‘if Cleon’s method is adopted’, then it will hold out to the very end because it knows what the consequences of a revolt will invariably be. Such long sieges, Diodotus points out, are also very expensive for Athens and at the end the besieged city will be in ruins,‘so that we lose the future revenue from it’. Diodotus warns of the folly of killing the democrats at Mytilene who had voluntarily given up the city to Athens; they can be persuaded now to support Athens and keep Mytilene within the empire. Diodotus advises that ‘good administration’ of the empire should work by moderation, for then if a state does rebel, it will know that there is a possibility of repentance and the chance of ‘atoning as quickly as they can for what they did’. By such wise moderation will the empire be preserved, for ‘those who make wise decisions are more formidable to their enemies than those who rush madly into strong action’ (3.41–8). As it turns out, when Diodotus and Cleon’s motions are put forward, the show of hands at the assembly is nearly equal, with Diodotus’ motion just passing. A trireme is immediately sent out to try and catch up with the first ship, which, as Thucydides phrases it, was fortunately ‘not hurrying on its distasteful mission’.The second arrives just in time to prevent ‘the massacre’: ‘So narrow had been the escape of Mytilene’ (3.49).

II
The Mytilenian Debate, with its focus on how an empire should be secured, managed, and sustained, is a kind of peripeteia, a turning point, a reversal, in the History as an unfolding drama. The debate, with its chilling revelation of the self-interested morality and imperatives of empire, is an inkling that Thucydides’ great work is shaped to a literary design, that of tragedy.11 In so doing, it anticipates the even more chilling Melian Dialogue of book 5, and the disastrous Athenian invasion of Sicily in books 6 and 7, as the History moves towards its conclusions of disillusionment for the author, and massive failure in the war for Athens. Early in the History, Thucydides appears completely to support Athens’ reasons for war with Sparta, and such support can be witnessed in his featur-

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ing the set-speeches of Pericles. Before the war and in its early stages, there seems to be nothing in the narrative that is not admiring of Pericles’ arguments for war and his attitude to empire. We have quoted before Hannah Arendt admiring Thucydides for his ‘objectivity’ in that he always deploys the Sophist method of speech and counter-speech, view and counter-view. Certainly, Pericles’ speeches are great in the Sophist tradition. However, it is a highly curious aspect of the History that Thucydides, whenever Pericles makes one of his outstanding speeches, provides no counter-speech: Thucydides, here dropping the Sophist method, protects Pericles from possible criticism and counter-opinion. As war loomed, Sparta delivered an ultimatum to Athens, and Thucydides says that many speakers came forward and ‘opinions were expressed on both sides’, some agreeing war was necessary, some urging peace (1.39). Thucydides, nevertheless, reports only Pericles’ set-speech, where he tells his fellow Athenians his reasons for thinking they should be confident of ultimate victory in the war: principally because, he notes, of Athens’ superior seamanship and because through their naval operations the Athenians also are experienced at land fighting (1.142).The other part of his strategy is that the Athenians in the countryside should abandon their land and houses and come to live within Athens itself (and the fortified Long Walls that lead down to Piraeus).Their naval superiority will win the war, and quite quickly (1.143–4; also 2.65). The Athenians vote their agreement with Pericles (1.145; also 2.13–14). No speeches against the war, or views contrary to Pericles’ unyielding prowar urgings and proposed military strategy and confidence in an easy Athenian victory, are given on this or other occasions when Pericles addresses the Athenians at assemblies. Thucydides reports the sadness and reluctance with which the Athenians elsewhere in Attica left their towns, homes, and temples, arriving in Athens to find there was not enough space for them in the city, with many having to crowd together between the Long Walls and in Piraeus itself (2.17): still no reported criticism of Pericles! During his Funeral Oration held for those men first to die in the war, Pericles delivers a paean to Athens’ greatness, built on the ‘warlike deeds by which we acquired our power’, especially the gaining of an empire. Athens, says Pericles, is a model to others in every way: in its democratic system of government where power is in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people; everyone is equal before the law; people can rise by ability alone; there is a relaxed freedom and

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tolerance in private life; and laws protect the oppressed. There is the beauty and good taste of Athenian homes, Athens’ excellent education system, and Athens as a city is open to the world. Furthermore, says Pericles,Athens shows its greatness by participating in its empire with a ‘free liberality’, doing kindness to others out of friendship and not out of calculations of profit and loss. ‘Mighty indeed’, Pericles proclaims, ‘are the marks and monuments of our empire which we have left. Future ages will wonder at us, as the present age wonders at us now’.And what distinguishes Athens especially from Sparta but from other Hellenic states as well is ‘our adventurous spirit’ that has ‘forced an entry into every sea and into every land’ (2.35–42). For Pericles, Athens in its greatness is history’s ideal society. Yet the very next section of the History records the plague, the first cases being among the population of Piraeus, which then spread through Athens, and whose miseries Thucydides evokes with evident anguish: ‘Words indeed fail one when one tries to give a general picture of this disease’ (2.50). He adds a personal note: ‘I had the disease myself and saw others suffering from it’ (2.48). He describes people expiring in suffering and pain, people dying through nursing others with it, the doctors dying through proximity to patients, the gathering despair and hopelessness, failure to make laments for the dead, collapse of the law, desecration of ceremonial funeral practices, and breakdown in honourable and virtuous behaviour. Thucydides notes that in this ‘catastrophe’ matters were made much worse because of the removal of people from the country into the city, particularly affecting the newcomers (2.47–54). Still Thucydides offers no criticism of Pericles even though it would appear that sickness and disease, even if not anything as calamitous as plague, could have been predicted as a consequence of Pericles’ strategy of crowding everyone into the city and between the Long Walls. The Athenian citizens themselves become angry at Pericles, blaming him, Thucydides reports, for persuading them to go to war (2.59). Pericles gives a speech in his own defence – he takes no blame for what has happened – and again Thucydides protects him from any counter-speech. During this speech, Pericles himself reveals what those opposed to Athens in the war, including Athens’ own allies and subject states, regard as Athenian imperial arrogance. Pericles urges his fellow Athenians to remember their ‘superiority’, the courage and ‘intelligence that makes one able to look down on one’s opponent’ (2.62). He

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reminds them that the ‘imperial dignity of Athens’ is the result of its empire, which they must not lose, even though, he now admits, there is the ‘hatred which we have incurred in administering it’. ‘Your empire’, Pericles adds, ‘is now like a tyranny: it may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go’ (2.63). Thucydides notes that even after this speech there was still general illfeeling against Pericles, and he was fined. Nevertheless, Thucydides does not report any anti-Pericles speeches associated with this persisting general illfeeling, and he then goes on to record his own admiration for the wisdom, integrity and intelligence of Pericles and the rightness of his strategy. (Pericles died two and a half years after the outbreak of the war.) Thucydides says that in his view Athens eventually lost the war because Pericles’ strategy, especially of not adding to the empire during the course of the war, was not carried through by the demagogues who afterwards dominated the assemblies (2.65). Yet in many ways, including in the juxtaposition of episodes, and especially the evocation of the plague just after Pericles extols the greatness of Athens and her empire, Thucydides’ History, the more it goes on, is a story of how disastrous was the war that Pericles did so much to bring about: indeed, in the History there is no one in Athens or Sparta who is as responsible for making the war occur as Pericles. When, later, in the Mytilenian Debate, the intelligent Diodotus argues that in the wise administration of its empire Athens should not consider its subject peoples with pity and compassion and that moderation is to be used for strategic purposes of empire management, he is surely echoing Pericles’ speech that what matters to Athens is its empire, whatever feelings of resentment and hatred might be present from those subject to the empire. Thucydides’ gathering disappointment, the disillusion with the hubris of Athens and the morality of empire, is evident in his comments during the Mytilenian Debate, and dramatically present in the way he constructs the famous Melian Dialogue that occurred in the years 416–415 BCE (5.84–116). In this remarkable conversation, between the Melians, a colony of Sparta who had tried to remain neutral in the war, and an invading force of Athenians, the Athenian representatives say they will destroy Melos if the city does not surrender. The Athenians insist that in this situation the only morality to consider is one of force and power, and that is all on the Athenian side; justice is irrelevant, only self-interest matters.The Athenians tell the Melians that they

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now have to come within the empire (‘it is for the good of our own empire that we are here’), and that they cannot any longer stay neutral as this will be taken by the empire’s ‘subjects’ as a sign of weakness. It is, the Athenians warn, ‘a general and necessary law of nature to rule whatever one can’, and the Melians should not resist such rule because their nation is weak. After this conversation, the Melians tell the Athenians of their decision that they are not prepared to give up the liberty which their city has enjoyed from its foundation 700 years before.They invite the Athenians to make a treaty of friendship between Athens and Melos that will preserve their neutrality. For reply, the Athenians lay siege to Melos, until eventually the Melians surrender unconditionally. The Athenians then ‘put to death all the men of military age whom they took, and sold the women and children as slaves. Melos itself they took over for themselves, sending out later a colony of 500 men’ (5.84–116). The shocking story of the Athenian destruction of Melos conforms to the definition of genocide by Raphaël Lemkin, when he writes in his 1944 Axis Rule in Occupied Europe that genocide involves an attack by an incoming people on another people, the reduction of their population, and colonisation of the new territory.12 In the remainder of the History,Thucydides tells of the consequences of such morality of empire, merciless, cruel, genocidal, for the war and for Athens itself. The Melian Dialogue is immediately followed by books 6 and 7, when Athens, inspired by the demagogue Alcibiades, characterised as one of history’s more remarkable schemers and intriguers whose only loyalty was to himself, sought to invade Sicily to the west, with the eventual hope of conquering not only Sicily’s democratic cities like Syracuse, but also the Hellenes in Italy and then Carthage and its empire as well. Such widespread Mediterranean conquest was part of Alcibiades’ aim for the expedition (6.15, 90). As it turns out, the Sicilian venture, launched with such fanfare by the whole population of Athens, is a catastrophe for the Athenian navy and soldiers, its whole army there being almost wiped out or imprisoned in dreadful conditions and then sold into slavery (7.85–87). The battles on land and water in Sicily were, says Thucydides, the greatest Hellenic action that took place during the Peloponnesian war, indeed, ‘in my opinion, the greatest action that we know of in Hellenic history – to the victors the most brilliant of successes, to the vanquished the most calamitous of defeats’ (7.87). A major reason for the Athenian defeat in Sicily, Thucydides suggests, is that the Syracusans, led by intelligent capable individuals like Hermocrates,

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were similar in temperament to the Athenians, audacious and adventurous. (Hermocrates was also a formidable orator, and makes a powerful set-speech when the Syracusans first debate the news of a possible Athenian invasion – 6.33–34.) With assistance from Sparta, the Syracusans overcome Athens’ naval strength with their own developing navy and naval skills (7.21), so that after the Sicilian expedition Athens was – a key reason, as Thucydides sees it, for their final defeat – faced with naval forces in the general war, including subsequently in Ionia, at least as strong if not superior to their own (7.55–6). The hubris of the rulers of empire, leading invariably to disaster and catastrophe, was a leading motif of Herodotus’ The Histories. So it turned out in the Peloponnesian war for Athens as well, which was far more uncompromising and belligerent in wanting war and pursuing war, and far more reluctant to consider peace, than ever was cautious monarchical Sparta. In 425 BCE Sparta sent ambassadors to Athens, after an Athenian military success at Pylos (4.15, 18), saying that Athens and Sparta should now make a treaty to end the war and that Sparta offers Athens peace, alliance, and friendly and neighbourly relations. When the Athenians, flushed with this victory, refuse because they feel confident of more victories, the Spartans warn the Athenians that true wisdom lies in refusing such hubris conceived at a time of success, for the fortunes of war can quickly change (4.18). Democratic Athens actively seeks war throughout: in Thucydides’ History, there is no contradiction between being a democracy and aggressive desire for war with all its cruelties, misery, moral collapse, and loss of life. Nor was democratic Athens reluctant to attack other democratic societies, like Syracuse in Sicily, when it perceived it to be in the possible interest of Athens’ greatness as an empire. It is the judgement of Athens’ enemies in the war that Athens had become as oppressive as the Persian empire before it, and such a view was certainly prominent among the Syracusans in their determined opposition to being made a subject people of Athens, Hermocrates pointing out that ‘what Athens wanted was to substitute her own empire for that of Persia’ (6.76; also 6.77). In the view of the History as a whole it was Athenian imperialism, the possession of empire and its attendant empire morality, that destroyed what was finest in Athens’ political culture. The ethical indifference and cold selfinterestedness evident in Athens’ imperial management increasingly affected Athens itself, with the consequence that in 411 BCE there was an oligarchic

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coup and for a while loss of democratic freedoms for Athens’ citizens, including violence by the oligarchic party’s supporters against anyone who dared dissent (8.66). Ominously, if we think of future Western history, especially twentieth-century totalitarian regimes in Europe, the oligarchy, known as the Four Hundred, were supported by ‘120 “Hellenic youths” whom they made use of when there was any rough work to be done’ (8.69). Empire, with its low ethical standards towards subject peoples, impairs and threatens the ethical values and standards of the home democracy itself: such is a theme also of modern political theory, as in Hannah Arendt’s suggestion in The Origins of Totalitarianism that imperialism from 1884 to 1914 was a formative influence in the twentieth century in the development within Europe of totalitarian phenomena with their attendant catastrophes.13 Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, in its juxtaposition of episodes and its aesthetic shape, is indeed a tragedy: a tragedy for the Hellenes as a whole and Athens as well, which not only lost the war and its empire, but, by its conduct in the war, lost, as the Melians predicted before they were genocidally attacked, much of its historical prestige. As the Melians said to the Athenians, Athens would eventually face the disgrace of history: ‘your own fall’, warn the Melians, will be ‘visited by the most terrible vengeance’ and will be ‘an example to the world’ (5.90). Pericles had said to his fellow Athenians that in the ‘memory of man’ hatred, the hatred of the empire’s subject peoples, ‘does not last for long’; what will last forever is Athens’ ‘brilliance’ which will become the ‘glory of the future’ (2.64). But in the view of Thucydides’ History, what will also last for ever is the memory of the terrible consequences of Athens’ desire for war and of its imperial morality, or amorality.

III
The differences and similarities between Herodotus and Thucydides are important for the later development of history.14 They established possibilities and alternatives that are still with us.15 The key difference is that whereas Herodotus offers a plethora of histories, social, cultural, gendered, religious, political, military,Thucydides presents history far more narrowly as political, military, and diplomatic. Such a difference has consequences for how Western history is perceived. Gandhi, for

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example, charged in his 1909 essay ‘Hind Swaraj, or Indian Home Rule’ that Western historical writing characteristically concerns itself with the doings of kings and emperors, and with crises like war; it is an unending ‘record of the wars of the world’. It is not interested in the everyday life of nations in history in times of peace, times that are frequent yet overlooked.16 Such a charge certainly does apply to Thucydides – but it does not apply to Herodotus.We cannot then assume that Western historical writing begins, in Herodotus and Thucydides, as a single kind of history: it is already divided, it already provides differential possibilities. Nevertheless, there is also a basic similarity between Herodotus’ The Histories and Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War: in both these foundational works there is a double character, each is a search for truth (‘the truth’, as Thucydides says, 1.20), and at the same time each enters into the world of literary forms, in Herodotus’ case in terms of a profusion of stories and a delight in storytelling itself, in Thucydides’ case in terms of a single genre, tragedy. It is worth noticing that Thucydides stopped his History in 411 BCE, well before Athens’ final defeat.We would argue that Thucydides discontinued his narrative when he did because his artistic purpose had already been met; the tragic drama of the relationship between democracy and empire had been played out in the arrangement and design of the text. While in search of truth, each allows for significant uncertainty in any historical interpretation. Such allowing for uncertainty is clear in Herodotus’ multiple and frequently contradictory stories, but it also evident even in the magisterial Thucydides. Thucydides refers to an interpretation of his as ‘my theory’ (1.2). He can use a rhetoric of uncertainty with phrases like ‘It appears’ and ‘it seems to me’ (1.9), or ‘I imagine’ (1.93), or ‘Whatever the truth may be’ (2.5), or ‘it would be impossible for me to give the exact numbers’ (5.68), or ‘it was difficult to find out from either side exactly how things happened’ (7.44), or ‘For these reasons or reasons very like them’ (7.86), or ‘In my opinion’ (8.56; 8.64), or ‘It is probable’ (8.88).17 Thucydides allows that even the history of the present cannot be one of certainty. Of his set-speeches he admits:‘I have found it difficult to remember the precise words used in the speeches which I have listened to myself and my various informants have experienced the same difficulty’; ‘my method’, he says, is to ‘make the speakers say what, in my opinion, was called for by each situation’ (1.22). When Thucydides does contemplate history before the present, he reveals a curious

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ambivalence about the value of Homer and poetry as historical evidence.We should, says Thucydides, be sceptical of the poets, poets like Homer exaggerate (1.10, 1.21). Yet he can appeal to the ‘ancient poets’ and Homer as ‘evidence’, if carefully used, for past states of affairs (1.3, 9, 13, and 3.104).18 Herodotus and Thucydides leave as part of their legacy the not infrequent use of the ‘I’ voice.The ‘I’ voice is not an invention of modernity. It is foundationally there in historical writing in antiquity. Neither Herodotus nor Thucydides establish Western historical writing as fully secular. ‘Many things’, Herodotus writes near the end of The Histories, ‘prove to me that the gods take part in the affairs of man’ (9.100).19 But such is so as well – at least we think it to be so – of Thucydides, usually held to be severely sceptical and rational. How to explain the calamities that tumbled upon the Hellenes after the outbreak of war: not only the plague, but violent earthquakes, frequent eclipses of the sun, droughts followed by famine? Thucydides comments on such unusual happenings associated with the war: ‘Old stories of past prodigies, which had not found much confirmation in recent experience, now became credible’ (1.23). It is not at all clear here that Thucydides himself does not find such prodigies to be credible. In particular, the sudden devastating appearance of the plague in Athens troubles Thucydides. He ponders a remarkable feature of the plague, that its full force was felt at Athens whereas it ‘never affected the Peloponnese at all, or not seriously’. He reports that when the Spartans had enquired of the god whether they should go to war, the reply they received was that if the Spartans ‘fought with all their might, victory would be theirs’, and the ‘god himself would be on their side’.Thucydides reflects that what was happening, the plague affecting the Athenians not their enemies,‘seemed to fit in well’ with the words of the oracle (2.54). Finally, we can say that both Herodotus and Thucydides create history as world history, seeking to show in an internationalist, cosmopolitan, and antiethnocentric spirit what will be permanent or persisting or enduring through the ages.20 For ourselves, it has been a delight to write about the inaugurators of history: they left the most remarkable and rich legacy, a legacy that historians in modernity are still struggling to match and to learn from.

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CHAPTER 3

Leopold von Ranke and Sir Walter Scott

The disordered and yelling group [of Bohemians, or Gypsies] were so different in appearance from any beings whom Quentin had yet seen, that he was on the point of concluding them to be a party of Saracens, of those ‘heathen hounds’, who were the opponents of gentle knights and Christian monarchs, in all the romances which he had heard or read, and was about to withdraw himself from a neighbourhood so perilous, when a galloping of horse was heard, and the supposed Saracens … were at once charged by a party of French soldiers. (Quentin Durward, 1823)1 The object of my love is a beautiful Italian, and I hope that together we shall produce a Romano-German prodigy. (Ranke on some Venetian manuscripts, from letter of 1827)2 What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms … (Nietzsche, ‘On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense’, 1873)3

An active opposition between history and literature is historically quite recent, a product of the nineteenth century.4 In England and Europe in the ‘long eighteenth century’ (1660–1830), history was viewed as a branch of
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literature. Historians recognised the affinity of their writings with other, openly fictional, forms of writing. In the eighteenth century knowledge was not compartmentalised into separate disciplines as they would become in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and as we know them today. The same thinker might write biographies, histories, texts with imaginary philosophical conversations (in the tradition of the ancient symposium), reports on scientific experiments, and books in letter form directly addressing a particular reader (a friend, a patron) on a remarkable range of topics, from the classical to the contemporary. The same author might also write intense theological speculations about the Old and New Testaments, or the basic character of the universe, or the nature of God. Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) conceived the idea of gravitation and made a reflecting telescope, but he also tried to use astronomy to amend the chronology of the biblical stories and strongly defended the trinitarian view of divinity. As noted by Erik Iversen in The Myth of Egypt and Its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition (1993), Newton was interested in Egyptology, arguing in a late work The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended that Osiris, Bacchus, Sesostris, and Sisac were all different names for one single person, the person who was responsible, so Newton ventured, for advancing Egypt from barbarism to civilisation, just two generations before the Trojan war.5 Joseph Priestley (1733–1804) was known as a man of science, chiefly as a chemist, who conceived the idea of oxygen, and by the use of mercury was able to deal for the first time with gases soluble in water; he was also a Unitarian who rejected the doctrine of the infallibility of Christ, and whose ‘History of the Corruptions of Christianity’ was in 1785 burned by the common hangman. In such famous and controversial figures of the ‘long eighteenth century’, there was a continuity in their thinking and writing between science, literature, history, philosophy, theology and, frequently, Egyptology, that we now find difficult to comprehend.6 From early in the nineteenth century, with long-term formative consequences for both, history and literature began increasingly to move in different directions, to become more specialised as vocations, more enclosed within their own worlds. With the spreading influence of Romanticism in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth, literature came frequently to be seen no longer as a craft, a general category, counting history as one of its established forms, but as poetry; in the words of Lionel Gossman, a ‘magical or religious mission’. History, meanwhile, was drifting towards the natural sciences.7

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I

The crucial moment of the development of modern professional ‘scientific’ history occurred in the 1820s, and the crucial figure of that moment is Leopold von Ranke.8 In the 1820s Ranke was a young man with vast ambition, and in his own life-time would go on to attain a worldwide reputation. Ranke’s life is a story of success heaped on success, worldly and professional. His work was pivotal in the emergence of many of history’s distinctive theories, methods, philosophy, sensibility, procedures, inflections of gender, and rewards in terms of professional identity and esteem. But his writings also, as this chapter will sketch in, reveal an intellectual figure highly idiosyncratic, inconsistent, and contradictory. Ranke, born in Thuringia in 1795, was the eldest child of a small-town lawyer and descendant of a long line of evangelical pastors. His early education grounded him in Lutheran pietism and the languages of the GraecoRoman world. He continued his studies at the University of Leipzig. In 1818 he began his working life as a teacher of classical literature at a gymnasium in the town of Frankfurt on Oder in Prussia. He toyed with a career in literature, but settled on historical studies, which he worked on during his years as a teacher. In 1824 he published his first book, History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations, 1494–1535, which immediately created widespread interest, in large part because of its introduction that argued for the necessity of a new kind of history, and its appendix with its critical discussion of sources. With the success of History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations he was suddenly in 1825 elevated to an extraordinary professorship at the University of Berlin (established in 1810 by Wilhelm von Humboldt), in a city already the intellectual capital of Germany.The university boasted great figures, Hegel in philosophy, von Savigny in legal history. Ranke was faced with the choice of supporting Hegel’s grand philosophy of history as the progressive revelation of God’s reason or World-Spirit; or moving towards Savigny’s preference for seeing history as the study of particulars.The élite of the university, which the young Ranke now joined, frequently met socially, and it also mingled with high officials of the Prussian government. In social circles, Ranke enjoyed becoming an habitué of the liberal salon of Karl and Rahel Varnhagen von Ense, though in the 1830s he began to move in more conservative circles.9 After his History

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of the Ottoman and Spanish Monarchies in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries was published in 1827, the Prussian government generously awarded the young historian a research grant for study of the sources of sixteenth-century Italian history. His scholarly journey to locate documents took him first to Vienna (where some Venetian archives were stored), then, like so many German travellers before him, across the Alps to Italy, to Florence, Venice, Rome. Living quietly in these legendary cities, he nevertheless found great joy in his discovery of hitherto little used or unused archives.10 In Rome, Ranke met the future king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, striking up a friendly acquaintance. In 1831 he journeyed back to the University of Berlin laden with notes and manuscripts, which would form the basis of many years of historical writing. On his return, and with the reputation now of being a conservative, he was asked by the Prussian foreign minister and other state officials to edit a new journal which would combat the liberal political ideas which were current in Germany in the wake of the French and Belgian revolutions of 1830. He hence became for a while, as he later wrote, a political journalist. While the journal did not attract many writers or readers and he had to write most of it himself, Ranke found himself rewarded by a grateful Prussian government for his monarchical politics; he received a substantial rise in salary and promotion to the professoriate. Upon the publication of his History of the Popes in 1834–36, Ranke’s reputation spread beyond Germany; he was seen as the first protestant to write impartially upon such a subject. Indeed, while the papacy condemned the work as hostile, his fellow protestants felt Ranke had been too fainthearted. His close association with government figures in Germany continued. In 1841, he was appointed Prussian Royal Historiographer. In 1843, though his family felt resigned to his being a lifelong celibate devoted to writing his histories, he met and married an Irish woman, Clarissa GravesPerceval, daughter of a Dublin lawyer, and they had two sons and a daughter. During the revolution of 1848 he penned position papers urging Friedrich Wilhelm IV to resist the liberals in preserving monarchical rule in Prussia. In early 1871 he retired from teaching at the University of Berlin but continued writing; in 1880, then 84, he embarked on a Universal History.Throughout his career Ranke was showered with honours. In 1865 he was granted hereditary nobility; in 1882 he became a privy councillor; in 1885 an honorary citizen of Berlin.11

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In the seventeenth century the great and highly controversial Enlightenment thinker Benedict Spinoza felt that the philosopher should not seek honours or earthly rewards.12 Not so Ranke.

II
Ranke is usually regarded as separating history from philosophy, theology, literature, and from non-rational pursuits such as mysticism or Egyptology.Yet it is clear from his earliest writings and musings that Ranke felt the historian should be an explorer of life’s ultimate questions. Like theology, history should seek to understand God’s presence in the world. Nor was history opposed to the romance of Egyptology, the abiding belief that ancient Egypt is the source of the wisdom of the ages, secretly preserved in mystic and occult knowledge. Just how theological, Egyptological, and indeed mystical Ranke’s conceptions could be are evident in some reflections he confided, while still a young teacher in the gymnasium in Frankfurt on Oder, to his brother Heinrich in March 1820, when he was about to begin the research for his first book: ‘I want to learn something about the life of the nations in the fifteenth century, of the renewed germination of all the seeds sown by antiquity’. He tells his brother of conversations with a fellow teacher, where they spoke of the ‘different manifestations of God’, and Ranke had insisted on the importance of ‘faithfulness to detail’. He reminds Heinrich that Fichte, the great German Idealist philosopher, apparently had once said that ‘love of the living past, of its idea, this inner drive to acquaintance with antiquity in its depth, leads to God’. The historian, he tells Heinrich, must likewise investigate as profoundly as possible the inner movement of the past, its ‘indwelling spirit’.13 Those who probe history, Ranke tells Heinrich, will deepen their judgement and find God at the same time. Ranke compares God to a visual image, of a ‘holy hieroglyph’:
In all of history God dwells, lives, is to be found. Every deed testifies to Him; every instant preaches His name, but above all, I think, the great interactions of history. He stands there like a holy hieroglyph, perceived only in its outline and preserved lest it be lost from the sight of future centuries.

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Boldly then! Let things happen as they may; only, for our part, let us try to unveil this holy hieroglyph. And so shall we serve God; so are we also priests, also teachers.14

Ranke as priest and teacher strives for an identity that is not only Christian, but also invokes ancient pharaonic Egypt. When Ranke suggests to Heinrich that the ‘different manifestations of God’ might be found in ‘faithfulness to detail’, we might think of the pantheistic Egyptian notion of the One and the Many, the invisible creator god and the many visible gods of creation; a pantheism that was prominent in works by Spinoza and his Anglo-Irish theologian follower John Toland in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.15 Walter Benjamin reminds us in his 1928 The Origin of German Tragic Drama that during the Renaissance and later in the art and theatre of the Baroque period, Egyptian hieroglyphs were often associated with allegory, a mode of expression and writing emphasising riddle and enigma.16 Erik Iversen observes in The Myth of Egypt and Its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition that in Europe during and since the Renaissance, through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the interest in Egypt was diversely manifested in archaeology, art, literature, travel books, decoration, architecture, mystical thought, fantasy, fashion, music, and speculations about Egypt’s relations with ancient Greece.Various more or less secret societies like the Rosicrucians and Freemasons were for centuries fascinated with Egypt as the possibility of an esoteric truth manifest in allegorical symbols, known only to initiates. In 1798 Napoleon invaded Egypt and the Rosetta stone was found, though it was shortly after purloined by the British; and in the first decades of the nineteenth century it was deciphered, especially once Jean François Champollion discovered in 1824 that the hieroglyphs were alphabetical in nature.17 Perhaps the ‘antiquity’ which for Ranke sows the seeds of history has, in the metaphor of ‘holy hieroglyph’, a Janus face: both Christian and Egyptian, male and female (to be unveiled), particular and general.The holy hieroglyph, says Ranke to Heinrich, is to be found in every ‘instant’ and,‘above all’, in the ‘great interactions of history’.

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III

If any single piece of writing influenced the worldwide development of professional history, it was the introduction to Ranke’s first book the 1824 History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations.18 Yet there are formulations, phrases, and images in this 1824 introduction which suggest that from the outset of his publishing career Ranke was a contradictory divided figure. Certainly in the introduction there are recognisable positions that would appear to herald later professional history, both in terms of establishing truth and the modern historian’s sensibility. History, Ranke declares,
has had assigned to it the office of judging the past and of instructing the present for the benefit of future ages.To such high offices the present work does not presume: it seeks only to show what actually happened [wie es eigentlich gewesen].19

He goes on to separate his notion of historical writing from that of ‘literature’:
We cannot expect from the writing of history the same free development as is, at least in theory, to be expected in works of literature; I am not certain that it is right to ascribe this quality to the work of the Greek and Roman masters.A strict presentation of the facts, contingent and unattractive as that may be, is the highest law.20

The historian should regard ‘treatment of particulars’ as ‘the essential part of the writing of history’, even if such evocation – unlike ‘works of literature’ – might seem ‘unattractive’, and might appear ‘harsh, disconnected, colourless, and tiring’ for the reader. And it is also an ideal, Ranke feels, that he inherits from antiquity, from the ‘work of the Greek and Roman masters’, work, he suggests, that belongs to history, not ‘literature’. Ranke, then, marks out for his readers a new, non-judgemental future for historical writing: sober, plainly presented (‘colourless’), not necessarily pleasing to read (‘harsh’, even ‘tiring’ because of its accumulation of detail), and not necessarily unified into a continuous story as in a novel (it may be ‘disconnected’, and the historian is not ‘free’ to make it connected). It is not to be scorned, for such is an ‘exalted ideal’ for the historian to try to reach: ‘the event in itself in its human intelligibility, its unity, its diversity’. Nevertheless, Ranke tells us, it is not only ‘particulars’ and the ‘event’ that historical writing

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should explore, there are far wider and longer processes involved as well that shape the prized ‘facts’. Indeed, Ranke begins the introduction by telling us what these are. The historian, he says, will always have a ‘purpose’, which depends upon his ‘point of view’, and in his own case, his point of view is suggested by the very title of the book he is introducing, History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. Ranke’s history, we soon learn, involves the centrality of ‘race’. ‘I regard’, says Ranke, ‘the Latin and Germanic peoples as a unity’. This unity is to be marked out by a series of exclusions of non-Latin and nonGermanic peoples. By such a notion of unity, he explains, he does not mean a ‘universal Christendom’, for then the Armenians would have to be included; he does not mean ‘the concept of Europe’, for then the Turks and Russians would have to be included, who are either Asiatic or count among them Asiatics; and he does not mean ‘the concept of Latin Christianity’, for then he would have to include the ‘Slavic, Lithuanian, and Magyar races’. All such are ‘foreign to this unity’, and hence will only be touched on in a passing and subordinate way. What Ranke will remain close to, however, are the ‘racially kindred nations of either purely Germanic or Latin-Germanic origin whose history forms the heart of all modern history’.Those excluded from Ranke’s racial categorisation are irrelevant to not just part but ‘all modern history’.21 They are not part of modern history’s ‘heart’, a metaphor suggesting essence, a dynamic centrality, inner and outer, core and periphery. What his history will do is show ‘how these peoples have developed in unison and along similar lines’, by focussing on a ‘small portion’ of the history of the Latin and Germanic nations at the beginning of the modern age, in the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century. He will write variously about the founding of the Spanish monarchy which involved a ‘crusade’ ‘against the infidels’ and the ‘discovery of America and the conquest of its great empires’, the ‘collapse of Italian freedom’, political opposition by the French, religious opposition in the Reformation – ‘in short, that division of our nations into hostile camps upon which all modern history is based’, as in the ‘Spanish domination of Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands’. Modern history, then, is a story of conflict between various nations and forces within the Latin and Germanic nations, conflict which nevertheless does not constitute fragmentation, for, Ranke says, his book ‘seeks to comprehend all these and other related events in the history of the Latin and German nations as a unity’.22

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It is at this point in his introduction that Ranke famously warns that he is not judging such processes, such diversity within an overall unity, only describing them, only seeking to show what actually happened (wie es eigentlich gewesen).Yet, surely, it was far too late for such a declaration of being non-judgemental, of not ‘judging the past’! Ranke has already declared that his history is a kind of racial history, and that the only peoples who qualify to be written about as belonging to the ‘heart of all modern history’ must be of ‘either purely Germanic or Latin-Germanic origin’. Any other peoples who are not ‘purely’ – what an ominous darkly resonant adverb that is – Germanic or Latin-Germanic do not belong to Europe’s essential history. Furthermore, while Ranke assures us that we should not be either ‘judging the past’ or ‘instructing the present for the benefit of future ages’, he ends the introduction by invoking the watchful hand of God. For, Ranke says,‘at times’ the ‘life of the individual, of generations, of nations’ has ‘the hand of God above them’. Ranke’s history, it would appear, was to be theological as well as racial.

IV
Ranke published at the beginning of the History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations another introduction, a nineteen-page sketch of the argument of the book. In these pages, Ranke tells us that certain migrations of peoples across Europe led to a new unity, between on the one hand the ‘collective Teutonic nations’ who had entered the Roman world, and on the other the Latin peoples with their Christianity, culture, language, and Roman law; a combination that would come to be symbolised in the figure of Charlemagne and the unifying power of the papacy. From this Latin-Teutonic unity ‘six great nations’ were formed, the French, Spanish and Italian in which the Latin element predominated, and the German, English, and Scandinavian, in which the Teutonic element was conspicuous. Ranke concedes that subsequently these nations were almost always at war among themselves. But, he insists, they continued to display a unity overall, for they were and are not only ‘alike in manners’ and ‘similar in many of their institutions’, but they are ‘all sprung from the same or a closely allied stock’. Furthermore, the story of their unity can be observed in certain ‘external enterprises’, which arise from the ‘same spirit’, chiefly in the ‘migration of nations, the Crusades, and the colonization

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of foreign countries’. Ranke’s narrative is a story of development, of success in history: ‘a progressive development of the Latin and Teutonic life from the first beginning until now’.23 Ranke’s narrative of progress is based, then, on the achievement of a kind of racial unity, for between the Latin and Teutonic ‘conglomeration of peoples’ there was formed a close community of ‘blood, kindred religion, institutions, manners, and modes of thought’.This unity was forged in various external actions of repulsion or conquest. For one thing, such unity ‘successfully resisted the influence of foreign races’: chiefly,Arabs and Hungarians, and the Slavs who neighboured the Hungarians. Happily, the Hungarians were driven back and became Christians, as did the contiguous Slav nations, though, Ranke adds, while now Christian these peoples cannot be said to belong also to the ‘unity of our nations’, for their ‘manners and their constitution have ever severed them from it’. By page 6 of the introduction, then, Ranke has explicitly identified with the Latin-Germanic unity so that he refers from now on to ‘our nations’, which become for him a ‘circle’. The Normans, for example, revealed their ‘Germanic origin’ by becoming Christian and entering into the ‘circle to which they naturally belonged’.24 The Normans, indeed, Ranke tells us, distinguished themselves in the Crusades, which extended the migration of the Latin-Germanic peoples ‘on all sides and in all directions’. Not only the Normans but all the Latin and Teutonic nations shared in ‘this new enthusiasm’. The Crusades, the ‘great armed pilgrimages to Jerusalem’, were a signal historical achievement of the ‘whole body’ of the Latin and Teutonic nations, largely unaided by any other people. The Crusades also include the Spanish Christian conquest of Spain, subduing the whole of Andalusia and so redressing ‘the Spanish disaster’ of being previously overrun by Arabs; and the Spanish were assisted on the peninsula by the cooperation of their ‘kindred races’, chiefly Low Germans, English, and Flemish. Such were the ‘most important and permanent achievements’ in the south of Europe. But there were more Crusades still, for concurrently with these eastern and southern Mediterranean ‘operations’, which included ‘possession of the coast of Africa from Tunis to Tripoli’, others were carried on in the north and east of Europe ‘prompted by the same spirit’. Here are to be noted further ‘progressive advances of our nations’. Here, says Ranke, we can witness history as ‘a brilliant success’.The Swedes, for example, forcibly baptised the Finns. German rule was extended over all Esthonia,

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Livonia, and Courland; the land of the Letts was made a German country; the Pomeranians were to some degree ‘germanised’.The ‘German name’ came to embrace the whole of the Baltic. Further, in a ‘new extension of our nations’, the ‘Anglo-Germanic’ people, embodied in Henry Plantagenet, entered Ireland where they became dominant and made subjects of the ‘native Irish’, a conquest which pleased the Pope, who had indeed, says Ranke, ‘instigated the attack upon Ireland, because that land would never obey him’. Thus all parts of Europe could show the ‘unity of our nations in idea, in action, and in development’.25 Ranke’s narrative of history as progress encompasses examples of genocide as defined by Raphaël Lemkin: the destruction of the life-world of a group or nation or country or territory, followed by the imposition of the life-world of the conquering group. Indeed, Ranke anticipates Lemkin’s linking, in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, of genocide with colonisation (Lemkin mainly instanced what the Nazis were trying to do in Poland, though he also in a footnote mentioned the Crusades as an example of attempted genocide in the medieval past). Ranke writes that it was the ‘crusading spirit that gave birth to colonization’.26 What was wholly deplorable for Lemkin was wholly admirable for Ranke. In this genocidal spirit, Ranke is pleased to announce as a ‘brilliant success’ that the ‘Danes, Saxons and Westphalians leagued together to make a common expedition against the neighbouring Slavs, resolved either to convert them to Christianity, or else to exterminate them’.As it turned out, to the ‘west of the Oder, the Slavs were, by the times of the Crusades, practically exterminated’, which permitted their replacement by German nobility, citizens and peasants who became the ‘real stock’ of the ‘new inhabitants of Mecklenburg, Pomerania, Brandenburg and Silesia’. Ranke is also pleased to tell his readers that the ‘Spanish operations’ against the heathens of the Americas revived the splendid idea that inspired the Northern Crusades when those in the north of Europe were either to be Christianised or exterminated.The ‘only justification’ necessary for the conquest of the Americas was a ‘grant from the Pope’, the proclamation that (in the words of the Pope) the enemy must be converted to Christianity or utterly destroyed. A major Spanish achievement here – not just Spanish, for it was an achievement of ‘our peoples’ – was the implanting on the other side of the Atlantic of ‘five million white men’.27 For Ranke, the ‘three great respirations’ of ‘this unique confederation’ lay

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in the successful operations of their migrations, Crusades, and colonisations, which ‘form one single and connected event’. Certainly there was for many centuries strife and even enmity between the various Latin-Germanic nations in European history; but division also led to new alliances that bound them together.28 Overall the Crusades were a great historical success because they embodied ‘an intellectual impulse’, evident in the spread of Christendom, the development of freedom for towns, and the codes of chivalry associated with Latin-German Christianity.29
War may arouse every brutal passion in our nature, but it is the province of chivalry to save the true man, to soften force by manners and the elevating influence of women, and to refine strength by pointing to what is divine.30

War is productive, at least war conducted in the godly spirit of the LatinGermanic nations. Ranke admires the ecclesiastical orders of knights such as the Templars who maintained the spirit of the Crusades, as well as the Teutonic Knights whom he contrasts to ‘the Letts and the Slavs’. For Ranke the medieval period of the Crusades and the Knights is a golden age when so many things bloomed: chivalry; poetry in the tales of Charlemagne and Arthur and the Icelandic sagas; freedom of the towns; and Gothic cathedrals. Ranke sees all such cultural, political, and architectural achievements as the positive results of the great colonising wars of the Crusaders over much of the world, and as created by ‘our nations’ alone: ‘No other people had any share in it.’ 31

V
In his old age Ranke recalled how important to his own conceptions and projects was his youthful rejection of the novels of Sir Walter Scott.Yet the rejection was not simple or easy. In his ‘Autobiographical Dictation (November 1885)’, a year before he died, Ranke noted that the ‘romantichistorical works of Sir Walter Scott, which found a reception in all languages and all nations, contributed principally toward awakening a participation in the deeds and achievements of the past’. Scott was important for inspiring a nineteenth-century interest in history, and his novels were, Ranke admits,

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‘attraction enough for me, and I read these works with lively interest’. But he also ‘took objection to them’. He found himself ‘offended’ by the way that Scott had knowingly created historical portraits that ‘seemed, even in particular details, to be completely contradictory to the historical evidence’: ‘I could not forgive him for accepting in his narrative biased tendencies which were totally unhistorical, and presenting them as if he believed them.’ From then on, Ranke decided, he was convinced that the
historical sources themselves were more beautiful and in any case more interesting than romantic fiction. I turned completely away from such fiction and resolved to avoid any invention and imagination in my work and to keep strictly to the facts.32

In his statement, Ranke singled out Scott’s Quentin Durward for particular unfavourable mention.33 Why did he dislike it so much, and what does this dislike tell us about his plans for history? Let’s look closely at this minor Scott novel, published in 1823, a year before the History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. It is not as well known as Ivanhoe (1819), in the nineteenth century the most popular of Scott’s novels, influential in literature as well as in painting, drama, and opera in Europe and the United States as well as throughout the British Empire.34 Quentin Durward is often rather wordy, has a main female character who is pallid and weak compared to Ivanhoe’s remarkable Rebecca, and has stories that are often tediously involved, but it is interesting nonetheless. Georg Lukács in The Historical Novel (1937) sees Quentin as ‘the correct, chivalrous hero’, a character who like other Scott heroes moves between competing social forces embodied in particular characters.35 In what follows, we will bring to the fore dramas of race, ethnicity and religion in Quentin Durward. Set in France in the latter part of the fifteenth century, Quentin Durward concerns the adventures of a Scottish gentleman, a good Catholic, a young traveller of only nineteen, open and carefree in his manner though intelligent and shrewd withal.36 Quentin’s family in Scotland had been all but destroyed by another clan, and he is on his way to the court of Louis XI, hoping to join the body of Scottish archers who protect the king, and in whose employ is Quentin’s uncle Ludovic Leslie.The Scottish archers are mercenaries, but are held to be gentlemen and are ranked as such in France, historical ally of the Scots against their mutual enemy the English. Quentin thinks of himself as a ‘Scottish cavalier of honour’, a chivalrous knight. Quentin has been brought up to consider war as the only serious occupation in life, with hunting as the
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only serious amusement, though he also fortunately attended a convent where he had been taught to read and write. Romance, however, soon asserts itself in this new life-situation. While staying at an inn on the way to Louis’ palace, he hears a lute playing and a voice singing, that of the young Countess Isabelle de Croye as it turns out, with whom he becomes entranced (he perceives her through a ‘light veil of sea-green silk’).The Countess, accompanied by her older cousin Lady Hameline, has run away from the prospect of a forced marriage being arranged for her by the Duke of Burgundy, a relative (and longstanding enemy) of the king. Quentin joins the Scottish archers and impresses the king with his resourcefulness, astuteness, and obvious valour. By contrast the character of the king is created in the novel as scheming and duplicitous.37 Louis sends Quentin along as an escort for the two ladies, who are disguised as English pilgrims, to find protection in a distant castle of their kinsman the Bishop of Liege. Secretly, however, the king has arranged for the party to be attacked by a rogue nobleman, the two ladies to be kidnapped and forcibly married off to get them out of the way (so that they do not cause unnecessary friction between the king and the duke), while Quentin is to be killed: the king, we might say, following Mary Spongberg in her Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance, is choosing to follow a tradition in the ancient world, evident in The Iliad, that women are the cause of ruinous civil wars.38 Quentin comes to realise that the king has betrayed him and releases himself from the royal employment (as it were). Many and varied adventures then occur, including the threats, perils, and separations faced by Quentin and the Countess, which endanger the growing affection between them and create suspense both for them and the reader.39 In genre terms, Quentin Durward has recognisable elements of the adventure-romance novel as evoked by Mikhail Bakhtin in The Dialogic Imagination, in his essay,‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel’.There is in adventure-time a rush of events, with danger always imminent, disaster always near. Bakhtin also suggests that in genres of ancient days to the present outsider figures are very important in the creation of narratives – figures like the rogue, adventurer, trickster, fool, servant, crank, prostitute, courtesan, pimp, tramp, thief, parvenu, actor, detective, doctor.40 In these terms, Quentin as Scot and wandering knight is ideal in the narrative as one who sees things with fresh perceptions, one to whom or in front of whom people will say revealing things, who can move from low to high in social life, who is not
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bound to any household or the king or any faction or castle or town. Quentin is a kind of innocent outsider figure. He takes nothing for granted, refuses to accept that anything in history is natural or fated. Chivalry is critically inspected in the novel. Quentin’s uncle Ludovic, for example, known in France as Le Balafré (which translates as gash, slash, scar), a supposed honourable knight, emerges as one who, without being wantonly cruel, is ‘indifferent to human life and human suffering’, and ‘profoundly ignorant, greedy of booty, unscrupulous how he acquired it’, in short, possessing the character of an ‘ordinary mercenary soldier’. It also becomes clear in the novel that part of chivalry that involves being a Christian warrior includes the religious duty to attack and perhaps exterminate all non-Christians. Indeed, issues of treatment by Europeans of those considered alien, issues that preoccupy Ivanhoe in relation to Jews, Orientals, and Africans, are explored in Quentin Durward in relation to Gypsies. On his way to the court of Louis XI, Quentin had observed in a field a strangely dressed man being hanged from a tree and tries to save him, but is thwarted when a group of the king’s soldiers arrive and immediately attack and try to kill the hanged man’s friends and relatives who are weeping and keening nearby. They flee, terrified. Later we learn they are Bohemians, or Gypsies, apparently newly arrived in the lands of the Europeans.They appear to Quentin when he first sees them as ‘oriental’, wearing ‘turbans and caps’. He thinks they might be a party of Africans, or Saracens. Quentin’s uncle is irritated that he had tried to save the Gypsy being hanged, asking what could lead ‘the senseless boy to meddle with the body of a cursed misbelieving Jewish Moorish pagan?’ Uncle Ludovic compares their appearance in Europe to ‘a flight of locusts’, tribes of them appearing also in Germany, Spain, and England. When Quentin innocently enquires what evil they do, Ludovic replies: ‘Evil? – why, boy, they are heathens, or Jews, or Mahomedans at the best, and neither worship our Lady nor the Saints …’ When the king’s soldiers attack them, the soldiers regard them as beasts to be bound or wolves to be speared. Even Quentin, on meeting a Bohemian while escorting the two ladies, finds himself addressing the Gypsy as ‘Dog’ on realising he is not a Christian, the narrator commenting that ‘there was little toleration in the spirit of Catholicism in those days’. Monasteries were ‘very reluctant’ to offer hospitality and resting-place for them. A friar tells Quentin that it is not only heathen Gypsies who are so treated in Christian Europe, pointing to Cologne as the wanderers near it and

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saying that it ‘will not endure that a Jew or Infidel should even enter within the walls of their town’.41 It is accepted by all in Europe, then, that the Gypsies and outsiders like them are to be despised in racial-religious terms, terms that directly recall Ranke’s contempt for outsiders to his chosen Christian Europeans in History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations, written only a year later than Quentin Durward.What a contrast we have here!

VI
Our suspicion is that it is not just that Quentin Durward has inaccuracies in the presentation of historical personages that bothered Ranke. It fundamentally challenges Ranke’s optimism about European history, both in general as well as in terms of particular features like chivalry. Ranke in his nineteen-page introduction to the History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations reminds us of Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide, Or Optimism (1758): for Ranke, whatever mishaps and disasters occur in the Latin-Germanic world, it is still the best of all possible worlds.42 Quentin Durward has a very different evaluation of the effects of war and violence from that evident in the long introduction to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. Quentin Durward is a highly sceptical text. It is a satire, yet a satire in the Menippean sense evoked by Mikhail Bakhtin, where there are no definite values established by which to judge history with certainty, and no definite conclusions reached about the true course of humanity, society, and destiny.43 War and violence in Quentin Durward are perceived as always involving cruel or brutal or sad death, indeed the narrator refers to ‘the miseries of war’ in a phrase that directly recalls the language of The Iliad when that great foundational text is evoking the destruction of young lives in battle. And war involves violence against women: Quentin saves some young women from being raped by French soldiers in the city of Liege. Further, the novel is quite frequently sympathetic to the plight of the Gypsies in France and Europe generally, recognising that when they are not being harassed or immediately killed, they are used by politicians on all sides for their own ends, and discarded when no long useful. In Quentin Durward we hear the Gypsy characters speaking in their own voices, they are not just written about; the

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Gypsies assist Quentin because he tried to save one of their own, for them a rare act of kindness and support.44 Scott’s novels and Ranke’s 1824 History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations differ in ways that would become important for the future of professional history. Quentin Durward challenges Ranke’s focus in the History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations on the powerful and prominent in history, on kings, popes, princely rulers, royal houses, governments, states. The focus of both Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward, by contrast, is equally on the perspectives of the powerful and those who are the objects of attention of the powerful: those held to be low, those to be disdained, essentialised and desired as Other, persecuted, excluded, destroyed, slain; Orientals, Africans, Gypsies, Mahomedans, Heathens, Infidels, Jews.

VII
By way of conclusion, we can return to a question posed as a problem for our book as a whole, in our opening chapters on Herodotus and Thucydides: how did Herodotus and Thucydides become continuing influences in the shaping of modern historical writing? The continuing power of Thucydides is clear in Ranke’s focus on the state and political, military and diplomatic developments as history itself; tantalisingly, Ranke at Leipzig when young studied classical literature as well as theology, and wrote a now vanished doctoral thesis on Thucydides, saluting him as ‘a powerful, great spirit before whom I knelt’.45 The continuing influence of Herodotus, however, seems much more evanescent. How did the kind of historical writing established by Herodotus, with its pluralising of many kinds of history, history as social and cultural and religious and everyday as well as political and military, history as the history of women as well as of men, survive? One short answer is that Herodotean historical writing resurged in Scott’s historical novels, including Quentin Durward: in this sense, we can say Ranke to Scott is as Thucydides to Herodotus. For example, there is an important difference in narrative tone between Quentin Durward and Ranke’s History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. In the spirit of Herodotus in antiquity, the narrator of Scott’s novel quite often makes ironic playful references to himself, pointing out to the reader how little he knows, or how uncertain are his documentary sources in yield-

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ing sure knowledge of people and events in the compilation of what he selfparodically refers to as ‘this true history’.46 The tone of the narrator of History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations is of one who possesses the truth; it is a Thucydidean tone that would make it difficult to allow for acknowledgement of uncertainty and inconclusiveness. It used to be said, as by Lukács in The Historical Novel, that when Scott created Waverley in 1814 as the first of the Waverley novels, he also formally inaugurated the historical novel as such. Lukács scorned the notion that Scott had ‘important literary forerunners’ in writers with a ‘purely external’ sense of ‘theme and costume’ like Scudéry in the seventeenth century, or, nearer to his own time, ‘second- and third-rate writers’ like Ann Radcliffe.47 In this influential view, where the novel in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century had ranked low in the hierarchy of genres, with the advent of Waverley the form was, as it were, masculinised and began quickly to move upwards in terms of aesthetic status and moral seriousness. In his 1972 introduction to the Penguin edition of Waverley, editor Andrew Hook informed readers that not only did Waverley establish ‘a new literary genre’, that of ‘historical fiction’, but that Scott launched the novel form into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with ‘a new authority and prestige, and even more important perhaps, a new masculinity’: ‘After Scott the novel was no longer in danger of becoming the preserve of the woman writer and the woman reader. Instead it became the appropriate form for writers’ richest and deepest imaginative explorations of human experience.’48 Ina Ferris in The Achievement of Literary Authority (1991) notes that Scott’s Waverley novels were welcomed by male reviewers at the time for signalling ‘the health-and-manliness that counteracts the disease’ of ‘female reading’ (and, Ferris adds, were also welcomed for counteracting the ‘demonic masculinity of Byron’).49 Yet there is now a burgeoning critical literature demonstrating that the historical novel and historical fiction did not spring newborn into a surprised world. Scott himself was careful to tell his readers in the final chapter of Waverley, ‘A Postscript, which should have been a preface’, that he wished in this his first novel to ‘emulate the admirable Irish portraits drawn by Miss Edgeworth’; and he repeats in his 1829 General Preface to the Waverley novels that he ‘felt something might be attempted for my own country of the same kind with that which Miss Edgeworth so fortunately achieved for Ireland’.50 Contemporary feminist criticism has confirmed and deepened

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appreciation of the relationship between Scott’s and the Anglo-Irish Maria Edgeworth’s novels, at the same time also revealing that Scott’s historical novel was formatively influenced and shaped by women’s historical fiction of the preceding centuries. Marilyn Butler in her literary biography of Maria Edgeworth drew attention to Scott’s debt to his Anglo-Irish friend.51 Katie Trumpener in Bardic Nationalism argues, explicitly disagreeing with Lukács, that it was women writers who had created the historical novel up to the time of Scott’s belated entry into it:‘most of the conceptual innovations attributed to Scott were in 1814 already established commonplaces of the British novel. Even Scott’s notion of historically representative character (for Lukács, his greatest innovation) is adapted from the novels of his contemporaries …’52 In this feminist critical literature, women’s writing before Scott had already brought together a range of features and generic elements where there is entwinement of the domestic and local with the public, political, and military. These include the politics of the personal, the anecdote and memoir, memory as history, the antiquarian, romance, satire, private life and domestic space and intrigue behind the public stage, the historicity of place, and an ethnographic focus on the culture of the everyday life of the common people. And more: oral history, the regional story, tales of village life, the national tale, genealogy, family history, manners, rumour, myth, the tiny detail, the minute fact, eye-witness history, allegory.53 Here is Herodotean history resurgent and creatively furthered. In historical writing, the capacious Herodotean stream might go underground for lengthy periods, but it will keep resurfacing with renewed force.

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CHAPTER 4

History, Science and Art

Cleopatra’s nose: had it been shorter, the whole face of the earth would have been altered. (Pascal,Pensées)1 Our valuation of the historical may be only an occidental prejudice: but let us at least make progress within this prejudice and not stand still! (Nietzsche, ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’, 1874)2

In and from its formative period in the 1820s, professional history began to reject firmly and crisply any association with literary fantasticality and sought a closer relationship to historical reality, to the manifest and actual. Such, in any case, is the usual story of the development of modern professional history. In this usual story, Leopold von Ranke is held to be its progenitor: its mild, wise, tolerant, detached, evenhanded father.3 In this usual story, professional history was guided by Ranke’s famous declaration from his 1824 introduction to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations that history should seek only to show what actually happened (wie es eigentlich gewesen).4

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In many ways, Ranke – renowned for research into the facts, with a reputation for scholarly impartiality and objectivity that transcends any particular political commitments, close to state power, an adviser to governments – did indeed become exemplary of the new professional historian, in England, the United States and elsewhere in an increasingly history-hungry world. Ranke influenced the new profession in crucial aspects. At the University of Berlin he instituted the historical seminar, the origin of the modern way of training scholars in history. He encouraged the critical inspection of original documents and the narratives of eyewitnesses. Other aspects of his historical thinking, however, while very influential, were not as universally successful. In his 1854 lectures addressed to the Bavarian king Max Joseph, Ranke delivered the dictum that ‘every epoch is immediate to God’: the historian should investigate each age for itself in its incomparable uniqueness (here is one meaning of German ‘historicism’) rather than as a precursor to the present; the historian should not moralise at the past from contemporary political or personal standpoints; historians should extinguish their own presence because it was not in the past.5 He also tried to establish – with what success we shall see – professional history as above all political, military and diplomatic history, the steady focus on the actions and interactions of nation states, mixed with portraits and assessments of the public character and capacities for leadership of the designated key protagonists in a series of events.6 How different, we’ve seen, this is from Scott novels like Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward, decisively shaped by prior women’s historical writing and historical fiction, which are always relating the political to the personal. From the latter part of the nineteenth century Ranke became increasingly known in Britain and the United States as the founder of scientific history. Lord Acton, regius professor of modern history at Cambridge from 1895 until his death in 1902, influentially pronounced in his inaugural lecture of 11 June 1895:
Ranke is the representative of the age which instituted the modern study of history. He taught it to be critical, to be colourless, and to be new. We meet him at every step, and he has done more for us than any other man …7

Yet Ranke’s influence on the practice of history was neither simple nor complete. No project, no approach, no method, can hope to win and secure

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unquestioned power and sway in intellectual life. For one thing, older attachments to history as story and imaginative insight did not disappear. For another, the doubleness we saw in Herodotus and Thucydides, the concern for scrupulous rigorous research yet the investment in, the pull of, values, desires, worldview, literary influences, had also occurred – as we saw in chapter 3 – in Ranke’s own writings. Ranke himself exhibited just such an intriguing double character, especially in his writings of the 1820s like his mystical ‘Holy Hieroglyph’ letter to his brother Heinrich and his introductory essays to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. Given these contradictory 1820s writings, it is difficult to see how Ranke’s legacy and influence were not going to be problematic and controversial.And so they have proved to be. In particular, from the late nineteenth century the English historians, even Lord Acton – especially Lord Acton – emerge as more ambivalent than at first sight they might appear to be.

I
The new professional history, allying itself in the nineteenth century with the prestige of the natural sciences, attracted many critics, including some from within the profession; or at least mixed response, for it was difficult to secure the proposition that history, which presented itself in narrative form, could be a science.The notion of history as art and the view of history as science have jostled against one another ever since the 1820s, unresolved, often within the one author. There was continual dissent and unease concerning the new scientific ideal, rarely full acceptance. Ranke’s own optimism about the new history met with scepticism in his former student, the great Swiss art historian Jacob Burckhardt (1818–97), best known for his The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860). Burckhardt pursued cultural history, not political history; he dyspeptically regarded the modern age of the nineteenth century, with its money-making and vulgar mass culture (in its newspapers and novels), as a precipitate decline from Europe’s heroic cultural values of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In Reflections on History, based on lectures given as history professor at the University of Basel in the period 1868–71, Burckhardt suggested to his students that history revealed ground neither for optimism

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nor progress: ‘our assumption that we live in the age of moral progress is supremely ridiculous’. Optimism in history must founder in the face of the ‘spiritual inadequacy of human nature in general, and even of the best of humanity in particular’. History, Burckhardt felt, is ‘actually the most unscientific of all the sciences’. He thought that historical knowledge can never be impersonal and objective, for we cannot ‘ever rid ourselves entirely of the views of our own time and personality’. He considered that ‘every method is open to criticism, and none is universally valid’. He accorded value to ‘sudden intuition’ in the contemplation of sources. He recognised, especially in cultural history, the importance of ‘unconscious elements’ in peoples and individuals that should always be taken into account in historical study. He believed that cultures grow, bloom, and decay, and that such processes follow ‘higher, inscrutable laws of life’. The European states in which Ranke saw working a spiritual principle inspired only cynicism in Burckhardt. Burckhardt offered his students caustic reflections on the actions of states in world history. States work by converting force into strength, which is power, and by such power they have no regard for the rights of any state weaker than themselves. Power, observes Burckhardt, is ‘in itself evil’.8 In terms of worldview, Burckhardt nevertheless shared with his old teacher Ranke assumptions about the superiority of Latin-Teutonic Christian Europe as representing civilisation. A Rankean narrative of achievement for certain peoples as against other peoples on earth is all too evident, perhaps rather repulsively so. In Reflections on History Burckhardt perceives the course of world history in terms of a hierarchy of the civilised, the semi-civilised, and the uncivilised or uncivilisable. In discussing world history, we should focus, says Burckhardt, only on ‘the active races’ for our ‘pictures of civilization’.We should also only focus on peoples with a developed historical consciousness; in this sense, we must rule out of interest even modern Americans, for ‘Americans renounce history’, perhaps in part because of their ‘motley immigration’ that has created a ‘neo-American physical type’ of ‘uncertain character and durability’. We must certainly rule out ‘barbarians because they have no history’. Nothing can be learnt about political organisation or religion, for instance, from ‘negroes and Red Indians’; nothing from ‘lesser races’, the ‘savages and semi-savages’,‘primitive peoples’ whose religions arise simply out of fear.True,‘half-civilized peoples’ do exhibit an instinct for drama, but such is only a ‘grotesque imitation of reality by pantomime, accompanied by howls

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and contortions’. So intense is Burckhardt’s contempt for those he considers barbarians that he can overcome his distaste for power and conquest, and recommend in genocidal spirit – here reprising genocidist aspects of Ranke’s thought in History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations – what he calls the ‘royal right of civilization to conquer and subdue barbarism, which must then abandon its bloody, internecine warfare and abhorrent customs and bow to the moral principles of the civilized State’. Perhaps it might be best for barbarians, especially when they are of a ‘different race’, to ‘retire and die out (as in America)’. Genocide is only to be regretted when the ‘more highly civilized peoples’ practise it against their own, as when medieval Christianity in its violence against heretics exterminated the Albigenses.9

II
Another dissenter from the ambitions and ideals of the new history was the nineteenth-century philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), when a young professor at Basel a colleague of Burckhardt.10 In his long 1874 essay ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’, Nietzsche wittily, moodily, coruscatingly rages against the spiritual ills of his age, including the ‘mighty historical movement’ which has apparently been a triumph ‘among the Germans particularly for the past two generations’. He acknowledges that he writes from his profession as a classicist and so as an outsider to the present fevered ‘cultivation of history’. But he feels that being an outsider means he can produce perspectives that are ‘untimely – that is to say, acting counter to our time’. He mockingly apologises, then, for an opposition that may appear to many to be ‘altogether perverse, unnatural, detestable and wholly impermissible’. His criterion of judgement will be the relation of historical writing to the deepest movements of ‘life’, to sensibility and action and notions of truth and justice; and in applying this criterion, he can think of no kind of history which is unambiguously valuable or that can be considered the only way history should be. He warns that there can be too much historical consciousness, we can be too ‘history-hungry’, an excess that can be fatal to action of any kind whether in a ‘man or a people or a culture’.We should not, he feels, forget the value of sometimes forgetting.11 Nietzsche distinguishes between three kinds of history, the monumental,

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the antiquarian, and the critical. Each is related to life in its own way, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Monumental history celebrates the ‘feeling that the life of man is a glorious thing’; it expresses and inspires for future generations the ‘idea of faith in humanity’, the belief in the ‘solidarity and continuity of the greatness of all ages and a protest against the passing away of generations and the transitoriness of things’.Yet there are also clear limitations in the desire of monumental history to seek the exemplary in the past. It violently forces whatever is individual into a universal mould, diminishes differences, makes what is dissimilar look similar, and plays down the ‘dice-game of chance and the future’ which ensures the past can never be exactly reproduced in the present. Antiquarian history, which wishes to preserve and revere, has value for life in ‘tending with care that which has existed from old’, preserving for knowledge and dignity in history’s ‘palimpsest’ even the ‘trivial, circumscribed, decaying and obsolete’.The antiquarian veneration of the past is a valuable corrective for any nation that is ‘given over to a restless, cosmopolitan hunting after new and ever newer things’. The disadvantage, however, is that the ‘antiquarian sense of a man, a community, a whole people, always possesses an extremely restricted field of vision’. Most of what exists it does not see, and the little it does see it sees too close up; it cannot relate what it perceives to anything else, and so lacks discrimination and sense of proportion. Antiquarian history will reject and persecute anything in history that is new and evolving, because it regards the new as insufficiently revering the past. Antiquarian history ‘mummifies’ life.12 The monumental and the antiquarian, says Nietzsche, need a third historical vision that is provided by critical history, which relates to a being that suffers and seeks deliverance. If ‘man’ is to live, he must from time to time employ the strength to ‘break up and dissolve a part of the past’; and every past is worthy to be condemned, for that is the ‘nature of human things’, human violence and weakness have always been significant in history. Life sometimes demands a critical history that draws attention to how unjust life has been and is: ‘then one takes the knife to its roots, then one cruelly tramples over every kind of piety’. Such a process, however, Nietzsche feels, is always ‘dangerous’, for ‘men and ages which serve life by judging and destroying a past are always dangerous and endangered men and ages’.13 Every man, and every nation, Nietzsche urges, requires these three species of history. What nations do not need is the nineteenth-century kind of

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history that claims to be ‘a science’, where historians regard themselves as ‘objective’, as ‘pure thinkers who only look on life’. Such leads to a shallowness of sensibility in the historian, favouring coldness, affectation of tranquillity, dryness; the historian who is ‘efficient, severe and honest of character but narrow of mind’. Nietzsche suggests that the ideal of objectivity, as in a history that believes itself to be a ‘reproduction’ or ‘photograph’ of the ‘empirical nature of things’, is a modern ‘superstition’. He strongly urges the historian to ‘interpret the past’ out of the ‘fullest exertion of the vigour of the present’. He opposes the way the new scientific history is hostile to ‘the eternalizing powers of art and religion’, a necessary perspective he calls the ‘suprahistorical’.14 In referring to the ‘suprahistorical’ perspective that relates history to the ‘eternalizing powers’ of religion, Nietzsche was perhaps speaking to the mystical and Egyptological thread in Ranke’s 1820s reflections on historical writing. And in referring to ‘art’ here he was perhaps insisting, with Burckhardt, that history should be much wider than the political focus associated with Ranke’s stress on the state. In ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’, Nietzsche expresses alarm at what he sees as the gathering hubris of nineteenth-century German historical consciousness, the belief that while Germany is a ‘latecomer of the ages’, this ‘latecomer to godhead’ is now the ‘true meaning and goal of all previous events’. Germany will be the ultimate heir, the ‘completion of world-history’. Nietzsche associates this exceedingly ‘dangerous’ view with the continuing influence of Hegel.15 In his late work Genealogy of Morals (1887), fragment XXVI, Nietzsche again wrote savagely of historians who aspire only to describe the past as it was:
Their major claim is to be a mirror of events; they reject teleology; they no longer want to ‘prove’ anything; they disdain to act the part of judges (and in this they show a measure of good taste); they neither affirm nor deny, they simply ascertain, describe … All this is very ascetic … The modern historian has a sad, hard, but determined stare, a stare that looks beyond, like that of a lonely arctic explorer…. There is nothing here but snow; all life is hushed.16

Nietzsche’s dissident voice was for a long time known only to a few in history. Yet when Nietzsche insists that the historian should interpret the past

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out of the interests and desires of the present (for example, critical or antiquarian or monumental), he is preparing the way for and anticipating a major strand of twentieth-century reflections on history, in Benedetto Croce, Charles Beard, Carl Becker, R.G. Collingwood, Walter Benjamin, and onwards to Michel Foucault.

III
There were also leading English historians like Thomas Carlyle and Lord Macaulay who never accepted the notion of history as a science, or only a science.17 As for Lord Acton, his admiration of Ranke came late, after rather acid initial misgivings. In an early comment, he said of Ranke’s work:
He is a great historical decorator, and avoids whatever is dull or unpleasant, whatever cannot be told in a lively way, or cannot help to his end. He is an epicure and likes only tit-bits … This is his great art, the art of selection and of proportion and perspective. In this he is not guided by the importance of events, and here his art becomes artifice, and his ingenuity treachery … all that he says is often true, and yet the whole is untrue, but the element of untruth is most difficult to detect.

To the end of his life Acton still felt that Ranke was no thinker, that he lacked ideas: ‘No man had so few as Ranke.’18 In his entertaining and sage Acton and History (1998), Owen Chadwick records that the apparently wholehearted admiration for the German protestant Ranke and the new history belonged only to the last stage of Acton’s life – and a remarkable life it was. Lord Acton was a prominent lifelong Catholic intellectual, if of a highly troubled kind, the scenes of his upbringing, schooling, and adult life belonging as much to Europe in the nineteenth century, especially France, Germany, and Italy, as to England. John Acton was born in 1834, his mother German and his English father dying when he was one year old. His step-father Earl Granville, an Anglican, urged an English education on the young John, but both Oxford and Cambridge demanded fealty to the Church of England. Acton hoped for some kind of exemption from a Cambridge college, but the three he applied for could not accept a student who broke college rules by not worshipping in the college chapel. It was decided he should go to Munich University where nearby a German branch

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of the family lived, and here he was taught by the professor of church history, Döllinger, a priest who became for many decades Acton’s father-figure and mentor. Under the tutelage of Döllinger, and while still a teenager, Acton became fascinated by history.19 As a young man he became half-owner of a Catholic English periodical, the Rambler, and hoped by it to raise the intellectual standard of Catholics in England, so often regarded by protestants as contemptible; he shared this ideal with his older contemporary Newman and they would become friends. He became a member of Parliament, a well-known liberal Catholic, and an opponent of nationalism. He was disturbed by the repressive censorship and secrecy practised by the Rome Congregation of the Index, especially when this body ordered withdrawn a book on the theory of the soul by a young philosopher at Munich University, Frohschammer; when Frohschammer asked why, the censors of the Index refused to say. Döllinger called a conference in 1863 to discuss the issue, and his student, John Acton, attended. Döllinger spoke, defending the right to free research. Pope Pius IX sent a disapproving Brief to the archbishop of Munich suggesting that it was extraordinary and unprecedented that professors should summon a conference without the leave of authority. For the rest of his life Acton insisted on the right of free research, not least into the follies and horrors committed by the church in former times, all the better to identify what was good and valuable in the church at its best (as a force for toleration and freedom). He was increasingly suspected in Catholic circles of being rebellious towards papal authority.20 Acton now began sorrowfully to register his intellectual isolation, still a Catholic yet an outsider to those of his own faith (he had been threatened with excommunication). In terms of theology, he accepted that parts of the New Testament might be legendary, and that miracles crumble away when subjected to historical enquiry. He became a kind of intellectual agnostic, doubting any dogmatic proposition, and expressing admiration for solitaries and rebels to orthodoxy in the past, like the Socinians. He could now accept the ethical qualities of a person without religion, the good atheist, as in his admiration for George Eliot as a fellow solitary. Eliot was also, philosophically, a positivist. Chadwick suggests that Acton moved increasingly towards thinking that positivism in historical enquiry, where the historian’s mind was neutral amid strong beliefs and controversies, was how history should be

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practised. Such neutrality aided the achievement of objectivity, and the true creativity of the historian. Acton increasingly drew closer to Ranke as his chief historical master.21 Acton, says Chadwick, insisted on a principle which increasingly impacted upon English thinking about history: that the individual could not properly be an individual without a historical awareness, nor could English society be healthy, politically and constitutionally, without historical consciousness. Social health demanded history and recognition of the historian. At the same time, Acton insisted that history should not be at the service of nationalism, as was occurring with late nineteenth-century German historians. He gained a wider platform for his ideas when, early in 1895, he became regius professor of history at Cambridge, appointed by the Liberal Party prime minister Lord Rosebery. It was now possible to appoint a Roman Catholic for the first time because liberal governments had slowly opened offices to members of every denomination.22

IV
Let’s look at Acton’s 1895 ‘Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History’.When we examine it closely, we can see that it is by no means a simple endorsement of Ranke or Ranke’s kind of history.23 Certainly Acton praises Ranke as a key figure in the study of modern history. Acton tells the students, staff, and visitors who had assembled for the occasion that Ranke is the ‘real originator of the heroic study of records, and the most prompt and fortunate of European pathfinders’ in this ‘documentary age’ that is still just beginning, and he adds that it is to Ranke’s ‘accelerating influence mainly that our branch of study has become progressive’. He salutes Ranke as his ‘own master’.24 Yet it is worth quoting in full the passage where Acton, seemingly positioning himself as son to father, praises Ranke, for the terms of praise are curious indeed:
Ranke is the representative of the age which instituted the modern study of history. He taught it to be critical, to be colourless, and to be new. We meet him at every step, and he has done more for us than any other man. There are stronger books than any of his, and some may have surpassed him in political, religious, philosophic insight, in vividness of the creative imagination, in originality, elevation, and depth of thought; but by the extent of important work well executed, by his influence on able men, and

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by the amount of knowledge which mankind receives and employs with the stamp of his mind upon it, he stands without a rival. [His] Universal History… composed after the age of eighty-three, and carried, in seventeen volumes, far into the Middle Ages, brings to a close the most astonishing career in literature.25

Nothing in this passage suggests clear values and ideals. Acton praises Ranke’s writings as ‘colourless’, which suggests that Ranke presented his findings in a scientific way. In the next sentence, however, Acton adjures that Ranke lacks, compared to others, ‘vividness of creative imagination’: yet surely ‘vividness’ and ‘creative imagination’ indicate literary and aesthetic criteria. Further, when praising him at the end of the passage, Acton refers to Ranke’s career ‘in literature’: doesn’t he mean ‘history’, or ‘science’?! Interesting as this passage is, literary and non-literary criteria are mixed and mingled. Acton is engaged in this passage and in the inaugural lecture as a whole in a conversation with Ranke, agreeing and disagreeing.The lecture is not simply a listing of lessons learnt from master to pupil to be then transmitted unqualified to future generations of historians. In Acton and History, Chadwick notes that the ‘girls’ from Miss Gladstone’s Newnham College who attended were so puzzled by the inaugural lecture that they petitioned to be allowed a meeting to discuss it with him. (Mary Spongberg notes that while women in the United States from the 1860s had gained entry to the American university system in colleges like Vassar, in Europe, with their older universities dominated by clerical traditions, higher education for women was slower to develop. The first women’s colleges at Cambridge, Girton and Newnham, were established in the early 1870s; by the 1880s women were permitted to attend lectures if chaperoned and to sit for the same examinations as male undergraduates, but they were not recognised as members of the university nor could they take out degrees nor hold any university office.)26 We fully sympathise with Miss Gladstone’s students: with the passage of time the inaugural lecture appears no clearer. ‘Acton’ as a theorist of history appears like a hall of mirrors. Chadwick himself wryly observes some of the inconsistencies between what Acton advocates in the inaugural lecture and what he actually did in his historical writings. Chadwick points out that while Acton appears to offer ‘colourless’ as a term of approval, he ‘did not practise what he preached’. He ‘loved colour’, and loved to evoke history as a drama,

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as exciting narrative. We can even recognise, says Chadwick, that Acton was ‘the poet of history’. Colourless also seems to mean that the historian should always be impersonal, should never appear in his own writing. However, Chadwick points out, Acton in the inaugural address was at times intensely personal, and in general enjoyed illustrating the past by personal reminiscence. Acton says that the historian should be impartial, detached, Olympian; yet he also clearly worked with at least two overriding principles, that human society is in a state of progress, and the historian is a kind of moral critic.The historian should not be so detached that he refuses to judge.The ideal of detachment is not absolute, for historians are the conscience of the human race about its past, and while the corrupt and the oppressors, the exploiters and murderers, may escape punishment in their own times they will not escape the judgement of history. History is a moral as well as an intellectual training. The historian will always have an irrepressible moral sense.27 In the inaugural lecture Acton signals a number of crucial differences from Ranke, including the latter’s view that history should focus on the actions of states. Acton demurs: ‘Ours is a domain that reaches farther than affairs of state.’ History is above all the study of the ‘movement of ideas’.We should give priority to ‘ecclesiastical history’ over civil history, because there are ‘graver issues concerned’ than the often temporary and transient issues of politics. Acton so much thinks that religion – here unwittingly reprising a point made by Nietzsche in his essay ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’ – is important in modern history, indeed is the ‘first of human concerns’, that he disagrees strongly with a view expressed by Ranke that religion ceased to count as a major force after the Seven Years’ War (1756–63).28 ‘That bold proposition’, says Acton,‘would be disputed even if applied to the present age.’ Furthermore, it is in the sphere of religion and theology that toleration was established. It is this movement, towards the ‘equal claim of every man to be unhindered by man in the fulfilment of duty to God’, which really led to the ‘Rights of Man, and indestructible soul of Revolution’. Acton here takes another swipe at ‘Ranke … my own master’, for Ranke’s conservatism in believing that increase in freedom is neither progress nor gain.29 There are other differences from his supposed master. Ranke had said that every period is immediate to itself, has to be studied in its own enclosed terms. Acton in the inaugural lecture advocates histories of temporal fluidity, tracking the past, present, and future of an idea:‘study problems in preference

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to periods; for instance: the derivation of Luther, the scientific influence of Bacon, the predecessors of Adam Smith, the mediæval masters of Rousseau, the consistency of Burke, the identity of the first Whig’. Ranke had suggested a spiritualisation of power, but Acton, more in the spirit of Burckhardt, urges his listeners to ‘suspect power more than vice’. In History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations, Ranke had praised the Crusades as a manifestation of the Roman-Teutonic spirit. Acton refers to how, ‘in the first fervour of the Crusades, the men who took the Cross, after receiving communion, heartily devoted the day to the extermination of Jews’. He notes that Ranke is one of those historians who at times whitewash history. Ranke, Acton says, had related that William III ordered the extirpation of a Catholic clan, but when Ranke comes to summarise the character of William III the violence is ‘forgotten, the imputation of murder drops, like a thing unworthy of notice’.30 Acton is closer to Ranke on the question of modern historical method, which he feels is largely inspired by Ranke’s pioneering technique of careful rigorous scrutiny of documents. History, Acton agrees, is also scientific. He suggests, for example, that the technique of investigating material by always suspecting a statement in a document is part of the ‘scientific methods’ that distinguish the new critical history from older history. Scientific method is also signalled in ‘impartiality’ and investigation by ‘original research’. Here science is identified with Ranke’s kind of dissecting of documents, and sifting or combining of authorities.Yet such notions of science seem very soft, entailing little more than that history is a field or discipline like other fields or disciplines, organised as a systematic body of knowledge.31 At places in the lecture Acton insists on the maxim that the historian should ‘do the best he can for the other side, and to avoid pertinacity or emphasis on his own’. Here Acton appears to associate the historian’s supposed scientific method with what we can recognise as the methods of rhetoric coming down from antiquity, and perhaps most famously present in the opposing set-speeches, so much influenced by the practice of the Sophists, in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War.32 Acton says there is virtue in the saying that a historian – always signalled by Acton as male – is seen at his best when he does not appear, and that the effect of reading a work should be that it is history itself that speaks.33 At the end of his life he planned and organised the Cambridge Modern History series,

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whose twelve volumes (1902–10) appeared after his death. Each volume had many authors, and he wrote to his contributors that in this project of universal history they must strive for impersonality and ‘impartiality’: ‘Our scheme requires that nothing should reveal the country, the religion, or the party to which the writers belong’;‘our Waterloo must be one that satisfies French and English, German and Dutch alike’. The ‘disclosure of personal views would lead to such confusion that all unity of design would disappear’.The story of particular nations is ‘subsidiary’ and would only be told to the ‘degree in which they contribute to the common fortunes of mankind’, for universal history should be ‘an illumination of the soul’.34 In this last colourful phrase, Acton seems to be confirming Ranke’s mystical utterances of the 1820s that in history every particular leads back to God.35

V
The kind of open-ended, unpredictable conversation that Acton engaged in with Ranke in the inaugural lecture continued into the twentieth century in English historical debates, swaying this way and that, never coming to a final position accepted by all as what history should ideally be. Within the academy, the desire for history to become a science continued to gain ground. John Bagnell Bury (1861–1927), a classical scholar who succeeded Acton as regius professor of history at Cambridge, must have appeared positively triumphalist to his audience when he gave his inaugural lecture in 1903, entitled ‘The Science of History’. History, he famously pronounced, is a ‘science, no less and no more’, and historians should now ‘enforce’, he militantly went on, ‘the consequences’ which this recognition involves.The recognition of the new scientific history is still occasionally held back, he warned, by the continuing presence of ‘irresponsible’ older, pre-nineteenth-century traditions. In particular, an unfortunate if time-honoured ‘association with literature’ has ‘acted as a sort of vague cloud, half concealing from men’s eyes’ history’s ‘new position in the heavens’. For we have to recognise that the transformation, development and expansion in the nineteenth century of the new science of history is in itself a ‘great event in the history of the world’. History has indeed now ‘really been enthroned and ensphered amongst the sciences’.36

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In this exalted vision, Bury accords a high place to the German historians of the nineteenth century, in particular Ranke, establishing for history its new ‘scientific method’.Yet so long as history is ‘regarded as an art’, the new standards of ‘truth and accuracy’, established by the systematic and minute examination of sources, cannot fully take hold. Nevertheless, political changes in Europe in the nineteenth century were enabling history to enter ‘her kingdom’, to become an ‘independent science’. The development of nineteenth-century nationalism in Europe led to the expansion of history as its peoples, inspired by the ‘national idea’, searched in the past for ‘unity’ and ‘continuity’.When this national ‘longing’ was controlled by historical research of a scientific kind, as was happening in Germany – ‘the discovery, collection, classification, and interpretation of facts’ – then history could expand along proper lines and scale new heights. Nations and historians could work together.37 History itself has become a factor in evolution. In a famous metaphor, Bury said it was now of vital importance that citizens, mindful of the ‘principle of continuity and the higher principle of development’, have a ‘true knowledge of the past’ and ‘see it in a dry light’.With such scientific historical consciousness, humanity can – ‘apart from the incalculable chances of catastrophes’ – confidently see the present moment ‘as probably no more than the beginning of a social and psychical development, whereof the end is withdrawn from our view by countless millenniums to come’. Contemplating such evolution, Bury is drawn to another metaphor that reminds us of Nietzsche saying in The Genealogy of Morals, as we quoted earlier, that the modern historian has a determined stare like that of a lonely arctic explorer. Bury tells his audience to keep in mind the ‘aphorism of Hippocrates, that Science is long, a maxim so cold and so inspiring’.38 In ‘The Science of History’ Bury urges that Ranke’s saying ‘wie es eigentlich gewesen’ still needed to be ‘preached’ until it is fully accepted, until we reach the point where there ‘will no longer be divers schools of history’. We have to recognise that there is a ‘true history’ and that the ‘only way to true history lies through scientific research’. History is most definitely ‘not a branch of literature’ and it should eschew as well ‘her old associates, moral philosophy and rhetoric’. Furthermore, the reach and ambition of the new scientific history should be boundless. Ranke, says Bury, had wished to confine the new history to political history, the history of the state; a narrow view that Bury

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sees as descending from Thucydides. Bury felt that the ‘historical sciences’ could and should encompass the history of every manifestation of human activity, including social institutions, law, trade, the industrial and fine arts, religion, philosophy, folklore, literature. He ended his talk as he began it, reminding his audience that ‘she’ – history – ‘is herself simply a science, no less and no more’.39

VI
In the audience when J.B. Bury gave his 1903 inaugural lecture was George Macaulay Trevelyan (1876–1962), a student of Lord Acton; much later, in 1927, he would succeed Bury as regius professor of modern history at Cambridge.40 As he sat there listening, the then young Trevelyan registered Bury’s lecture as a direct insult to his great uncle, the Whig historian Lord Macaulay. In his reply,‘Clio, A Muse’ (1903),Trevelyan derided the ‘new hierarchy’ proclaiming history as a science. 41 He conceded that the ‘collection of facts, the weighing of evidence as to what events happened’ are in some sense scientific and historians will always generalise and try to guess at cause and effect. But he directly challenged what he saw as the new ruling notion, that history in its ‘cold analysis’ of events could be an exact science on the analogy of physical science. Trevelyan wrote that it was obvious that the analogy was inappropriate, for history can never produce the degree of accuracy demanded by physical science, nor could it produce knowledge of cause and effect as a physical science does; history simply cannot ‘deduce causal laws of general application’. The law of gravitation is scientifically proven. History, however, manifestly does not repeat itself in such a way that invariable laws of this kind can be established in the ‘institutions and affairs of men’.Any alleged historical law, for example that starvation brings on revolt, is not proven, for often starvation leads to the opposite, to abject submission. Nor can history ever ‘prophesy the future’.42 History cannot dissect the minds of historical actors in the way that physical science dissects bodies.And even,Trevelyan continued, if we could dissect one mind, we could not generalise from that one mind to other minds and much less to all the minds that compose a nation.That is why it is so difficult to offer an account of the causes of the French Revolution, for how do we

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know the ‘psychology of twenty-five million different persons’? That is why the collecting of facts has to be supplemented by ‘imagination’ in order to interpret the ‘myriad capacities of passion and of thought’ in ‘man’; therefore, he felt, ‘emotion’ has to be included as part of the historian’s method. Such insights into historical method were, he suggested, known by the great historians who wrote before the present attempts at scientific history. Trevelyan disliked the insistent future orientation of the new scientific historians in their preaching the supreme virtues of evolution. Instead he directed attention to what had already been attained in the writing of history. Carlyle, for example, by insight, sympathetic emotion, and imagination arrived at a ‘true’ portrait of Cromwell.With such great historians of the past we know that the historian’s ‘first duty’ is ‘to tell the story’, to attend to ‘the art of narrative’. Such, says Trevelyan deploying a metaphor of foundation, is the ‘bed rock’ of history.43

VII
Scientific history began to face critique from another quarter, in classical scholarship, in sharp differences of interpretation over Herodotus and Thucydides between J.B. Bury and fellow classicist Francis Macdonald Cornford, a friend of Trevelyan’s at Cambridge’s Trinity College.44 In their textbook A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great (1900), Bury and Russell Meiggs argued that Herodotus had the instinct of a literary artist; political events emerge as delightful stories; yet his historical methods are rudimentary. Splendid as it is, his work consequently has more in common with the epic poets who went before him than the historians who came after him, notably Thucydides: ‘It is a strange sensation to turn from the naïve, uncritical, entrancing storyteller of Halicarnassus to the grave historian of Athens’. Indeed, the ‘first History’ was written not by Herodotus, but by Thucydides.Thucydides’ history, Bury and Meiggs approvingly note, is severe in its ‘detachment, written from a purely intellectual point of view, unencumbered with platitudes and moral judgements, cold and critical, but exhibiting the rarest powers of dramatic and narrative art’. In these terms, Thucydides, unlike Herodotus, is a thoroughly modern figure.45 In 1907 appeared Cornford’s striking book Thucydides Mythistoricus, which

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questions Bury and Meiggs’ view of Thucydides as helping to inaugurate Western history in its modern form, severe, detached, critical. In the preface, Cornford notes that Thucydides had set out to enquire into the history of the Peloponnesian war wholly within the sphere of positively ascertainable fact. But, says Cornford, he had not ‘reckoned with the truth that you cannot collect facts, like so many pebbles, without your own personality and the common mind of your age and country’ intruding, shaping the work into an overall artistic design. Accordingly, what was for Thucydides to have been a work of science turned out to be a work of art, moulded by a mode of thought characteristic of the Athens of his time, a mode of thought that had ‘grown without a break out of a mythological conception of the world’. For Cornford, it is clear that Thucydides’ history is continuous with mythology, not a sharp (scientific) break from it. Indeed, Cornford says he will argue that while Thucydides had an ‘admirably scientific temper’, he did not take a ‘scientific view of human history’.46 In his penultimate chapter, ‘The Tragic Passions’, Cornford suggests that the comparisons ‘commonly’ made between Thucydides and Herodotus are based on false assumptions and are hence misleading:
It is usual to speak of Herodotus as primitive, and religious to the point of superstition; of Thucydides, as advanced and sceptical to the point of irreligiousness. Herodotus is treated as a naïve and artless child;Thucydides as a disillusioned satirist and sometimes as a cynic.

Cornford says his own view is exactly the reverse. In Herodotus something closely akin to cynicism and flippancy is frequent, so much so that he appears a very modern figure. Cornford refers, for example, to Herodotus’ discussion at the beginning of The Histories of the early stages of the quarrel between East and West, especially the way Herodotus evokes Persian stories concerning abduction of women (particularly ‘if the victim herself ’ had ‘wished it’). Where else in Greek literature, Cornford asks, ‘shall we find this flippant, Parisian, man-of-the-worldly tone’? Such a light and careless temper is anathema to Thucydides. Yet, says Cornford, this does not mean we should see Thucydides’ history as divorced from literature or from a religious spirit. On the contrary.Thucydides, in thinking about Athens and its empire during the Peloponnesian war, ‘turns the great moral of Aeschylus’ Persians against the Athenian Empire’.47 In this sense,Thucydides’ tragic theory of human nature

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returns to mythical constructions which are ‘primitive’.48 In this comparison of Herodotus and Thucydides, Cornford completely reverses the judgements of Bury and Meiggs in their 1900 work. In 1909 appeared Bury’s The Ancient Greek Historians, a series of lectures he gave at Harvard in 1908. Here Bury directly addresses Cornford’s view of Thucydides. He says that while there are in Thucydides’ History tragic phrases and reminiscences, and occasional use of tragic irony, such cannot be held to have more than a stylistic significance; for, Bury insists, it remains clear that ‘Thucydides did not intend to cast the war into the typical scheme of a tragic development’.49

VIII
Scientific history itself began to reveal doubts about its project, or at least to try to satisfactorily resolve troubling questions. In the midst of World War I, Bury published a memorable essay, ‘Cleopatra’s Nose’ (1916), where he attempts to reconcile two different and, at first sight, competing notions of the ‘course of history’.50 There are those who view human movements and events as a logical development; he instances here believers in a theory of providence, or Hegel’s more subtle conception of ‘history as spirit realizing itself in time by a process which corresponds to the logical process of thought’. A second view emphasises chance, ‘in the famous dictum that the course of the world’s history depends on accidents like the shape of Cleopatra’s nose’, otherwise Anthony may not have fallen a ‘victim to her charms’. Bury offers more examples of such ‘historical contingency’. The American War of Independence occurred because of the particular personality of George III. Napoleon was an exceptional military genius. What if Plato had died in infancy: how different would have been the influence of Socrates. What if Spinoza had never lived: how different would have been the influence of Descartes.51 Bury sets out to show that the two views of history, history as logical development and history as contingency, as chance and accident and singularity, are, fortunately for science, reconcilable. He fearfully notes that ‘as the function of science is to explain phenomena, and explanation means the assignment of causes, it is clear that, if a phenomenon containing lawless

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elements may occur, scientific research is hopeless’. How do we explain the presence of contingency, particularly as we know that ‘daily life, and therefore history, is full of such chances’? But there is an explanation to hand, which restores hope in the scientific project of explanation and ‘synthesis’.What we see in history is the frequent coming together, the collision, of two or more independent sequences of events; but each sequence is in itself a series of causes-and-effects. For example, there are hereditary reasons why Cleopatra had the nose she had; and explanations can be given for all the other singularities. Such collisions, then, are not really a difficulty for scientific explanation, and indeed in this sense the ‘problem of contingencies’ we observe in the development of human societies is similar to that which meets us in the ‘evolution of nature’. Certainly the ‘logical consequences may be facilitated or upset, accelerated or retarded by contingencies’, but it is a process which makes ‘history so interesting and so baffling’.52 But bafflement – let alone hopelessness – is not the note Bury wishes to end ‘Cleopatra’s Nose’ on. His final paragraph resumes his ringing triumphalism about history marching arm in arm with the evolution and progress of the world.
One synthesis may perhaps be risked. A survey of history seems to suggest that as time goes on contingencies will become less important in human evolution and chance have less power over the course of events. This tendency of social development to become more and more logical is due not only to the increase of experience and of men’s knowledge of the conditions under which they live, and to their larger command over nature, but also in recent times to the growth of democratic societies, the consequences being that the destinies of societies are moulded less and less by single individuals. And the growth of knowledge itself is less casual and occasional; although the element of contingency is not eliminated, the march of science is continuous, systematic, and imperturbable. It appears probable that as time advances the fates of nations will become more and more independent of accidents, whether more or less serious than the pretty face of Anne Boleyn or the shape of Cleopatra’s nose.53

Such imperturbability did not last. A year before he died, Bury sent from Rome ‘A Letter on the Writing of History’ to the Morning Post, 30 November 1926. Now there is no reference to history as science, no optimism about the course of history. Bury writes to the London newspaper that to discuss the question of history it would be necessary first to elucidate some fundamental

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questions, for instance, is ‘history a sequence of contingencies’, and can our knowledge of events of the past ‘claim to be much more than a fable convenue’. Bury says there is not space in his letter to go into these problems. What he will do is address another fundamental question, that of ‘impartiality and freedom from bias’. Bury now declares:‘Here I totally disagree, I do not think that freedom from bias is possible, and I do not think it is desirable.’Whoever, he continues,‘writes completely free of bias will produce a colourless and dull work’. No history can be ‘instructive if the personality of the writer is entirely suppressed; it will be dead and colourless and inhuman, however faultless it may be in detail, however carefully the rules of historical method may be applied’. In repeatedly associating ‘colourless’ here with deadness, inhumanity, dullness, Bury was surely replying to the odd use of colourless as a term of praise for Ranke in Acton’s inaugural lecture; and surely offering a criticism of his own insistence for so many years on history as science. Bury now affirms that it is a ‘fact that the most effective histories have usually been partial and biassed, like those of Tacitus, Gibbon, Macaulay, and Mommsen’.54 Bury was now praising precisely those historians of old whom he would once have considered irresponsibly literary. It is difficult not to contemplate Bury’s theoretical journey as a kind of Greek tragedy: the hubris of certainty that history is a (Thucydidean) science; the confrontation with doubt (peripeteia); the pathos of defeat of a passionate lifelong ideal; the recognition (anagnorisis), too late, as death approaches, of rebirth into other ways of historical thinking.

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CHAPTER 5

Has History any Meaning?

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned … (W.B.Yeats, ‘The Second Coming’, 1921) The War [World War I] was an unprecedented triumph for natural science. Bacon had promised that knowledge would be power, and power it was: power to destroy the bodies and souls of men more rapidly than had ever been done by human agency before.This triumph paved the way to other triumphs: improvements in transport, in sanitation, in surgery, medicine, and psychiatry, in commerce and industry, and, above all, in preparations for the next war. (R.G. Collingwood, An Autobiography, 1939)1

Given the pressing context of the twentieth century continuously revealing itself to be one of the most terrible in human history, historians from the 1920s to the 1940s frequently pondered the question, ‘has history any meaning?’What if, they asked, the bedrock of modern professional historical

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practice – the ideal of history as science and objectivity – were to splinter, disintegrate, shatter? What if, to adapt Yeats’ great poem of Western civilisation declining towards barbarism, ‘The Second Coming’ (1921), the metaphors that centre historical writing on a core image of objectivity and science cannot hold? The idea of inevitable European and Western historical progress was increasingly doubted towards the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth in waves of discourse, in literary modernism as in social and political theory, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. The story has been well and famously told in H. Stuart Hughes’ Consciousness and Society.2 Some of the faith in Victorian and then Edwardian notions of social and technological progress sank with the Titanic in 1912. Much more faith vanished in the wake of the darkness, horror and slaughter of World War I. Lord Acton’s suggestion to his contributors to a Cambridge Modern History series, that a universal history must strive for impersonality and impartiality, looked increasingly poignantly impossible. It was all too obvious that historians wrote within their own national frameworks of understanding, and that their much-valued scientific procedures of finding and interpreting historical evidence did not prevent wildly different interpretations of the causes of the war.3 In 1921, in the same year as Yeats’‘The Second Coming’, the Italian theorist Benedetto Croce’s 1917 essay ‘History and Chronicle’ was published in English. Croce (1866–1952), critic, philosopher, historian, was a major figure of twentieth-century thought, from aesthetics to historiography. Croce was born in Pescasseroli, Abruzzi, into a moderately wealthy landowning family. In 1883 Croce lost his parents and his sisters in an earthquake on the island of Ischia; he himself was buried for several hours and was severely injured. He went to live with his uncle in Rome and studied law at the university. Croce left without taking a degree and returned to Naples, where he pursued the life of a gentleman scholar. He never held a university position. He travelled widely, in Spain, Germany, France, England. In 1893, under the influence of Giambattista Vico (1668–1744), the great Italian theorist of history and law and fellow Neapolitan, he turned to philosophy; he also purchased the house in which Vico had lived. He became interested in Hegel. In the 1930s Croce was notable for his anti-fascism. After the war he was a minister without portfolio in the new democratic government, resigning from politics in 1947. On his retirement Croce established the Institute for

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Historical Studies in his Naples home, where he had a huge collection of books. He died in Naples on 20 November 1952.4 Croce’s argument in ‘History and Chronicle’ – it can be seen as directly descending from Nietzsche’s essay ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’ (1874) – that ‘only an interest in the life of the present can move one to investigate past fact’, for ‘past fact’ comes alive when it is ‘unified with an interest in the present life’, challenged Lord Acton’s ideal of an impartiality that somehow could transcend the contextual pressures of the historian’s own time. In this entertaining essay, Croce feels that it is the condition of existence of the past becoming historical knowledge that we in the present care about and are interested in it. A past deed or event must vibrate in the ‘soul of the historian’.5 The historian only becomes interested in a particular problem, let’s say, of Greek civilisation or Platonic philosophy, when:
that problem is related to my being in the same way as the history of a bit of business in which I am engaged, or of a love affair in which I am indulging, or of a danger that threatens me. I examine it with the same anxiety and am troubled with the same sense of unhappiness until I have succeeded in solving it.6

To investigate a problem in this pressing personal way, the historian is drawn to giving a ‘critical exposition’ of documents which help solve that problem. Only then does it become a ‘historical narrative’ and a search for ‘truth’. Such an exposition will engage the historian in all senses, in terms of intuition as well as reflection, consciousness, and self-consciousness. Historical writing thereby becomes for the historian a ‘spiritual act’.7 The narratives and documents of the past remain ‘empty’ and ‘dead’ until they exist within the spirit of the contemporary historian. Until the historian is interested and begins enquiring, such narratives and documents are mere chronicle, not history as such, and when historians are no longer interested in particular past narratives and events, they subside again into chronicle.8
For dead history revives, and past history becomes present, as the development of life demands them.The Romans and the Greeks lay in their sepulchres, until awakened at the Renaissance by the new maturity of the European spirit. The primitive forms of civilization, so gross and so barbaric, lay forgotten, or but little regarded, or misunderstood, until that new phase of the European spirit, which was known as Romanticism or Restoration, ‘sympathized’ with them – that is to say, recognized them as

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its own proper present interest.Thus great tracts of history which are now chronicle for us, many documents now mute, will in their turn be traversed with new flashes of life and will speak again.9

There are evolutionary (and Hegelian) assumptions here of the progress of European civilisation from barbarism to maturity of spirit that would come under sceptical pressure as the twentieth century went on. But Croce’s dictum, that every true history is contemporary history,10 that historical knowledge comes out of the interests of ‘present life’, would become increasingly influential and debated in historiography in the twentieth century, in part because the ‘present life’ to which Croce was referring seemed fraught with danger.11

I
In the 1920s more generally, the kind of optimism evident in Bury’s 1903 inaugural lecture ‘The Science of History’ would appear almost fantastical in the eyes of literary modernism, a powerful movement in literary and cultural criticism and philosophical history as well as in literature. D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (1920), Ezra Pound’s Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920),Yeats’‘The Second Coming’ (1921), James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922), evoked and explored an apocalyptic view that in the twentieth century European civilisation was in decline: the self was no longer unified, it was riven by the unconscious and the unknown within; society was drifting towards the disaster of alienation and estrangement in industrial cities and repetitive modern urban existence; whatever was finest in past ages, before the ravages of industrialisation, mass urbanisation, the division of labour – community, the association of art with craft and work, folk cultures interacting with higher learning, sensibility created in a fusing of thought and feeling – was being replaced by tawdriness, ennui, anomie, despair, emptiness, meaninglessness.12 On the continent, the young literary and cultural theorist Walter Benjamin, in his work of speculative philosophical history, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, written in 1924–25 and published in 1928, was meditating on time in its most melancholy aspects.13 The book is an exploration of Trauerspiel, the seventeenth-century German baroque mourning play and
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associated allegorical art and emblem books. For Benjamin, the baroque cult of the ruin in the iconography of allegorical emblem books, as in Cesare Ripa’s 1603 Iconologia, drawing on a Renaissance tradition of allegorical female figures, was a source for reflection on the meaning of history in the mourning plays.14 In his Melancholy Dialectics:Walter Benjamin and the Play of Mourning (1993), Max Pensky explains that for Benjamin the Trauerspiel is to be sharply distinguished from classical tragedy, which arises from myth and refers to a past age of heroes.The Trauerspiel, to the contrary, is embedded within historical time, the plays being related to the physical, social, and political violence, devastation, and chaos of the Thirty Years War.The Trauerspiel does not offer a manifest commentary on these historical events; rather, the experience of historical catastrophe is incorporated into the structure and content of the plays as pervasive mood of lamentation, of contemplation of history as rubble and ruin. Mourning and lamentation are attended by a haunting question: can there be any messianic deliverance from such history?15 In ‘Trauerspiel and Tragedy’, the first half of the book, Benjamin defends the aesthetic value of the baroque mourning plays, which had long lost popularity.The main characters of the mourning play are allegorical figures like the monarch, courtier, and intriguer.The monarch and his court become the keys to historical understanding. The monarch is an incarnation of the history of his society, holding the course of history in his hands like a sceptre. But he always leads his society towards disaster. In baroque drama there is no eschatology, no vision of how the universe will end, no ideal telos. History is like a cataract, imminently flowing over the edge into catastrophic violence; the plays revel in scenes of anguish and carnage. As tyrant the figure of the monarch evokes sympathy and wonder at his dictatorial power, even as he is surrounded by fratricide, infidelity, wife-murder, battering of children’s brains.16 Whether entirely good or entirely bad, whether tyrant or martyr, the monarch will be destroyed: in the baroque theatre of cruelty, history emerges as universal destruction, leading to a proliferation on stage of torture, dying, and corpses. A young chaste woman, a princess, might represent the hope of restoration of order in the state as well as in the monarch’s troubled soul and volcanic emotions; but she too will be victim. History is enacted as the hopelessness of the earthly condition without consolation or grace or salvation or redemption.17

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In ‘Allegory and Trauerspiel’, the second half of The Origin of German Tragic Drama, Benjamin observes that the mourning plays and associated art displayed a baroque juxtaposition of statues of idols and the bones of the dead; the baroque piles up fragments ceaselessly without any strict idea of a goal, in the unremitting expectation of a miracle, which never comes. Nature is not seen in bud and bloom, as a form of beauty, but as always fallen, in overripeness and decay. In the juxtaposition of statues (symbolising remembrance and duration) and bones (representing the dead) the baroque implies the impossibility of permanence. The baroque assumed history to be an eternal realm of transience and irresistible decay. History – as fragments, remnants, images, metaphors, personifications – stays within ruins, which Benjamin wittily refers to as the finest material of baroque creation.18 Benjamin sees in the German mourning plays and baroque art an allegorical mode – we related this mode to Herodotus in chapter 1 – where there is a teasing tension between the apparent clarity of an idea expressed in emblematic form, and the multitude of accompanying comments, stories, representations, which multiply meanings so that they become increasingly ambivalent. Benjamin’s evocation of allegory was and is suggestive for historical writing, offering a kind of methodological freedom, a call to inventiveness. The historian – as with Herodotus – does not always have to be connecting phenomena, focussing on how things relate or espying causes or even chains of causes from one phenomenon to another. Instead of a rhetoric and metaphors of convergence, the historian can think in terms of seeking or coming across fragments in the past, from which she or he can make separate, distinct, journeys; journeys which lead where they will.19 Above all, what Benjamin in The Origin of German Tragic Drama questions is what Bury prized in 1903, notions of European history as evolution, progress, unity, continuity, and wholeness. For Benjamin, history reveals no narrative of progress, and certainly nothing like a Hegelian dialectic.20 Against Bury’s kind of utopian optimism, Benjamin’s book counterposes a striking image: in the mourning plays everything about history that has been untimely, sorrowful, or unsuccessful, is emblematically expressed in a face in the form of a death’s head, facies hippocratica.21

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II

In 1926 the renowned American historian Carl L. Becker read a paper to the American Historical Association, ‘What are Historical Facts?’22 With iconoclastic élan, Becker told his audience that he wished to enquire ‘whether the historical fact is really as hard and stable as it is often supposed to be’. Becker suggests that even what appears to be the most simple of facts, as that ‘In the year 49 BC Caesar crossed the Rubicon’, turns out to be far from simple, indeed on inspection it rapidly loses clarity.What is clear, Becker points out, is that historians do not mean Caesar crossed the Rubicon alone, they know that he crossed it with his army; it follows, then, that the crossing must ‘surely have been accompanied by many acts and many words and many thoughts of many men’. What this means is that the simple fact turns out not to be a simple fact, it is made up of a thousand and one lesser facts. Becker says that it is the statement that is simple,‘a simple generalization of a thousand and one facts’, and it would take a novelist such as James Joyce, in a book of ‘794 pages’, to know and relate all these facts in order to ‘present this one fact that Caesar crossed the Rubicon’. In the spirit of Croce, Becker reflects that Caesar crossing the Rubicon means nothing (after all, many other people at other times crossed the Rubicon) apart from its being part of Caesar’s rebellion against the Senate and his thereby gaining mastery of the Republic, with all the great events that ensued. Because of this ‘complex web of circumstances’ and associations, the crossing of the Rubicon becomes ‘an historical fact’, which is to say, a ‘symbol’ of something else, a long series of events that involve the relation between Caesar and the millions of people of the Roman world.23 Also in the spirit of Croce, Becker goes on to suggest that the historian can never deal directly with a past event, since the actual event has of course disappeared. All the historian can deal with is a statement about the event, which affirms that the event occurred. If that is so, then the ‘historical fact is not the past event, but a symbol which enables us to recreate it imaginatively’. Since what the historian is concerned with – ‘events, acts, thoughts, emotions’ associated with, say, Caesar crossing the Rubicon in 49 BCE, or Abraham Lincoln being assassinated in Washington in 1865 – have forever vanished as actual occurrences, then they can only live on as reflections, images, and ideas which are contemplated in the mind of the historian. These, then, are the

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historian’s ‘sources’, in contemporary newspapers, letters, diaries. But in themselves such sources are not ‘facts’; they are records which are ‘after all only paper, over the surface of which ink has been distributed in certain patterns’. If there were no one in the world who could work out what these marks are, the ‘fact of Lincoln’s assassination would cease to be an historical fact’.24 A fond illusion of the nineteenth-century scientific historian, says Becker, is the belief that the historian will present all the facts and let them speak for themselves; that it is not the historian who speaks, history speaks through the historian. In this process, Becker comments, the historian apparently contributes nothing himself. Such an idea, he notes, is preposterous: it is impossible to present all the facts, to describe ‘all of the acts, thoughts, emotions of all the persons who contributed’ to an event like the assassination of Lincoln in its entirety. It is also preposterous because what is clear is that the historian has a ‘purpose’ in mind, which will determine the precise meaning that he derives from the event: ‘It is the historian who speaks, who imposes a meaning.’ It follows from this recognition of ‘our own present purposes, desires, prepossessions, and prejudices’, that the ‘historian cannot eliminate the personal equation’. Historical interpretations therefore keep changing with the changing of needs and purposes, fears and aspirations, in the present, the present which itself keeps moving and altering: ‘it is well known that every generation writes the same history in a new way, and puts upon it a new construction’.25 Becker ends his commentary with some pessimistic reflections on the ability of historical research to affect the course of events. He notes that in the hundred years leading up to the ‘recent World War’ an unprecedented amount of research was carried on into every field of history; never before, he feels, has there been at the disposal of society so much reliable knowledge of human experience.
What influence has all this expert research had upon the social life of our time? Has it done anything to restrain the foolishness of politicians or to enhance the wisdom of statesmen? Has it done anything to enlighten the mass of the people, or to enable them to act with greater wisdom or in response to a more reasoned purpose? Very little, surely, if anything. Certainly a hundred years of expert historical research did nothing to prevent the World War, the most futile exhibition of unreason, take it all in all, ever made by civilized society. Governments and peoples rushed into this war with undiminished stupidity, with unabated fanaticism, with

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unimpaired capacity for deceiving themselves and others. I do not say that historical research is to blame for the World War. I say that it had little or no influence upon it, one way or another.26

In terms of influence on events what, Becker ironically asks, about the ‘scientific research’ which, like historical research, flourished in the nineteenth century? Becker observes that a hundred years of scientific research has certainly transformed the conditions of life, making it more comfortable and convenient (‘at least for the well-to-do’), and doing much to prevent and cure disease and to alleviate pain and suffering. But scientific research can be used equally for death as well as life. It was ‘scientific research that made the war of 1914, which historical research did nothing to prevent, a world war’. It was scientific research that enabled that war to be fought with ‘more cruelty and ruthlessness, and on a grander scale, than any previous war’, helped make it a ‘systematic massed butchery such as no one had dreamed of, or supposed possible’:‘I do not say that scientific research is to blame for the war; I say that it made it the ghastly thing it was, determined its extent and character’. So much, Becker mordantly concludes, for the ‘wonderful idea of Progress’ through research historical and scientific.27

III
For Herbert Butterfield, Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge, and author of The Whig Interpretation of History (1931), history also should not be written as a story of progress. Butterfield not only argued against triumphalist tendencies in historical writing, he also raised doubts about the possibility of objective history itself. Butterfield at first sight appeared to believe that historians could indeed discover the facts of the past. The historian, he remarked in the spirit of Ranke, ‘explains the French Revolution by discovering exactly what it was that occurred’. But he was deeply conscious that when historians wrote about the past, they were engaged in art as much as science. Perhaps in direct response to Bury’s 1903 call to see history in a ‘dry light’, Butterfield wrote that history ‘is a story that cannot be told in dry lines, and its meaning cannot be conveyed in a species of geometry’. Butterfield is critical of historians who forget that historical writing is a creative act, involving imaginative sympathy to make the past

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intelligible to the present, and a kind of historical awareness or ‘historic sense’. The greatest sin in historical composition is to ‘abstract events from their context and set them up in implied comparison with the present day, and then to pretend that by this “the facts” are being allowed to “speak for themselves”’.28 The historian, Butterfield wrote, was always making judgements:‘he is for ever tempted to bring his stories to a conclusiveness and his judgments to a finality that are not warranted by either the materials or the processes of his research’.29 So aware is Butterfield that the past cannot speak for itself, and of the interventionist role of the historian, that by the end of The Whig Interpretation of History he has become quite gloomy about the prospects of ever properly understanding the past, of ever seeing it for what it was. He turns to metaphors to help his argument, to secure a relationship between present and past; metaphors that turn out to be startlingly misogynist. In The Gender of History, Bonnie Smith traces the uses of metaphor by nineteenth-century male historians when describing their own historical practices, which they hoped would be scientific and objective. She details how much their metaphors were frequently highly gendered and sexualised. The seminar was evoked in the language of masculine citizenship, while the archives were invoked as a world of female documents awaiting discovery by the male researcher. Research into primary sources was often, she says, characterised ‘in the nineteenth-century vocabulary of fetishism, love, and heterosexual desire’.30 Ranke, she points out, could refer to ‘documents sequestered in archives as “so many princesses, possibly beautiful, all under a curse and needing to be saved”’.31 One collection Ranke described as ‘absolutely a virgin. I long for the moment I have access to her … whether she is pretty or not’.32 Where Bonnie Smith’s nineteenth-century historians saw the documents as female, as princesses awaiting discovery and rescue, for Butterfield in The Whig Interpretation of History it is the past itself which is embodied as female, and the relationship between the historian and the past verges on tragedy; the (male) historian is always haunted by the risk of failure in his attempts to understand, reveal, and shape the (female) past, to capture her as she was. By book’s end the historian, chided at the beginning for a ‘whiggish’ overconfidence, forcing the perspectives of the present on the past, has become the anxious victim of his subject:

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History is all things to all men. She is at the service of good causes and bad. In other words, she is a harlot and a hireling, and for this reason she best serves those who suspect her most … We must beware of intoning ‘History proves’, and rather say to ourselves:‘She will lie to us till the very end of the last cross-examination’.33

He continues unhappily on:
She cheats us with optical illusions, sleight-of-hand, equivocal phraseology. If we must confuse counsel by personifying history at all, it is best to treat her as an old reprobate, whose tricks and juggleries are things to be guarded against.34

A harlot, a hireling (with suggestions of spy), an old reprobate (perhaps with a shading here of gypsy, as unEnglish, as nomad), a criminal (insolently resisting ‘cross-examination’), a carnival trickster, a sideshow magician, an illusionist and clown, Clio is she whom the almost helpless male historian can despairingly insult but never fully master. Clio, with her seductions, cleverness, and masking, is no longer ever-helpful muse; she has become more like Medusa, dreaded pitiless gorgon. Through this remarkable flurry of metaphors, Butterfield’s text reveals a curious hatred of the past; there is frustration and despair that the historian may ever know the truth about it.

IV
In That Noble Dream Peter Novick repeatedly draws attention to Charles A. Beard, a friend of Carl Becker’s, as an important, questioning, and dissident figure in American debates on the nature of history.35 Charles Beard and his wife Mary Ritter Beard are also important to our story. Both were social reforming activists, pacifists, and historians. After completing his first degree and before starting his graduate studies at Columbia University, Charles Beard spent four years in England, from 1898 to 1902. He studied at Oxford, and was in 1899 deeply involved in the establishment of Ruskin Hall, a college for working-class students.36 Charles and Mary were inspired by the ideals they encountered there of working-class education and links between scholarship and activism, links they maintained for the rest of their lives.After their return to the United States, Beard spent fifteen years teaching history and

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political science at Columbia University, becoming increasingly well known, especially for his An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913).37 Still committed to the alternative vision of education that had inspired him at Ruskin Hall, doubtful of the ability of universities to remain committed to democracy and social progress, and having some independent investment income, Beard resigned from the faculty of Columbia in 1917, but continued to write histories, some of them collaboratively with Mary Beard. He was at the height of his reputation as an historian when he was invited to deliver the presidential address to the American Historical Association annual meeting in 1933, published the following year as ‘Written History as an Act of Faith’. Beard addresses the distinction and relationship that so troubled Butterfield:‘history as past actuality’, and ‘history as knowledge and thought’. Throughout Croce is a guiding figure, Beard reminding his listeners/readers that,‘as Croce says’, history is ‘contemporary thought about the past’.38 What is the status of history as knowledge, he asks, what is its future, if previous historiographical certainties, particularly those inspired by Ranke, are now gone? Beard deals quite harshly with Ranke, judging him by the standards of what he refers to as contemporary thought about history (that is, by Croce). The Rankean conception of history, ‘that it is possible to describe the past as it actually was’, the conception ‘dominant among the schoolmen during the latter part of the nineteenth century and the opening years of the twentieth century’, is accordingly dismissed by Beard as a ‘passing phase of thought about the past’, a ‘formula’ he ‘repudiates’. The ‘Ranke formula of history’, Beard affirms, ‘has been discarded and laid away in the museum of antiquities’.39 To discard Ranke, Beard continues, is at the same time to question severely the ideal of ‘scientific history’ when it proclaims itself as an unchallengeable historical method, when it borrows deterministic formulas from natural science, from physics or biology; formulas that suggest that the same kinds of ‘causation’ and ‘laws’ such as those of hydraulics can operate in history, including that history can make calculable predictions of the future. Scientific history so conceived can never work, because it cannot account for actual history’s ‘imponderables, immeasurables, and contingencies’. Nor, surprisingly – given Beard’s subsequent reputation as its apostle – does ‘the formula of historical relativism’ work, for if ‘all historical conceptions are merely relative

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to passing events, to transitory phases of ideas and interests, then the conception of relativity itself is relative’. Beard decides, then, that the ‘absolutism of relativity is also to be rejected’.40 For alternatives, Beard suggests to his colleagues that they should become more self-aware, should change their self-image.The historian – ‘he’ – should ‘admit’ that he is not ‘a man of science’, he should register that ‘one is more or less a guesser in this vale of tears’, he should recognise that amid ‘dust and storm’ taking thought is a matter of ‘hazards’. It is an ‘act of faith’ to think that the wayward actuality of history as-it-happens possesses ‘order and movement’. It is a matter of ‘faith’, of ‘subjective’ decision, that ‘something true’ can be known about history, it cannot be a ‘purely objective discovery’. In this spirit of history as act of faith, historians should from now on, Beard urges, set more modest aims and conceptions for their project. They should not abandon the ‘empirical or scientific method’ when it takes the form of a kind of soft science, illuminating phases of history by ‘research, authentication, scrutiny, and the ordering of immediate relevancies’. Such is the ‘only method that can be employed in obtaining accurate knowledge of historical facts, personalities, situations, and movements’.41 Beard also feels that while the ‘formula of historical relativity’ is to be rejected when it presents itself as an absolute, historians can still recognise as an obvious truth that ‘each historian who writes history is a product of his age’, that his work ‘reflects the spirit of the times’, of a nation, race, group, class, section. Every historian knows that his colleagues have been ‘influenced in their selection and ordering of materials by their biases, prejudices, beliefs, affections, general upbringing, and experience, particularly social and economic’. In addition, the modern historian will, in the spirit of self-awareness and humour, apply such a standard to his own work. Perhaps, however, Beard’s sense of how historians relate to or are shaped by the times they live in is somewhat deterministic. His use of that term ‘reflects’ in the phrase ‘reflects the spirit of the times’,42 for example, deprives a thinker of choice and agency. Beard’s historical analysis of Ranke’s phrase, describing the past as it actually was, is also reductive:
Its author, Ranke, a German conservative, writing after the storm and stress of the French Revolution, was weary of history written for, or permeated by, the purposes of revolutionary propaganda. He wanted peace.The ruling classes in Germany, with which he was affiliated, having

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secured a breathing spell in the settlement of 1815, wanted peace to consolidate their position. Written history that was cold, factual, and apparently undisturbed by the passions of the time served best the cause of those who did not want to be disturbed.43

This analysis strikes us as a very crude explanation of Ranke whose thinking, as we noticed in earlier chapters, was variegated, inconsistent, contradictory, and idiosyncratic, and who himself said that he was responding, in his use of the phrase writing history as it actually was, to Walter Scott’s just published historical novel Quentin Durward. Beard here is in effect collapsing Ranke’s wayward thoughts on historical writing into a reflection of a particular historical situation, ideology, and class affiliation.

V
Croce’s view of history, that it is written out of the concerns, problems, dangers, and desires of the present, was influential not only on Becker and Beard; it has strong similarities with the reflections on history of the important English philosopher and archaeological historian R.G. Collingwood.44 Yet there are also puzzling differences. In his autobiography, published in 1939, Collingwood recalls some of the contexts that helped shape his thinking about history. In chapter IX, Collingwood records his disgust with World War I, in which, during its latter part, he was employed in preparations for the peace conference. It was, he felt, a ‘war of unprecedented ferocity closed in a peace-settlement of unprecedented folly, in which statesmanship, even purely selfish statesmanship, was overwhelmed by the meanest and most idiotic of passions’. He also thought the war was ‘an unprecedented disgrace to the human intellect’. It showed that natural science had certainly improved the quality of life of people, but it also proved a disaster in enabling the destructiveness of the war; indeed, what the war revealed was the ‘bankruptcy’ of the ‘civilization of 1600–1900’, dominated by natural science. Future prospects were ominous. In a Swiftian vision of dystopia, Collingwood foresaw the ‘reign of natural science’ converting Europe into a ‘wilderness of Yahoos’.45 There was only one way, Collingwood believed, to avert such a ‘calamity’ for civilisation, and that was to cultivate the kind of ‘insight’ that could only

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come about through historical knowledge. Collingwood suggests his idea of what historical research should be like.The evidence historians must investigate is only evidence because it has survived into the present and is able to be understood in the present: unless, for example, Latin had survived into the modern world, a medieval parchment would only be ‘certain black marks’; and such can also be said of ancient languages like those of Mesopotamia and Egypt, which had died and been raised from the dead. Even more importantly, we can understand a document of, say, the Middle Ages because ‘their ways of thinking are still in existence as ways in which people still think’. Collingwood says that by about 1920 this recognition had become his first principle of a philosophy of history:‘the past which an historian studies is not a dead past, but a past which in some sense is still living in the present’.46 In chapter X, ‘History as the Self-Knowledge of Mind’, Collingwood reveals further principles of the philosophy of history he worked out in subsequent years, from 1928 onwards. He decides that ‘all history is the history of thought’, of thought, that is, that has found expression in some material or expressive way.There is nothing else except ‘thought that can be the object of historical knowledge’. The historian must be able to ‘think over again for himself the thought whose expression he is trying to interpret’. Indeed, the historian of a ‘certain thought must think for himself that very same thought, not another like it’. More: historical knowledge is the ‘re-enactment in the historian’s mind of the thought whose history he is studying’, though with the qualification that the historian knows that the past thought he is thinking again and re-enacting, for example, what Nelson thought on the deck of the Victory, occurred in circumstances and contexts different from his present own.47 We find these formulations, while close to Croce’s thinking in certain respects (and to that of Becker and Beard), to be extreme: to be utopian, revealing a certain kind of rationalist megalomania. Collingwood asserts, for example, that in knowing, by re-thinking, the ‘thoughts of a great many kinds of man’, it would follow that the historian must be a ‘microcosm of all the history he can know’.48 In their several ways Croce, Becker and Beard had suggested that historians become interested in aspects of the past because of interests they have in the present: a statement with which we agree. Collingwood’s formulations, however, go much further: they seem to deny the alterity of the past, its privilege of being different, its wonderful frequent strangeness, otherness, weirdness, incomprehensibility.

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Collingwood nonetheless is thankfully not always so rationalistic and utopian. His major work The Idea of History was published in 1946 (he died in 1943), though some of its writing occurred much earlier, in the middle 1930s, as in the section ‘The Historical Imagination’, written in 1935. Collingwood focusses on how active the historian is, especially how ‘he’ is always ‘selecting, constructing, and criticizing’, according to ‘his criterion of historical truth’.49 The historian is also active because he is always constructing in a way that involves the imagination as an ordinary part of what he does. When, says Collingwood, we are told by our sources that one day Caesar was in Rome and on a later day in Gaul, we ‘find ourselves obliged to imagine Caesar as having travelled from Rome to Gaul’. Such imagining, says Collingwood, is so constant, and so commonplace, that we should refer to it as the use of an ‘a priori imagination’. Imagination is hence a ‘structural’ part of ‘constructive history’, providing ‘continuity’ where there is none in the sources. Imagination is essential to the way the historian constructs his narrative.50 Such imagining of the past is always associated with ‘critical thinking’. Nevertheless, the use of imagination is so important to historical writing that the historian resembles the novelist.The novelist and historian each construct a ‘picture which is partly a narrative of events, partly a description of situations, exhibition of motives, analysis of characters’. It therefore follows that as ‘works of imagination, the historian’s work and the novelist’s do not differ’. Where they do differ is that the historian’s picture is meant to be true, he is attempting (Collingwood here calling on quite Rankean language) to ‘construct a picture of things as they really were and of events as they really happened’.To find the truth of the past, the historian’s picture, unlike that of the novelist, must be localised in time and space; the historian recognises there is only one historical world, whereas the novelist can conceive of purely imaginary worlds; and he knows that his picture stands in a ‘peculiar relation to something called evidence’. In relation to this last demand, Collingwood speaks like Croce, Beard, and Becker before him when he writes: ‘Evidence is evidence only when some one contemplates it historically. Otherwise it is merely perceived fact, historically dumb.’ And contemplating the past historically means recognising that we always imagine the past in the present, from the present, because of the present, as we question and rewrite what previous generations of historians have done and revise the questions they asked. The ‘criterion of historical truth’, Collingwood concludes, emerges from the

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totality of everything the historian does in constructing, selecting, crossexamining, thinking about other generations’ interpretations, thinking about his own interpretations as part of the history of historical writing, and, not least, imagining – ‘That criterion is the idea of history itself: the idea of an imaginary picture of the past.’51

VI
Near the end of ‘Written History as an Act of Faith’, Charles Beard had offered some hope in history, confiding that his own ‘guess’, founded on a study of long trends and a ‘faith in the indomitable spirit of mankind’, is that the world will ‘move forward’ not to a ‘capitalist dictatorship’ or a ‘proletarian dictatorship’, but to a ‘collectivist democracy’.52 With the election of Hitler in 1933 and the dominance of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy, the world would considerably darken as it moved towards catastrophe. From 1934 onwards, life for Jews in Germany became increasingly desperate, even for an academic like Victor Klemperer who, although he was removed from his post as Professor of French at Dresden University, managed to survive, married to an ‘Aryan’ his wife Eva.53 For Jewish intellectuals who from the early 1930s had gone into exile elsewhere in Europe, as Hannah Arendt and her friend Walter Benjamin had in Paris, Nazism would threateningly follow, necessitating further flight. Gerda Lerner relates in her autobiography of those years how while she had managed to escape Vienna to travel to the United States, her mother was trapped in a France being engulfed by capitulation to Nazi Germany. In May 1940, ten thousand women with no French citizenship status were assembled in Gurs internment camp at the foot of the Pyrenees. At Gurs, along with Gerda Lerner’s mother, were Hannah Arendt and Dora Benjamin (Walter’s sister).54 In the spring of 1940 Benjamin wrote a series of fragments, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’. Later in 1940 Benjamin became part of a never-ending caravan of refugees heading for the south of France. He joined up with his sister Dora, who had been released from Gurs (as had Arendt). In Marseilles, he collected an emergency visa from the US consulate there that Max Horkheimer, already in the United States at the Institute for Social Research in New York, had obtained for him, but he did not gather all the

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documents he needed. He decided to slip over the Spanish border illegally, was detained, and in the small coastal town of Portbou, on the Spanish side of the border, at 10 pm, 26 September 1940, he died.55 After World War II the fragments that compose ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ would become much cherished in cultural theory, particularly after their appearance in a selection of his essays that Hannah Arendt published as Illuminations in English in 1969, some of their haunting images, aphorisms, and parables being repeatedly quoted.56 In ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ he singles out Ranke’s kind of historical writing, seeking to know ‘the way it really was’, as wishing to give comfort to the rulers and ‘victors’ in history, do their intellectual work for them, cast history in a way the victors approve: ‘even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins’ (VI, italics by Benjamin).57 Rankean historical writing, seeking an all-consuming ‘universal history’, always conceives of history as a ‘continuum’, and constructs time as ‘homogeneous’ and ‘empty’ (XVI and XVII). For Benjamin, Rankean universal history has to be opposed by other conceptions of history, conceptions that might offer hope or at least alternative notions of time. Benjamin suggests that even now, amidst fear and danger, mindful of the struggle against Fascism (VIII), there is hope for change, for, as he mystically puts it: ‘Our coming was expected on earth. Like every generation that preceded us, we have been endowed with a weak Messianic power, a power to which the past has a claim’ (II).58 Those who oppose the victors and rulers in history can achieve and maintain ‘courage, humor, cunning, and fortitude’, qualities which have ‘retroactive force and will constantly call in question every victory, past and present, of the rulers’.At this point Benjamin offers a beautiful image of what he refers to as ‘this most inconspicuous of all transformations’:‘As flowers turn toward the sun, by dint of a secret heliotropism the past strives to turn toward that sun which is rising in the sky of history’ (IV).59 Here Benjamin, suggesting that history registers changes which are ‘inconspicuous’, reminds us of Gandhi’s mystical theology of the quiet but persistent workings in history of ‘soul-force’. In 1909, in his essay ‘Hind Swaraj, or Indian Home Rule’, Gandhi protested that in focussing only on the doings of kings and emperors – of rulers and victors – Western historical writing underestimates or ignores how much ‘evidence of soul-force or passive resistance’ there is in history:

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The fact that there are so many men still alive in the world shows that it is based not on the force of arms but on the force of truth or love…. the greatest and most unimpeachable evidence of the success of this force is to be found in the fact that, in spite of the wars of the world, it still lives on.

Hundreds of nations, Gandhi reminds the Western world, ‘live in peace’.60 Benjamin turns towards images and metaphors that have close affinities with Croce’s notions of history: recall that Croce felt that ‘great tracts of history which are now chronicle for us, many documents now mute, will in their turn be traversed with new flashes of life and will speak again’.61 Benjamin, writing in early 1940 in the shadow of catastrophe, argues with a kind of apocalyptic desperation that the
past can be seized as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again … every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably. (V)

Such images, Benjamin says in XIV, flaring in the ‘presence of the now [Jetztzeit]’, blast through and out of the ‘continuum of history’ that the Rankean historians and all those who too easily believe in history as progress have constructed for humanity.62 Such images flaring up and being seized in the present in a time of great danger are like ‘chips of Messianic time’ (XVIII A). Benjamin suggests that historical thinking of the non-Rankean kind
involves not only the flow of thoughts, but their arrest as well. Where thinking suddenly stops in a configuration pregnant with tensions, it gives that configuration a shock, by which it crystallizes into a monad. A historical materialist approaches a historical subject only where he encounters it as a monad. In this structure he recognizes the sign of a Messianic cessation of happening, or, put differently, a revolutionary chance in the fight for the oppressed past. (XVII)

Benjamin here is entwining a theological hope, where there is a Messianic pause in history (a ‘cessation of happening’), with a conception arising in the Enlightenment, Leibniz’s notion of the ‘monad’.63 In the monad a phenomenon or idea is discussed in terms of every manifestation or aspect of that phenomenon or idea, even the most extreme, eccentric, tiny, or detailed – a conception that returns Benjamin to his formulations on history and method in his 1928 book The Origin of German Tragic Drama.

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The last time Benjamin saw Hannah Arendt, in Marseilles, he entrusted to her care the ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ as part of a collection of his manuscripts.While they waited for their ship for Lisbon (and then haven in the United States), Arendt and her husband Heinrich Blücher read Benjamin’s ‘Theses’ aloud to each other and to the refugees who gathered around them.64

VII
In 1942, the analytic philosopher of science Carl G. Hempel published an essay, ‘The Function of General Laws in History’. Hempel, born in 1905, left Germany in 1934 and came to the United States, where he taught in various universities and published on topics in deductive and inductive logic, epistemology, and the methodology and philosophy of mathematics and of empirical science.65 His essay on history appeared as analytical philosophy was becoming an established part of academic philosophy.66 He argues that ‘general laws’ have quite analogous functions, of explanation and prediction, in both history and the natural sciences. By ‘general law’, Hempel writes, is meant a hypothesis of universal form, which is capable of being confirmed or disconfirmed by suitable empirical findings.A certain set of events is regularly accompanied by certain effects. Hempel now offers an illustration of such an event to be explained, drawn not as we might expect, from history, but elsewhere. ‘Let the event to be explained consist in the cracking of an automobile radiator during a cold night’, a cracking which he then proceeds to discuss in terms of what he has designated as ‘initial and boundary conditions’ (the car is left in the street all night, its iron radiator is completely filled with water, the lid is screwed on too tightly), followed by a drop in temperature below freezing.67 Hempel then says the kind of satisfactory explanation he has just established for car radiators freezing in certain conditions can similarly be obtained when considering individual historical events, such as the assassination of Julius Caesar or the earthquake of San Francisco in 1906. Nevertheless, Hempel cautions, a complete description of such individual events can never be accomplished, for it is impossible to explain an individual event in the sense of accounting for all its characteristics. But this kind of incompletion is

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not disabling in the search for general laws of explanation, for such lack of an exhaustive or total accounting of a phenomenon can be seen as common to both history and natural sciences like physics or chemistry, though each quite properly strives to make its explanations of what happened at certain times and places gradually more specific and comprehensive. Furthermore, in both history and the natural sciences prediction observes the same logical structure, along with the same qualification: equally in both prediction is often only approximate, or ‘incomplete’. Here Hempel invokes for his example a statement that the Dust Bowl farmers migrate to California because continual drought and sandstorms render their existence increasingly precarious, which suggests the prediction that populations will tend to migrate to regions which offer better living conditions.68 Because of such necessary approximation or incompleteness, Hempel suggests, then, that what the ‘explanatory analyses of historical events’ provide is in most cases not so much a fully developed explanation as an ‘explanation sketch’.An explanation sketch nevertheless can be filled out with ever greater precision in terms of its formulations and concrete empirical research. An explanation sketch is to be clearly distinguished from a ‘pseudo-explanation’ or a ‘pseudo-explanation sketch’, which rely on empirically meaningless terms like the historical destination of a certain race or a principle of historical justice. The scientific historian will reject as pseudo-explanation accounts of the achievements of a given person in terms of his mission in history, or his predestined fate, or similar notions. All such accounts are based ‘on metaphors rather than laws’; they convey ‘pictorial and emotional appeals instead of insight into factual connections’; accordingly, they are not testable statements. The scientific historian will also have to be wary of certain ‘gravestones’ in the dubious use of terms like hence, therefore, because, and the like, terms which, when looked at closely, often reveal that the explanation being offered is unacceptable or poorly founded.The criterion of the soundness of an explanation rests on ‘empirically well confirmed assumptions concerning initial conditions and general laws’, not on whether ‘it appeals to our imagination’ or is presented in ‘suggestive analogies’. History, Hempel concludes, is not methodologically autonomous and independent of other branches of scientific research.69 For the next quarter of a century, as analytical philosophy became influential and powerful in Anglo-American philosophy, its practitioners worked and worried at the problems of historical laws that Hempel’s striking essay

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had raised, of causality, explanation, and prediction.70 We will content ourselves with an observation about Hempel’s dismissal of metaphor as irrelevant to true explanation. Hempel’s own terminology of explanatory laws deploys metaphors, or concept-metaphors, as in govern (‘the search for general laws which might govern’ particular events), or boundary, or sketch.71 The term govern has metaphoric roots in Greek and Latin of steering; it can imply that something can be steered too tightly, perhaps violently. The term boundary could be ambiguous, indicating not a clear demarcation but that which can shift, or be always disputed. As for the term sketch, Hempel himself says that ‘a sketch consists of a more or less vague indication of the laws and initial conditions considered as relevant’.72 Sketch, disturbingly for a theory that desires general laws of explanation, suggests along with vagueness what might be shadowy, tentative, indistinct, blurry, hazy.

VIII
Hannah Arendt arrived in the United States in May 1941, a month after Raphaël Lemkin. The inventor of the term genocide had fled his native Poland in 1939 and made his way to refuge in Sweden, staying there till 1941. He then travelled across to Japan and thence to the United States, arriving there on 18 April 1941.73 In 1944 Lemkin published his ground-breaking Axis Power in Occupied Europe, based on his minute observations of Nazi occupation regulations throughout the Europe it dominated. Especially in reflecting on Nazi colonising practices in western Poland, the Nazi desire for Lebensraum, Lemkin offered a wide-ranging definition where genocide signifies a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of the essential foundations of the life-world of national groups.
The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.74

For Lemkin, genocidal destruction of a group can but does not necessarily involve mass killing; such destruction can occur in ways that are political,

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social, legal, intellectual, spiritual, economic, biological, physiological, religious, and moral. In his writings Lemkin sought to keep alive a Herodotean notion of world history, interested in and valuing all the cultures of the world. He believed that the loss of the culture of any disintegrated or crippled group is a loss to world culture, to the human cosmos, for humanity’s whole cultural heritage is a product of the contributions of all peoples.75 Displaced émigré intellectuals of the 1930s and 1940s like Lemkin and Hannah Arendt – or like Walter Benjamin in Paris, Freud in London (where Moses and Monotheism was published in 1939), or Erich Auerbach and Leo Spitzer in Istanbul – attempted in their writings to maintain traditions of cosmopolitanism and internationalism that were being engulfed and destroyed by Nazism, which itself was the culmination of nineteenth-century nationalism and colonialism.76 As we saw in chapter 3, discussing Ranke, Lemkin directly associated genocide with the logic of colonisation, defining genocide as proceeding by two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor.‘This imposition’, Lemkin argued, ‘may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain, or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization of the area by the oppressor’s own nationals.’77 In terms of historical writing, we can say of such an enormously significant figure that Lemkin, both in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe and in his unpublished writings of the latter 1940s and 1950s, does not posit a comforting or delusive narrative of progress for the Christian West. It is interesting to compare Ranke’s genocidist thinking in the nineteen-page introduction to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations with Lemkin’s manuscripts, some in essay form, some in notes and on cards, some written by research assistants, for the book that he was preparing on the history of genocide, left unfinished at the time of his death in 1959. Let’s focus on the differing treatment of Charlemagne, for Ranke a heroic figure. In the extensive material held in the Lemkin archives in the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City, in a box of manuscripts headed ‘History of Genocide’, there is an evocation of Charlemagne whom Lemkin foregrounds as one of history’s more prominent genocidists (Lemkin’s own term):
All along the eastern frontier of the Frank dominions lay the Saxons in the 8th century. They were a numerous people, still pagan, still maintaining

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their freedom, untouched by Roman civilization and with a tradition of continual warfare with their Frank neighbours. Charles wished to undertake a war of conquest in order to put an end to the ceaseless hostilities. It turned out to be the longest, the bloodiest and the most difficult of all his wars. It was carried on in seventeen campaigns, extending over thirty three years with equal loss on both sides. As a result, Christian civilization was carried into the heart of Eastern Europe as far as the Elbe.

The first campaign was undertaken in 772. Lemkin refers to Charlemagne’s determination in 774 either to compel the Saxons to embrace the Christian religion or to exterminate them. Charlemagne intended to destroy the Saxons as a nation, which he did with ‘extraordinary cruelty, ferocity, and massacre’. In telling this story, Lemkin observes that he wishes also to highlight the strange history of Christianity as a religion of love being spread by sword and fire.The Christian conqueror Charlemagne, Lemkin writes, and ‘the priests in his train’, were ‘zealous and inflexible in their purpose; baptism, or death even unto extermination, were their watchword and policy’. By order of Charlemagne, Frank troops traversed the Saxon territory and led away men, women and children. Saxon inhabitants of whole districts were removed and other peoples installed in their lands.78 As is well known, Lemkin’s expansive definition of genocide in chapter 9 of Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, along with his ceaseless and tireless personal advocacy, was influential in the shaping of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.79 When he died on 28 August 1959 in New York, his manuscript book on the history of genocide remained unpublished. Most of Lemkin’s European family had perished in the Holocaust. At his funeral seven people attended.80 Lemkin, then, did not live to see how little international law would do in subsequent decades in affecting a phenomenon he fought all his life to curb or prevent.Yet the heritage of his desire for international law to restrain or stop crimes against humanity perhaps continues as a kind of ‘weak Messianic power’ that Walter Benjamin spoke of in the second fragment of ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’. Lemkin’s reconceptualisation of the past, of the whole of human history, as a history of genocide, provides a supreme example of Croce’s conception that history is written out of the urgent concerns and dangers of the present. Increasingly, in the late 1990s and into the new century, Lemkin’s

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formulations inspired the expansion of genocide studies into wide-ranging enquiries concerning the historical imbrications of European empires, settlercolonies, and genocide, along with arguments that prior European colonisings, including those of Germany in south-west Africa early in the twentieth century, inspired Nazi colonising plans, projects, and practices in World War II.81

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CHAPTER 6

History in the Light of Catastrophe

Ein Drohnen: es ist die Wahrheit selbst unter die Menschen getreten, mitten ins Metapherngestober. A Roar: it is truth itself stepped among mankind, right into the metaphor-flurry. (Celan, Breathturn, [1967]1995)1 Several of these American historians [of the late nineteenth century] had studied in Germany under students of Ranke; and Osgood, at least, had sat under Ranke. (Georg G. Iggers, ‘The Image of Ranke …’)2 Ranke was the first honorary member of the American Historical Association. After his death in 1886 one of his former students arranged for the purchase of Ranke’s library, including his portrait, study table, chairs, and pens, which were set up as a shrine at Syracuse University. (Peter Novick, That Noble Dream)3

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In our introduction we pointed out that Western historical writing possesses a doubleness that means it is always as it were off-balance; it exists in a strange, often contradictory and confused, space between history as rigorous scrutiny of sources and history as part of the world of literary forms. Frequently in the twentieth century one side or the other of this double character would be emphasised, sometimes exclusively. Discussions of the nature of historical writing often became a clash of attempted extremes, of claimed absolutes. A particular approach would appear to become dominant here or there across the world of historiographical debate, only, in a recurring pattern, for its dominance not to last. Approaches which had seemed to subside into silence would suddenly re-emerge. The middle decades of the twentieth century – that saw the resurgence of European nationalism in its ugliest and most murderous form, Mussolini’s Fascism, Hitler’s Nazism, Stalin’s Communism, a second global war, the Holocaust, European colonialism and decolonisation, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cold war, the American War in Vietnam, American ascendancy as world power, the New Left and student protest – were the scene of intellectual and ideological battles fought internationally and in many arenas. In the nineteenth century Ranke had established closeness to, service for, the state as an attractive possibility for modern professional historians. In the twentieth century, in the ideological divides that shook it, historians also frequently aligned themselves with the power of the state, whether ‘free world’ or Communist.Yet there were also always more critical, independent, wayward voices.

I
For non-Marxist historians, Ranke remained the abiding foundational figure of modern professional history. What happened to his reputation after World War II, a war whose genocidal horror had shaken the very idea of humanity as worthy of its existence? Pieter Geyl the well-known Dutch historian, in an important essay ‘Ranke in the Light of the Catastrophe’ (first published in 1952 in the United States), felt that the war would make historians rethink key aspects of Ranke’s legacy. Geyl perceived disturbing aspects. Ranke’s ideal of abstaining from judge-

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ment of a nation and its history was, Geyl notes, a highly conservative conviction in a historian whose own life profited greatly from association with the Prussian government of his day. Geyl pointed to aspects of Ranke that were decidedly not rationalist, for example his discerning of large historical movements as expressions of divine will; such discerning related to his fervent erotic mysticism, his joy that the historian, in studying the spectacle of history, was revering God, for even evil and destruction had their place in God’s enigmatic plans. To judge history would be to judge God, which presumption could not be. For Ranke, to extinguish himself in writing about history was to try to unite himself with God, who was everywhere. Such mysticism was also connected to Ranke’s thinking about the ideal relationship between state and citizen. Geyl pointed to places where Ranke suggested that each state possesses its own spiritual individuality, in effect each state is an idea of God; the individual citizen could live a life of fullness only through the state to which he belongs; the citizen finds his liberty by voluntarily subjecting his will to that state. How dangerous this notion is, Geyl avers, weakening the idea of possible resistance to a state, and weakening as well a notion of active participation in political life.4 Nevertheless, Geyl still admired aspects of Ranke’s thought, for example, that he was not a nationalist but believed in a European community of nations, to be prized for its diversity. Also, Ranke’s view that every epoch is immediate to God is, says Geyl, of great significance to Western civilisation, because it enables the historian to look at a society or age or epoch from the inside, how it looked to itself; the historian had to look outside of himself and his own values, to strive for an effort of historical imagination to know and make palpable how different the past could be.What has proved invaluable here, says Geyl, is Ranke’s urging of a disinterested understanding of the unfamiliar; here is the very breath of the civilisation that was so recently threatened.5

II
The Rankean ideal of (apparent) abstaining from judgement of a nation and its history was questioned by the Oxford ordinary-language philosopher Isaiah Berlin, in his short book, Historical Inevitability (1954).6 In reaction to

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the logical positivism increasingly prevailing in philosophy, Berlin had moved towards grounding his philosophical interests in the history of ideas.7 A great deal of Historical Inevitability concerns what Berlin doesn’t like. He doesn’t like the ‘obstinate craving for unity and symmetry’ that Auguste Comte exhibited in desiring, in his conception of sociology, ‘one complete and all-embracing pyramid of scientific knowledge; one method; one truth; one scale of rational, “scientific” values’. He doesn’t like the way the ‘success of the natural sciences in classifying, correlating, and, above all, predicting’ is putting pressure on history to adopt a scientific method. He doesn’t like the way such a proposed scientific method would inevitably be ‘artificial and over-austere’ in omitting from historical consideration ‘questions of the character, purposes, and motives of individuals’, which necessarily entail judgements of a moral and political kind of past happenings ‘in terms of whatever scale of values one consciously or semi-consciously accepts in one’s thought or action’. He doesn’t like the way thinkers such as Hegel, Marx, or Spengler discern an objective march of history; entailing notions of supra-personal forces which are not empirically testable.8 Berlin opposes the search for general laws as in the natural sciences as much as the grand teleological visions, common among metaphysical or theological thinkers of various kinds (rationalists, utopians, prophets), of history moving towards a goal. Each presupposes a kind of determinism, which destroys what Berlin values and believes always exists: ‘free choice’ and ‘individual responsibility’ in history.What we should recognise, Berlin feels, is that in the past individuals could have chosen to act otherwise than how they did; they could have avoided acting in the ways they did act.And if they could have acted differently, then we in the present are quite free to exercise moral judgement on past actions and activities, to praise or blame, approve or condemn – just as we do in the present since we don’t assume, and our ordinary everyday thoughts and words don’t assume, that our lives are totally determined.We assume we have and must exercise responsibility. Historians, says Berlin, cannot and should not accept such determinism, which is only an issue if one believes history is a science. Sensibly, historians do not ordinarily deploy the special concepts of natural science or schemas like Marxism which attempt to treat history as a science. Historians use the concepts and categories common in ordinary speech, that are a ‘rich, scarcely analysable mixture’ of the physiological and psychological, economic and biographical, aesthetic and ethical, causal and purposive.9

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In Historical Inevitability Berlin argues, within the general ambit of Croce, that there is a fundamental distinction between historical and scientific knowledge, and that the historian becomes interested in aspects of the past because of the concerns of the present. Berlin writes of how a ‘historical narrative’ is constructed in such Crocean terms: ‘We select certain events or persons because we believe them to have had a special degree of “influence” or “power” or “importance”’. And such selection, says Berlin, cannot be separated from our ordinary-language notions of good and bad, right and wrong, which enter into our assessments of the societies, individuals, characters, political actions, and states of mind that we have selected to be interested in.10 He inherits Croce’s dislike of historical determinism.11 We agree with Berlin’s general argument in Historical Inevitability, which resumes a thought of Lord Acton in the late nineteenth century (that we discussed in chapter 4), that the historian should not be so detached as to refuse to judge; the historian is a kind of moral critic. As writing, however, Berlin’s book is not a little bombastic, hectic, and repetitive, and tends to make hasty summary judgements when characterising the supposed positions of various intellectual movements and thinkers he doesn’t like, including his contemporaries like E.H. Carr.12 Historical Inevitability is a highly judgemental book! And perhaps, too, it does not allow enough for what concerned Pieter Geyl, the alterity of the past, how much its values can be bafflingly different from the present.

III
In the years since she had arrived in New York in May 1941, part of a wave of European refugees who would contribute greatly to postwar American intellectual and academic life, Hannah Arendt had established herself as a major voice, increasingly famous after the publication in 1951 of The Origins of Totalitarianism. Despite the widespread interest in her book and the opportunities to speak at intellectual forums it opened up for her,13 Arendt would not, and did not, permit her powerful original mind to be overrun by any orthodoxy. Her biographer Elisabeth Young-Bruehl notes that Arendt was never satisfied with the title The Origins of Totalitarianism. While writing the

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book from 1945 or 1946 onwards, she thought of other titles: A History of Totalitarianism; The Elements of Shame: Anti-Semitism–Imperialism–Racism; The Three Pillars of Hell.Arendt felt that in Nazism was crystallised, as an attempted terrifying solution, the three elements that she was concerned with, antisemitism, imperialism, and racism.14 Yet clearly such elements could be seen as present and active in other – democratic – societies as well. In her essay, ‘The Concept of History’, in Between Past and Future (1954), Arendt writes in the spirit of Croce’s 1917 essay ‘History and Chronicle’ and Walter Benjamin’s 1940 ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ that historians are interested in aspects of the past because of what in their own present times urgently concerns them, what they feel saddens and endangers them.15 In terms that also reprise the suspicion of modernity in 1920s high literary modernism (Yeats, Eliot, Pound), Arendt suggests that modernity is threatening some of humanity’s finest values, which she locates in Greek antiquity, especially in the historical vision of Homer, Herodotus, and Thucydides. Unfortunately, Arendt argues, modern political philosophy has taken over a principle and worldview that Christianity introduced into history: a focus on the ‘single living individual’, generalised and secularised in modernity as the ‘all-importance of self-interest’. A signal aspect of the ‘still growing worldalienation of man in the modern age’, with its associated ‘despair’, has been ‘subjectivization’, reducing and degrading human judgement to the ‘level of sensations’. A consequence is the ‘growing meaninglessness of the modern world’. Indeed,Arendt concludes ‘The Concept of History’ by suggesting that human beings in the modern ‘situation of radical world-alienation’ either live in ‘desperate lonely separation or are pressed together into a mass’. In modern ‘mass-society’ human beings have ‘lost the world once common to all of them’.16 Arendt contrasts the modern mass-society of alienated disconnected individuals with the kind of vibrant rational community and public sphere evident in ancient Greece, where citizens learned to ‘look upon the same world from one another’s standpoint.’ Such understanding was, she feels, inspired not only by the Sophists in philosophy but also by the kind of ‘impartiality’ that early Greek historical writing brought into the world. Arendt observes this impartiality in the way Homer in The Iliad decided to ‘sing the deeds of the Trojans no less than those of the Achaeans, and to praise the glory of Hector no less than the greatness of Achilles’. Such impartiality is to be

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observed in Herodotus, who in the opening sentence of The Histories set out to prevent the ‘great and wonderful actions’ of the Greeks and of the Barbarians from ‘losing their due meed of glory’. And such impartiality is evident in the way Thucydides presents, especially in the set-speeches, an inexhaustible flow of contrary viewpoints. Such impartiality, such ‘historical objectivity’, practised in antiquity in this tradition is a mark of ‘all true historiography’.17 Arendt contrasts the ‘true historiography’ of Greek antiquity with the historical writing of the modern West, which she feels naïvely strives to emulate the ‘allegedly absolute objectivity and precision of the natural scientists’. Arendt disdains the modern concept of history epitomised in Ranke, who urged an extinction of the self of the historian as the basis of objectivity. Such extinction of self is impossible, Arendt observes, for the historian must select from the infinite mass of facts, and any such selection ‘interferes with history’. Selection works by certain criteria, and such criteria necessarily mean that the self of the historian cannot be extinguished; it is active and involved, working out and applying the criteria, thereby creating how history is looked at under ‘certain man-made conditions’. What has happened to natural science in the twentieth century, Arendt continues, makes modern historians of the Rankean sort to be even more naïve, because they were now anachronistic in their conceptions of science.Twentieth-century science, as in nuclear physics, had begun to question its own claims to absolute objectivity and to recognise an inescapable subjective element in experiments. Arendt refers to and quotes from Werner Heisenberg’s then recently published work Philosophic Problems of Nuclear Science (1952). Arendt also invokes a statement made elsewhere by Heisenberg: the paradox that ‘man’, whenever ‘he’ tries to learn about things which neither are himself nor owe their existence to him, will ultimately encounter nothing but himself, his own constructions, and the patterns of his own actions.18 Arendt shares with historians like Carl Becker and R.G. Collingwood, so prominent in the interwar years in discussions of the nature of historical writing, a distrust of the destructive powers of natural science. Where they expressed horror and disgust at what natural science helped unleash in World War I, Arendt contemplates the way the ‘gigantic development of the natural sciences’ that arose in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries has culminated in humanity discovering the means of destroying all the structures

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of ‘human artifice’ that we inhabit as well as ‘all non-man-made things of earth’.19 Arendt here is clearly referring to the power of the nuclear bomb, and perhaps as well, if obliquely, to examples of that power made horrifyingly manifest in the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

IV
In the middle decades of the twentieth century, a major conflict within historiography worldwide was not over ‘art’ versus ‘science’, or ‘imagination’ versus ‘objectivity’, but over the question of Marxism. Historians were increasingly ranged into two main camps, the Marxists and the empiricists. The idea of objective history was now split in two, and the debate had enormous consequences for the profession as a whole. Each side saw its own work as objective, and the opposite side as governed by ideology masquerading as science. This ideological battle for history had major effects also for the specifics of historical writing: while such a conflict raged within the ‘objective’ camp, the literary and aesthetic aspects of history all but disappeared from view. Marx’s works on philosophy, history, and political economy had inspired intense support and opposition since they appeared between the 1840s and 1880s. His essay written jointly with Friedrich Engels in 1848, the Manifesto of the Communist Party, was instantly famous; he wrote with Engels and alone many other works, including Capital, for which he is probably best known.20 When we look closely at his theory of history, we can see that there are really several different modes being offered. One considers history over a long time span, as a sequence of epochs; another operates on an intermediate time span and specifically concerns the emergence of capitalism; a third offers an account of political change over a very short time.21 In Mikhail Bakhtin’s terms, each mode engages a different chronotope, a specific configuration of time and space.22 The interest in change over a very long duration, coinciding with the evolution and history of humanity itself, was expressed most clearly in Marx’s preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859), which became some of the most thoroughly discussed two pages in the history of Western thought.23 The preface argues that social change occurs

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when there are improvements in ways of producing goods and services; changes in methods of production require a reorganisation of the economic sphere of society, which in turn leads to major changes in social, political, and intellectual relations. This causational sequence underlies epochal changes from ancient communal forms to feudalism to capitalism. Marx thus constructs a linear movement in history, a logic whereby one system, or mode of production, gives way to another and then another leading to capitalism, and finally – it could be predicted and was hoped – to socialism and communism.The preface also emphasises the idea that societies are not what they seem on the surface, but have a hidden structure – based on the type of economic relations – which is the true motor of the society, and of inevitable social change. Marx’s philosophy of history sought to look beyond individual will and consciousness to the systems of relations in which individuals are embedded. It is economic modes and social structures more than individuals that historians need to uncover and understand. Even powerful individuals are the products of particular historical circumstances, and derive their power from them. When he sought to explain the rise of capitalism, the social system he saw emerging as dominant in his own time, Marx employed the concept of ‘class’. As the Manifesto said in its famous first sentence: ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.’24 Because it was based on private property, capitalism produced a structure of inequality between the ruling class and the working class. Although capitalism was a dynamic and expanding system that was transforming the economic character of Europe, its days were nevertheless numbered, for it was inherently unstable, requiring for its success the creation of a working class.The working class would eventually recognise its own interests, and would, sooner or later, rise up and overthrow the system that had created it. While the ruling class in capitalist societies is able for a time to convince the working class that their interests are the same as those of the ruling class itself (the problem of false consciousness), the working class eventually sees this ‘bourgeois ideology’ for the illusion it is and achieves emancipation for itself, and ultimately for all humanity, by seizing power through revolution. There is yet another Marx, the writer of detailed historical narrative. While Marx’s writings covering a long time scale stressed the primacy of technological and economic change, his work dealing with a short time scale

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suggested that political, intellectual, social, and economic changes were equally important, and interrelated. The most well-known of these works is The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, written in 1851–52 about events in France between 1848 and 1851. It begins with the overthrow of the king in 1848, and traces the failure of the revolution, ending with the dissolution of parliament and the installation on 2 December 1851 of Louis Bonaparte as the supreme source of power. In an intricate analysis of these years, Marx evokes the conflicts between the conservative, social democratic, and workers’ parties, the divisions within them, and the complexity of the relationship between politicians and the classes they aim to represent. In the latter twentieth century, The Eighteenth Brumaire fascinated, challenged, and piqued intellectual historians and literary and cultural critics, especially for the carnivalesque extravagance of its satirical language.25 We share this fascination and enjoyment, which begins with its initial memorable sentences: ‘Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.’26 In The Eighteenth Brumaire Marx rails, scornfully and often hilariously, against the absurdity of an ‘adventurer’ like Louis Bonaparte, pretending to be a worthy descendant of his uncle the great Napoleon, being permitted to conduct a successful coup d’état against French democracy, which vanished like a ‘phantasmagoria’ before the ‘spell of a man whom even his enemies do not make out to be a magician’. Marx’s exuberant text creates Louis Bonaparte as a comedian who theatrically puts on the Napoleonic mask and thinks to play the part of the real Napoleon, for the while deluding himself and his nation: ‘the serious buffoon, who no longer takes world history for a comedy, but his comedy for world history’. Marx here is drawing on images in European history of carnival days of world upside-down , of the fool appointed king for the duration of the festivities.27 In a situation of farcical seriousness, Louis Bonaparte the fool who would be king appeals to and gains the assistance of the lumpenproletariat of Paris – graphically evoked as decayed roués, ruined offshoots of the bourgeoisie, vagabonds, discharged soldiers, ex-jailbirds, escaped galley-slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, idlers, beggars, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, procurers, brothel-keepers, porters, literati, organ-grinders, knife-grinders, rag-pickers, tinkers.28 Marx’s evocation of mid-nineteenth-century French history as absurdity,

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as disaster entwined with farce, reminds us of Herodotus at the beginning of Western historical writing also evoking world history with a kind of carnivalesque gusto in the multiple storytelling and play of tones of The Histories. Marx comments that the historical combination of Louis Bonaparte with the ‘mass form’ of the lumpenproletariat assisted a particular and particularly unworthy individual to defeat democracy and to install an authoritarian society.29 Such dangerous combining of elite and mass recalls Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War observing with wry detachment how in the democratic society of Athens after the death of the statesman Pericles, the mass, the multitude, combined in situations of crisis with demagogues like Cleon and Alcibiades to engage in adventures that undermined democracy and led the way to repressive rule. Marx’s theory of history proved attractive to historians in many countries, who shared his political sympathies with the working class and believed that capitalism should be brought to an end. Capitalism was seen to be in its advanced or final stages – it could now be confidently designated ‘late capitalism’ – and history was ripe for change. A very influential group were the British Marxist historians, starting perhaps with Maurice Dobb in the 1940s, and followed most notably by E.P. Thompson, Christopher Hill, and Eric Hobsbawm in the 1950s and 1960s and beyond. They influenced a younger generation of historians, notably Raphael Samuel and Anna Davin, who continued to write and publish Marxist-influenced history in History Workshop Journal.30 Marxism inspired these historians to focus more closely on ‘history from below’, rather than the more usual focus in conventional political history influenced by Ranke on those in power. Marxism also gave them the confidence to attempt large generalisations over the scale of human history, and to seek explanations for the historical situations and events they explored.Their narrative styles varied enormously, from Edward Thompson’s detailed impassioned narrative in The Making of the English Working Class to Hobsbawm’s more analytic approach in texts like The Age of Revolution, but they had in common a faith in the possibility of explanation, the connecting of a particular aspect of British history to the larger sweep of world history as it could be perceived evolving and developing in the history of the West.The true motor of the world’s history was still perceived as coincident with European and Western history.31 What happened there would happen in the rest of the world.32

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V

Although Marxist historians worked productively in different time spans – long, intermediate, and short – it was not they who did most to bring the importance and flexibility of the choice of time span to historians’ attention. That honour goes surely to the Annales school, a cluster of historians over three generations around the French historical journal Annales: Economies, Societies, Civilisations, founded in 1929. In his illuminating history of the Annales school, Peter Burke has aptly described it as responsible for a ‘French historical revolution’.33 The school’s area of study was mainly Europe, especially France, and its period medieval and early modern, that is, mainly dealing with the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. Originally led by Marc Bloch and Henri Febvre, the Annalists wanted to break away from narrative political history, allowing more space to economic and social history, and to longterm patterns.The next generation, led by Fernand Braudel in the 1950s and 1960s, sought a ‘total’ history of particular regions over a long time span, often with a quantitative emphasis on the study of economic and demographic trends. The third generation gradually moved from social to cultural history, exploring the history of mentalities, again often with an emphasis on the long term, or longue durée. It took several decades for the Annales school to be truly noticed in the English-speaking world. Among the early enthusiasts were the British Marxists, and this is not surprising.34 Like the Marxists, the Annalists were interested in structure, in understanding what lay under the surface of society, and how structures changed over time. Both groups of historians sought a ‘total’ history, and influentially, both represented a move to a ‘history from below’, an interest in the lives and thoughts and actions of ordinary people. Yet there are some key differences.The Annalists were much more interested than the Marxists in material culture and the influence of geography on human history; they were also much more likely to write regional histories. Furthermore, where Marxists saw Marx’s theory of history as valuable for developing their own historical interpretations, the Annalists were far more eclectic in their theoretical approaches, drawing from different disciplines and schools of thought as needed, and suspicious of the idea of historical laws. Braudel wrote of Marx that his ‘genius, the secret of his long sway, lies in the

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fact that he was the first to construct true social models, on the basis of a historical longue durée’. These models had, however, become frozen ‘by being given the status of laws, of a preordained and automatic explanation, valid in all places and to any society’.35 Braudel exemplified his approach in his masterpiece, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, the first draft of which was written in a war camp in Nazi Germany during World War II, and which first appeared in 1949. The work was divided into three parts, each of which examined a different ‘level’ of history. The first part, ‘The Role of the Environment’, covered the long time span, and was a geographically centred history focussing on the interaction between humans and the environment in the Mediterranean world, where change was so slow history became almost immobile. The middle part, ‘Collective Destinies and General Trends’, focussed on the Mediterranean world’s economic, social and political institutional structures, undergoing slow but steady change.The third and final part was a study of Philip II’s foreign policy, aiming to show that individuals, even those as apparently powerful as Philip II, had little freedom of choice; their actions are seen as relatively insignificant with respect to the deep social structures that actually make history.As Braudel wrote in the preface,‘despite their illusions’ statesmen such as Philip II ‘were more acted on than actors’. The history of events, he continued, was but the history of ‘surface disturbances’. It might be ‘the most exciting of all, the richest in human interest’, but it is also ‘dangerous’: ‘We must learn to distrust this history with its still burning passions, as it was felt, described, and lived by contemporaries.’. Our task should instead be to exorcise its ‘spells and enchantments’ by charting ‘those underlying currents, often noiseless, whose direction can only be discerned by watching them over long periods of time’.36 Almost ten years after the appearance of The Mediterranean, in an essay entitled ‘History and the Social Sciences’ (1958), Braudel again pondered the question of the time span in some depth. ‘In truth’, he wrote, ‘the historian can never get away from the question of time in history: time sticks to his thinking like soil to a gardener’s spade’.37 The choice of time span, therefore, had major consequences for historical writing. To focus on the longue durée meant, in his view, a radical change in the historian’s attitude to the past:
For the historian, accepting the longue durée entails a readiness to change his style, his attitudes, a whole reversal in his thinking, a whole new way

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of conceiving of social affairs. It means becoming used to a slower tempo, which sometimes almost borders on the motionless … it is in relation to these expanses of slow-moving history that the whole of history is to be rethought.38

Braudel was well aware that the time span was a matter of the historian’s choice and not immanent in the past itself: ‘it is not so much time which is the creation of our own minds as the way in which we break it up.These fragments are reunited at the end of all our labours.’ Reflecting on his captivity during World War II, he said how liberating it was to go from the immediate and difficult present, the short time span, to ‘one less short, and then to the long view’; and having got there, how good it was ‘to think about everything afresh and to reconstruct everything around one: a historian could hardly not be tempted by such a prospect’.39

VI
After World War II, a genre of historical reflection persisted where historians construct two histories, and then feel impelled to consider their relationship in erotic, gendered terms, frequently drawn to somewhat bizarre or tortured metaphors.They set out to explore the relationship between themselves, male historians in the present, and history-in-the-past, usually personified and addressed as the muse Clio, and sometimes as Historia. Recall Herbert Butterfield’s despairing phrases from our previous chapter: ‘History is all things to all men … In other words, she is a harlot and a hireling…’40 Can the male historian succeed in seducing, capturing, penetrating, subduing, conquering, controlling, the difficult disobedient insouciant female past?41 In 1955, an image of the past as female emerges at the climax of Michael Oakeshott’s essay, ‘The Activity of Being an Historian’.42 Oakeshott sets out his understanding of the task of the historian in a way that directly descends from Ranke: the specifically historical attitude, like the scientific, views the past not in relation to the present but for its own sake. Like science, it makes no moral judgements. Unlike science, however, it refuses to join the search for general laws. In an anti-teleological argument strikingly similar to poststructuralist critiques of the notion of origin in Derrida and Foucault, Oakeshott

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says that the historian must avoid an inquiry into origins since such an inquiry ‘read(s) the past backwards’, looking to it to supply information about the ‘cause’ or the ‘beginning’ of an already specified situation, and thus imposing on past events ‘an arbitrary teleological structure.43 Yet, says Oakeshott, here drawing closer to Croce as well as to Isaiah Berlin, if the historian is interested in the past purely for its own sake, he cannot help but use the terms of the present.The historian will ‘understand past conduct and happenings in a manner in which they were never understood at the time’.44 The ‘world today’, Oakeshott observes, constructs a living past, a usable present-minded past, which ‘repeats with spurious authority the utterances put into its mouth’.45 He goes on:
But to the ‘historian’ this is a piece of obscene necromancy: the past he adores is dead. The world has neither love nor respect for what is dead, wishing only to recall it to life again. It deals with the past as with a man, expecting it to talk sense and have something to say apposite to its plebeian ‘causes’ and engagements. But for the ‘historian’, for whom the past is dead and irreproachable, the past is feminine. He loves it as a mistress of whom he never tires and whom he never expects to talk sense.46

Against the ‘obscene necromancy’ of a despised world, Oakeshott answers with his own Gothic necrophilia.

VII
Historians looked to non-sexual metaphors as well, in their attempts to elucidate the relationship between the historian and the past. Notable here is E.H. Carr in his famous What is History? (1961). Edward Hallett Carr (1892–1982), born and raised in London and trained in classics at Cambridge, had for a long time been a controversial figure in English historical and international-relations debates. In his short essay ‘An Autobiography’ (1980), Carr recalled growing up in a pre-1914 world of security and optimism, though, as the son of a Liberal voter, Carr at school felt part of a tiny despised minority. He always felt an uneasy outsider in this and later life situations. At Cambridge he studied Greek and Roman history, and there also gained a perspective on historical writing that owes much to Croce. Carr was struck, he says, by one of his teachers saying that Herodotus’

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view of the war against the Persians was shaped and moulded by the time he was living in, the Peloponnesian war which was going on around him as he wrote The Histories.‘This’, records Carr,‘was a fascinating revelation, and gave me my first understanding of what history was about’: the ‘relativism of historiography’. He developed in all intellectual matters an esprit de contradiction, irritated that the Western world was treating the Russian Revolution as a mere passing event, and dismayed by the peace conference (which he attended as a junior member of the Foreign Office) that concluded World War I and deliberately humiliated the defeated Germans. Carr was sent to Riga from 1925 to 1929, where he mastered Russian and read Dostoevsky, about whom he would later write. He was intrigued by Russian intellectuals who rejected Western society. He found Marx interesting though would never call himself a Marxist. He was also influenced by Mannheim’s Ideology and Utopia and the ways it showed how much the opinions of political and economic groups could be explained by their usually hidden interests which had to be brought to light. He became fascinated by the Russian Revolution as an event of utmost importance in history, was then repelled by the purges after 1935, but became convinced again of the lasting importance of the Soviet Union. In his writings for The Times he urged that the Soviet Union, which had been victorious over Nazi Germany, should be accommodated by the West, not blindly opposed; a view that, he notes, would become increasingly suspect during the cold war. Carr feels that the world can be divided between cynics, who find no sense in anything, and utopians, who make sense of things on the basis of ‘some magnificent unverifiable assumption about the future’. He prefers to be a utopian. Carr says that at the time of writing, 1980, he never regretted the optimistic conclusion of What is History? which came out of his life-long fascination with the ‘nature of history and the relation of the past to the present’. He does not claim, however, that the book ‘resolves the eternal tensions’ it investigates between causation and chance, free will and determinism, the individual and society, subjectivity and objectivity.47 Carr wanted historians somehow to recover the past on its own terms, or at least to respect the alterity of the past. How to get the balance right, how to negotiate between past fact and present interpretation? How to balance between the hope of seeing the past in its own terms, and the knowledge that historians, as Croce remarked, view the ‘past through the eyes of the present

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and in the light of its problems’? Like Croce contemplating the difference between fact as mere chronicle and history as interpretive, Carr feels the key problem, perhaps the answer to history’s riddle as a project, lies in working out and delineating what is a specifically ‘historical fact’.48 Near the beginning of the much-quoted opening chapter, ‘The Historian and His Facts’, Carr agrees, or at least does not disagree, with Ranke’s ‘not very profound aphorism’ that the task of the historian is ‘simply to show how it really was (wie es eigentlich gewesen)’. But such will not be easy. Carr says that historians have to go beyond the nineteenth century, must challenge its naïve hubris, its obsessive ‘cult of facts’ and ‘fetishism of documents’.49 The nineteenth-century historians saw facts as ‘fish’ already caught and readily available ‘on the fishmonger’s slab’: ‘The historian collects them, takes them home, and cooks and serves them in whatever style appeals to him.’50 But, Carr avers, we can concur that the process is different:
The facts are really not at all like fish on the fishmonger’s slab. They are like fish swimming about in a vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean; and what the historian catches will depend, partly on chance, but mainly on what part of the ocean he chooses to fish in and what tackle he chooses to use – these two factors being, of course, determined by the kind of fish he wants to catch. By and large, the historian will get the kind of facts he wants. History means interpretation.51

The slightly absurd image of the historian as fisher of facts in a ‘vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean’ is worth pondering. Oceans have many associations, few of them neutral or stable.What of tsunami, storm, shipwreck, death, ruin, piracy, disappearance? What of the equator and its carnivalesque shipboard ceremonies, where all qualities are turned head to feet? In ‘The Historian and His Facts’, Carr also criticises nineteenth-century historians for trying to do without a ‘philosophy of history’:‘This was the age of innocence, and historians walked in the Garden of Eden, without a scrap of philosophy to cover them, naked and unashamed before the god of history.’ In the twentieth century, with its fall into cynicism and scepticism, something better is needed. Here Carr acknowledges the philosophical power in particular of Croce saying that all history is contemporary history, and notes that Croce very much influenced Collingwood, ‘the only British thinker in the present century who has made a serious contribution to the philosophy of history’.52 Carr suggests that the philosophy of history of Croce and

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Collingwood brings forth ‘neglected truths’, that knowledge of the past involves attempts at imaginative and intellectual understanding, and that general facts are made into specific historical facts by the historian’s processes of selection. On the other hand, the historian must respect the facts, the evidence, as he finds it. History is a ‘continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts, an unending dialogue between the present and the past’.53 Twentieth-century scepticism, however, can go too far. Troubled, Carr now pulls back, pointing to the ‘dangers’ of the ‘Collingwood view of history’: that history is what the historian makes of it in the present.There is danger, Carr feels, in the ruling out of ‘any objective history at all’, of total scepticism, of a ‘theory of an infinity of meanings, none any more right than any other’.We must beware of drawing too close to Nietzsche who, says Carr, had claimed in chapter 1 of Beyond Good and Evil that the ‘facts of history are nothing, interpretation is everything’.54 At this point, on the edge of a Nietzschean chasm, What is History? stretches for a famous historiographical image. It drops the image of the historian fishing for facts and clings instead to the sturdy, steady, grounded image of a mountain.‘It does not follow’, Carr writes,‘that because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision, it has objectively either no shape at all or an infinity of shapes.’ The facts of history are still therefore amenable to ‘objective interpretation’.55 For Carr, the relationship between the historian and ‘his’ past, between the two histories, is a lively, at times anxious, but certainly not a tragic romance. Yet the image of the mountain is worth reflecting on, since it has it own wayward, cumulative, metaphoric history, as Simon Schama enjoys evoking in part 3 of Landscape and Memory.56 In romantic aesthetics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, mountains often figured in visions of the sublime, as in Wordsworth’s Prelude, where, with suggestions of terror as well as beauty, they signified the infinite, that which passed ordinary (objective) understanding.57 In the boys’ own tales of imperial adventure-romance of the late nineteenth century, mountains also loomed large, both a gateway to untold treasure and marked by horror and foreboding. In Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885), the Europeans cross a desert to find haven from its searing heat on one of two huge snow-covered mountains, named by a previous European explorer Sheba’s Breasts, beyond which lie the legendary

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riches they seek. The European men are almost overcome by the grandeur and beauty of the sight, though in the cave on the mountain in which they are forced to spend a freezing night they find the corpse of an old defeated explorer.The mountain (‘Sheba’s left breast’), eroticised as female,African, and Oriental, can lead to treasure and to death.58 In Historical Inevitability, Isaiah Berlin also deployed an image of the mountain. Berlin feels that Hegel and Marx,‘the two great prophets of destruction’, are contemptuous of ordinary human beings, seeing them as residing ‘upon the green slopes of what seems to them a peaceful mountain side’, trusting in the permanence of their particular way of life, little knowing that history always brings sudden cataclysmic changes which will inevitably turn their mountain into an erupting volcano.59 Is, then, the mountain, meant to signify the actual past, as solid and reassuring as Carr hoped it would be? Like images of ocean, fish and fishermen, images of the mountain can be added to, parodied, substituted, made ambivalent, and returned to a destabilising metaphoric history.We suggest that Carr’s mountain can never, after all, be stilled in a single image, or retain the solid, undeniably there quality yearned for in What is History? We would also suggest that why What is History? lasts and endures, and helps make historical reflection itself so enjoyable a genre for readers, is another quality.The book is an exploration of the double character of history, of why it can never be resolved into an essence. Carr says near the end of ‘The Historian and His Facts’ that the historian finds himself in an
apparently precarious situation, navigating delicately between the Scylla of an untenable theory of history as an objective compilation of facts, of the unqualified primacy of fact over interpretation, and the Charybdis of an equally untenable theory of history as the subjective product of the mind of the historian who establishes the facts of history and masters them through the process of interpretation …60

The historian navigates a perilous passage between fact and interpretation and problems like the relations between the particular and the general, the empirical and the theoretical, the objective and subjective, by reflecting that there is no definitive answer:‘The relation between the historian and his facts is one of equality, of give-and-take’, a ‘continuous process of moulding his facts to his interpretation and his interpretation to his facts’. It is impossible, Carr feels, to assign ‘primacy’ to one over the other.61

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What is interesting about What is History? here and overall is Carr’s intellectual journey, not arrival at a definite conclusion, as the image of the mountain tried to be.

VIII
As we note in one of our epigraphs, in 1884 the infant American Historical Association made Ranke its first, and only, honorary member.62 Ranke became its kindly, ghostly, father. In 1962 Georg G. Iggers wrote in History and Theory an illuminating essay pointing to the contrast between how Ranke was appreciated and interpreted by the historical professions of Germany and the United States. In Germany, Iggers observed, Ranke was recognised as embodying the tradition of German Idealism in historical writing, for he went far beyond concrete description in order to grasp the deepest and most mysterious movements of life; Ranke tried to construct a universal history from particular elements in order to sense God’s work; the end result of historical study was to be an empathetic understanding of the universe. Further, in Germany in the late nineteenth century Ranke was attacked by the positivist Karl Lamprecht precisely for being Idealist, philosophical, antiquated, and pre-scientific. Iggers reflects that in the re-examination of Ranke that occurred in Germany after World War II, life-long Rankeans like Friedrich Meinecke now asked whether, contrary to Ranke’s optimism, Burckhardt had not been the wiser in his deep pessimism regarding power, the state, and the masses; perhaps Burckhardt had foreseen, much more than Ranke could, the barbarism of the twentieth century.63 Iggers writes with some astonishment of the contrary image of Ranke that had for so long been influential in the American historical profession: Ranke as uncomplicated positivist who had established history as a non-philosophical empirical science. From the late nineteenth century, American historians, including the many who had studied in Germany, based their admiration and understanding on a talismanic use of Ranke’s 1824 dictum wie es eigentlich gewesen. Iggers argues that the reception of Ranke in the American profession was historiographically and philosophically naïve, because American historians detached Ranke’s critical analysis of sources, which they understood as a

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kind of scientific method which established facts, from his idealistic philosophy, which was alien to them. The American historians interpreted the term science (Wissenschaft), which in Germany denoted any kind of research carried on by systematic methods, to mean an approach closely related to natural science. An enthusiastic American image of Ranke developed where Ranke stood for a scientific approach that history consisted in the search for facts with little or no attempts at generalisation and where philosophy was to be renounced or ignored. Even when American historians like Carl Becker and Charles Beard were sceptical of the possibility of objective historical knowledge and wished to repudiate Ranke, it was the received American picture of Ranke that they were rejecting. Iggers feels that it was not until after World War II that American historians, some of them German refugee scholars, began seriously to re-examine the reigning portrait of Ranke in the American historical profession.64 Iggers pointed out that Ranke was influenced by neo-platonic ideas (the possible correspondences between inner self and the universe) and a variety of German thinkers before him, including Luther, Goethe, and Fichte.65 Iggers also raised an important question about the magical phrase wie es eigentlich gewesen itself, suggesting that ‘eigentlich’ might have been an ambiguous term in the nineteenth century, meaning both actually and essentially, so that the phrase could have been deployed by Ranke to mean ‘as it essentially was’.66 Ranke is a figure whose complexities and ambivalences seem to multiply the more he is researched and discussed: a man who sought cosmopolitanism yet excluded from history non-Europeans like Chinese, Indians, and so-called primitive peoples; who saw history as literary art as well as scientific project; who proclaimed history as political yet was also interested in cultural history.67

IX
By the 1960s, historiography was in a mobile state, increasingly crowded with diverse contributions.The inherited Anglo-American image of ‘Ranke’ as the exemplar of scientific objective history had been severely shaken by Georg Iggers and, before him, by Pieter Geyl. Further, the automatic conjunction of

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history as ‘scientific’ and ‘objective’ that had developed from the late nineteenth century, and carried well into the twentieth, fell apart.The logical positivists, from the early 1940s to the 1960s, demanded that history recognise itself not as a soft science, an organised body of knowledge, but as rigorously scientific in the sense of perceiving past events in the light of specifiable historical laws. Yet historians with perspectives as varied as Isaiah Berlin, Hannah Arendt, and E.H. Carr, all disliked any notion that history could produce laws and should be seen as continuous with or assimilable to the natural sciences. On the contrary, history should be recognised as possessing its own methods, modes, questions, and ethos. Increasingly in the 1960s historians of various kinds sought new ways to characterise what they saw as history’s distinctiveness.

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CHAPTER 7

The Linguistic Turn

Let us still give special consideration to the formation of concepts. Every word immediately becomes a concept, inasmuch as it is not intended to serve as a reminder of the unique and wholly individualized original experience to which it owes its birth, but must at the same time fit innumerable, more or less similar cases – which means, strictly speaking, never equal – in other words, a lot of unequal cases. Every concept originates through our equating what is unequal. No leaf ever wholly equals another, and the concept ‘leaf ’ is formed through an arbitrary abstraction from these individual differences, through forgetting the distinctions … (Nietzsche, ‘On Truth and Lie …’, 1873)1 Metaphysics – the white mythology which reassembles and reflects the culture of the West: the white man takes his own mythology, Indo-European mythology, his own logos, that is, the mythos of his idiom, for the universal form of that he must still wish to call Reason. (Derrida, ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’, 1972)2 Metaphor is less in the philosophical text (and in the rhetorical text coordinated with it) than the philosophical text is within metaphor. (Derrida, ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’, 1972)3

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The attempts by philosophers of science, who were urging natural science methods upon historians, were by the early 1960s seen to fail by the philosophers of science themselves. In ‘The Decline and Fall of the Analytical Philosophy of History’, Arthur C. Danto has described what he thinks happened to the quest for a scientific history, largely inspired by Carl G. Hempel’s 1942 essay ‘The Function of General Laws in History’ (which we discussed in chapter 5). Danto says that in the mid-1950s and for some years after, there was heated controversy in analytic philosophy over Hempel’s thesis that an event was explained when it was covered by a general law. A major problem was that in the decades following Hempel’s essay, key positions of logical positivism like the Verifiability Principle were, Danto observes, logically undone by internal criticism. Philosophers of science began to lose interest in the problems of historical explanation posed by the analytical philosophy of history, especially when Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions appeared in 1962, which led to an epochally new vision: where Hempel had held history to be an applied science, Kuhn saw history as the matrix for viewing all the sciences. Instead of history as science, science now became history.What now could be studied were topics like The World According to Hempel, and the World According to Hempel was itself, says Danto, part of the wider World According to Logical Positivism. The question now would be: why historically did Hempel come to pose problems like historical laws? Danto concludes by saying that he still thinks that Hempel’s theory is true. It is just that from the early 1960s onwards, with Kuhn’s work on paradigms and the prestige of Foucault analysing the politics of science, Hempel’s theory was no longer relevant to what people had become interested in: the ‘all-too-human endeavour’ that is science.4 Richard T.Vann, historian and senior editor of History and Theory, supports Danto’s narrative. Vann evokes how when History and Theory was founded in 1960 its main interest was in the analytical philosophy of history, which was still concerned with the topics of law, causality, explanation, and prediction raised by Hempel’s 1942 essay.Vann notes that a curious aspect of such discussions was that the philosophers involved tended to argue without much attention to the way that historians wrote. All the narratives discussed were very short, sometimes only two sentences, and were often not taken from actual historical works. Sometimes the preferred analogies with history were games like cricket, and indeed such was the enthusiasm by its contributors for

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talking about watching cricket rather than analysing historical accounts that the editors tried to change the analogy to baseball, though this attempt ‘proved abortive’. Nevertheless, interest in these debates lasted only a few years into the 1960s, until the editors decided the subject was exhausted and an editorial moratorium declared.Vann also observes that it was difficult for History and Theory to entertain new interests that were arising in the 1960s, especially that history could be seen as literature with an associated concern for questions of genre and plotting. All such interests, says Vann, had been systematically repressed in the analytical philosophy of history.Vann concludes that a paradigmatic shift had occurred: for the next twenty years the topic around which most reflections on history would centre was not explanation or causality but historians’ own language.5

I
In the famous preface to his massive 1963 book, The Making of the English Working Class, E.P.Thompson announced a new and very influential kind of Marxist history, interested in process and relationships as much as categories and structures, and deeply respectful of the ideas and aspirations, however mistaken or unsuccessful they turned out to be, of working people.Thompson opposes those who see only structures that dominate, who thereby ‘obscure the agency of working people, the degree to which they contributed by conscious efforts, to the making of history’, for, in a celebrated phrase, the working class was ‘present at its own making’. We can only know classes in their ‘human relationships’ with each other, just as when we study relationships of ‘love or deference’: ‘We cannot have love without lovers, nor deference without squires and labourers.’ Like any other relationship such as love, the historical relationship between classes is a ‘fluency which evades analysis if we attempt to stop it dead at any given moment and anatomize its structure’. Class relationships obey no ‘law’ though we may perceive ‘logic’; and we have to be interested in the class-consciousness, experiences, and culture ‘embodied’ in these relationships, in ‘traditions, value-systems, ideas, and institutional forms’.6 In the preface, Thompson also opposes those who read history ‘in the light of subsequent preoccupations, and not as in fact it occurred’. Echoing

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Butterfield’s The Whig Interpretation of History, he faults the kind of history in which ‘only the successful … are remembered’, and the ‘blind alleys, the lost causes, and the losers themselves’ are forgotten.7 Then comes one of the most frequently quoted and cherished paragraphs in English historiography:
I am seeking to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the ‘obsolete’ hand-loom weaver, the ‘utopian’ artisan, and even the deluded follower of Joanna Southcott, from the enormous condescension of posterity.Their crafts and traditions may have been dying.Their hostility to the new industrialism may have been backward-looking … But they lived through these times of acute social disturbance, and we did not. Their aspirations were valid in terms of their own experience.8

In one reading, this is a powerful call to respect the alterity of the past, to be aware that hindsight brings with it distinct dangers, in leading us to fail to understand how the world appeared to people in the past.Yet Thompson is urging respect only for certain kinds of historical actors, those whose basic moral values (if not their self-understanding) we in the present can redeem (‘rescue’) and share. Thompson’s 1963 preface, with its metaphor of history as fluency (like the course of love) and its call for historians to be interested in relationships, culture, and consciousness, and in history from below, in the pathos of those who apparently fail as much as in history’s victors, would prove inspiring for the next generation of Marxist historians or historians influenced by Marxism. Inspiring too would be Thompson’s superb essay of 1967, ‘Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism’, which contrasts the variegated temporal rhythms of pre-industrial and non-industrial work (task and craft time) with the very different notions of continuous time associated with the industrial division of labour.9 Such concerns and perspectives would also feed into and help shape the new field of cultural studies developing in the 1970s and 1980s with its associated cultural history, interested in mass culture, representations, and (hopefully) resistant sub-cultures, though cultural studies would also be inflected by the kind of structural Marxism, as in Althusser, to which Thompson so much objected.10 In the widest sense as well, Thompson’s history-from-below approach also revealed and encouraged a new resurgence of the Herodotean stream of historical writing with its expansive conception of historical worlds.

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II

E.H. Carr’s attempt in What is History? (1961) to balance history as objectivity and as multiple perspectives was, in the 1960s and in subsequent decades, gradually undone by criticisms of history from other historians and also from outside, from interested philosophers, anthropologists, linguists, and literary critics. Not only were historians understood ethnographically, as bearers of a particular kind of Western culture, but also the question of language – of rhetoric and metaphor – was brought to bear on debates about truth and history in new ways. Carr’s discussions in What is History? were conducted almost entirely without overt reference to the role of language. Carr did not have in mind the ways in which historical interpretation occurs in a specific discourse, or framework of thought, or set of linguistic and cultural conventions.We agree with Anders Stephanson in his reassessment of What is History? that ‘Carr has no account of language and representation’. Stephanson refers to the oddity and inappropriateness of the metaphors in Carr’s opening chapter ‘The Historian and His Facts’, commenting drily that historians deal not with fish and mountains, but with documents and texts.11 In the latter 1960s and into the 1970s and 1980s the notion of history as a distinctive mode of understanding the world seemed to require a more sophisticated understanding of both the language historians themselves actually use, and of the language of the documents and texts they ordinarily studied.We come now to the linguistic turn.

III
A major contributor to the linguistic turn was J.H. Hexter, the American historian of early modern Europe.12 When he died in 1996 at the age of 86, Hexter had taught at various American universities for some sixty years, including at Yale from 1964 to 1978. In 1986 he founded and became director of Washington University’s Centre for the History of Freedom.13 Richard Vann nominates Hexter as one of those who helped move historical reflection in the latter 1960s away from the analytic philosophy of history with its insistence that history was a science like any other.14

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Hexter’s essay ‘The Rhetoric of History’ (first published in 1968) is perhaps most remembered for announcing various practical rules for historians to work by. Hexter says that in urging these rules, or maxims, he is speaking for the profession at its best and most experienced. Historians, then, should observe the Reality rule, which enshrines the commitment of historians, especially in the use of footnotes, to Ranke’s urging that history seeks to show the past wie es eigentlich gewesen.15 Other maxims are that the historian should not have over-long quotations, and should put in footnotes evidence and information that if inserted in the text would diminish the ‘impact on the reader of what you, as a historian, aim to convey to him’.The historian then acts out a ‘paradox’: ‘maximum completeness, accuracy, and exactness are not always essential or even desirable in the historian’s work of trying to tell the reader what really happened’.16 As can be observed from his language, for Hexter both the historian and the reader of histories are male.‘The Rhetoric of History’ is also Americanocentric, doggedly pursuing throughout baseballers and baseball as its main examples to be investigated (‘we will start with a concrete proposition:Willie Mays knows baseball’). When he discusses narrative, Hexter tosses up which how question he’ll discuss:‘How did it come about that a Labour government took power in England in 1964?’, or, ‘How did the New York Giants happen to play in the World Series in 1951?’ In an aggressively provincial and shall we say androcentric spirit, he chooses the latter.Yet perhaps the strength of the essay also comes from Hexter drawing on the strong American tradition of rhetoric study.17 Hexter argues that history and the ‘mathematizing natural sciences’ each have their own distinctive rhetoric. Scientific discourse would like to impose its inappropriate and reductive ‘denotative rhetoric’ on historians, Hexter particularly objecting in this regard to the efforts of analytic philosophers of science like Carl Hempel, Morton White, and Arthur Danto. Historians, on the contrary, choose to write, sometimes unselfconsciously, sometimes well aware of what they are doing, in a way that the rhetoric of the sciences prevents, especially in deploying words or phrases that are imprecise and may turn out to be ambiguous; words and phrases that have a ‘rich aura of connotation’. Historians happily sacrifice exactness in the interests of ‘evocative force’, when such ‘evocative force’ helps them advance the ‘understanding of the past’. In this aspect, in communicating what the historian knows, a rhet-

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oric more like that employed in the ‘fictive arts’ rather than the rhetoric of the sciences ‘is not only permissible but on occasion indispensable’. For example, part of the rhetoric of history, as in the fictive arts, is that when the historian deals with extensive data on the deeds and words of a person in the past, he cannot avoid characterising him: ‘the only question is whether he characterizes him well or ill’. Furthermore, such characterisation by the historian’s ‘connotative rhetoric’ would be impossible if the historian deploys the ‘wholly denotative rhetoric’ of ‘scientific discourse’. The historian, however, can never attain complete knowledge, can never say he can communicate ‘the whole truth about a man’, since only God has such knowledge.18 While, nevertheless, the rhetoric of history is nearer to the fictive arts than to the natural sciences, a major difference remains, the ‘overriding commitment of historians to fidelity to the surviving records of the past’.The difference between Conrad’s Nostromo and Oscar Handlin’s The Uprooted is that the standard of judgement of a historical work is ultimately ‘extrinsic’, its ‘authenticity, validity, and truth’ depends on the effectiveness with which it communicates knowledge of ‘the actual past congruent with the surviving record’.19 Historians, says Hexter, give attention to ‘remnants and traces of men’s handiwork surviving from the past: buildings, tools, pictures, field systems, tombs, pots – archaeological data in the broadest sense’.20 Here Hexter curiously calls attention to understanding history through fragmentary ‘remnants and traces’ in a way that reminds us of Derrida and poststructuralism – but more of this similarity in a moment. Hexter also anticipates later developments in the story of postmodernism and the linguistic turn, especially in Hayden White, when he discusses the importance of narrative to historians. Narrative is the ‘rhetorical mode most commonly resorted to by historians’. Hexter relates how narrative is an object of suspicion for those who wish history to be assimilated into natural science, who wish coherence to be provided by ‘general laws’, for narrative is perceived to be non-explanatory or inadequately explanatory. On the contrary, Hexter avers, narrative is for historians ‘their most common mode of explanation’. Narrative, says Hexter, is the kind of explanatory answer solicited by the kind of questions that historians very often ask and are often asked of them – how and why questions.21 Hexter then launches into a long analysis, which he at least finds absorbing, of how it is that the New York Giants came to play in the World Series

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in 1951. A denotative general law explanation could be offered of how this came about, and Hexter insouciantly gives an example:‘Whenever during the official National League season a National League team wins more games and loses fewer than any other team, it plays in the World Series.’ But such would clearly strike the writer and reader of history as unsatisfactory and limited. A narrative explanation, however, would be much more varied and interesting and informative, and it would accompany another rhetoric, that of ‘historical analysis’. Narrative and analysis do not exclude each other; they work the one with the other, they always mix in ways that cannot be prescribed.22 For Hexter, what is clear is that rhetoric is not a superficial aspect of history. It is not merely ‘aesthetic’, nor is it ‘intellectual slatternliness’, as analytical philosophers would have historians believe. Rather, rhetoric is part of history’s ‘essential function’, its Rankean capacity to ‘convey knowledge of the past as it really was’, to further ‘knowledge, understanding, truth, and meaning’. In concluding, Hexter makes a plea for a ‘paradigm shift’ where it ‘may now be desirable and even necessary’ for historians to consider questions of the relations between rhetoric, connotation, necessary incompleteness, similarity to fictive arts, characterisation, explanation, meaning, and truth.23 Hexter’s ‘The Rhetoric of History’ was a prescient essay indeed. His interest in history as rhetoric would be shared on the continent but in the specific idiom of structuralism and poststructuralism; and his interest in narrative, and narratives as explanations or modes of understanding, would likewise become a major feature of ensuing debates.

IV
Scepticism concerning the ideal of scientific history also came in the early 1960s and onwards from the French – first the anthropologists and linguists, and then the philosophers and historians. Almost at the same time as Carr’s What is History? Claude Lévi-Strauss chastised the discipline from the perspective of structural anthropology. In the last two chapters of The Savage Mind (1962) he pointed to the ways in which historical narrative is a particular Western discourse, with its own rules and conventions, rather than simply reflecting reality as many historians believe. In ‘savage thought’ meaning is, Lévi-Strauss argues, constructed through totemism, where

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everyone and everything is in a group, which is named or known by its symbol. Classification into finite groups enables and establishes social relationships.This kind of epistemology is not historical; past time, evoked in stories of creation, is conceived as something separate, as out there, and not as a stage in a continuous historical process.The great civilisations of Europe and Asia, by contrast, ‘explain themselves by history’. Events are now in a single series, in which each item is derived from the one preceding it and gives rise to the one ensuing. We should not, however, says Lévi-Strauss, assume that our historical constructions of the past are superior to the classificatory thinking of a non-Western or non-Asian people.They are simply one way of thinking, no better and no worse than other ways. We should not, therefore, do away with history.We need only recognise that ‘history is a method with no distinct object corresponding to it’, a way of understanding the world, rather than a direct revelation of the world.24 After the anthropologists, the linguists and semioticians. In an essay ‘Historical Discourse’ (1967), Roland Barthes provided a particularly sharp critique of historians’ texts. Barthes was a structural linguist now best known for extending the methods of textual analysis beyond literary texts to any kind of texts, any kind of cultural or semiotic material. Detailed textual critique had hitherto been reserved in literary criticism for the recognised and canonical, for the familiar plays, poems and novels of high literature. Semiotics now became the irreverent approach that could investigate textual workings in any cultural phenomena, representations, and events, however apparently small or short or occasional or trivial or inconsequential or everyday. In Mythologies (first published in French in 1957), an extremely important book for the developing fields of cultural history and cultural studies, Barthes had performed witty textual analyses of events like a Parisian wrestling match, seeing it as a kind of theatre or play that drew on the history of French drama and extravagant acting styles as well as figures from classical mythology. In each entertaining essay of Mythologies Barthes would detect the way a cultural phenomenon, wrestling or an advertisement or plastic toys, concealed its particular ideological purpose by appearing to be self-evident, as if natural, as if without ideology. As Barthes put it, in such semiotic material, history appears as nature, preordained to be the way it is, because it refuses to reveal the way it has carefully and artfully constructed itself as a text, an artefact.25 The writing practices of scholarly history, Barthes thought, were open to

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similar critique. Given that historical narrative is just one particular way of viewing the world, Barthes asked, how does it go about convincing its readers that it is the only way, that it is ‘true’? The answer lay in the historian’s distinctive rhetoric. In conventional historical writing the author characteristically stands aside: there is no ‘I’ in the narrative. But, said Barthes, this absence is just a rhetorical means designed to produce in the reader a sense of the immediate presence of the past; to guarantee and enhance the privileged status of history as objective knowledge. Conventional historical narrative is, Barthes felt, but a ‘particular form of fiction’, where the historian ‘tries to give the impression that the referent’ – the past – ‘is speaking for itself ’.26 Barthes was asking historians to be self-conscious about what they were doing, to see themselves as artfully creating stories with a problematic not natural relation to historical truth. And in drawing attention in books like Mythologies to the interest of analysing the grain and detail of everyday phenomena, Barthes was drawing on and adding to the millennia-long vibrant irrepressible Herodotean stream of cultural history. Further, neither Herodotus nor Thucydides concealed the ‘I’ voice in their histories.

V
In 1967 Jacques Derrida’s Writing and Difference and Of Grammatology were published. Derrida, born in Algiers in 1930 (he died in 2004), would become the most famous poststructuralist. Writing and Difference includes the essay ‘Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences’, which radically challenged the prevailing French structuralist tradition, especially evident, Derrida considered, in the anthropology of Lévi-Strauss. In Derrida’s view, structuralism presupposes that every structure or phenomenon has an identifiable centre that fully explains that structure or phenomenon. To the contrary poststructuralism, or deconstruction – a method of reading texts, philosophical as well as literary, indeed any texts whatsoever – dissolves any set structure into a play of structurings, a play of interpretation where truth is never finally arrived at; truth is always involved in a play of differences that keep deferring its full presence.27 Nevertheless, Derrida insists that the inherited concepts of Western philosophy have to be used by poststructuralists even in their critiques of

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Western philosophy. In this sense, poststructuralism is not a revolutionary or destructive method: it does not desire to destroy Western thought as such. In being so enmeshed within Western thought even as they critique it, poststructuralists demand of themselves, and of Western thought, a highly developed self-consciousness and self-reflexivity.28 In Of Grammatology Derrida ambitiously evokes a history of the origins of language as a history of humanity. Paradoxically, Derrida argues that in human history, writing comes before speech. What, then, does he mean by writing and speech? Lévi-Strauss is again a target. What Derrida is opposed to in Lévi-Strauss is logocentrism, which he also refers to as phonocentrism: the view that language is conceived of as based on speaking subjects, whose immediate presence ensures a full presence of meaning. For Derrida, language based on speech is a Western myth. Derrida is critical of LéviStrauss for constructing traditional societies as if they are without writing and therefore without history, as if such societies lived idyllically in the immediacy of speech, with the further assumption that such immediacy ensures meanings and values that are always agreed on. For Derrida, such anthropology of the face-to-face is naïve; it has to be supplemented by archaeology and history.29 Derrida argues that there is always writing in human societies, and by writing he does not mean the Western notion of writing, based on the phonetic alphabet, or symbolised in the book. For Derrida, writing designates the broadest of phenomena; writing is everything that gives rise to inscription, in any kind of markings as in the pictographic and the ideographic, the hieroglyphic, the cuneiform, from the distant past to the present, in choreography as in cinematography. Writing can be articulated in graphic substances such as wood, wax, skin, stone, ink, metal, vegetable. Writing is aural as well as visual, the musical as well as the pictorial and sculptural.30 Writing, then, is everything from the most ancient of times to the present, in traditional societies, pharaonic Egypt, modern film, in dance, pictures, images, markings, that exceeds speech and the immediacy of face-to-face speech situations. In exceeding or supplementing speech, writing cannot be controlled or finalised in a face-to-face situation. Human history begins with such writing, but Derrida makes it very clear in Of Grammatology that he is not proposing a theory of origins, in the sense of a fundamental ground that can be identified and from which history can be seen as unfolding. In the

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creation story of Of Grammatology, at the beginnings of human society is what Derrida refers to as ‘arche-writing’, a swirling play of differences which surges into writing, whether such writing be graphic or non-graphic, as ‘traces’. In history from its beginning, such traces form together to constitute chains of signification, systems, texts. There is, however, no original trace that we can discover, there is only the play of differences, of interpretations and reinterpretations, ever disputed and involved with power and violence; a play of meanings and values which can never yield complete certainty or final truths.31 In Of Grammatology, Derrida also writes, exceedingly controversially, that there is, as he phrases it, no outside-text:‘There is nothing outside the text [there is no outside-text; il n’y a pas de hors-texte]’.32 So notorious has this emphasised phrase become that we might dwell for a moment on the passage of argument in which it occurs. Derrida is doing what he always does, a reading of a text, in this case, Rousseau’s Confessions. In particular, he is discussing how The Confessions reveals and explores the ways Thérèse is a replacement, supplement, substitute, for Rousseau’s mother. Derrida takes the opportunity to make some general observations on method and the protocols of reading and interpretation. He makes a preliminary point first, that we cannot develop an interpretation ‘in any direction at all’, as if we could ‘say almost anything’: Derrida is here explicitly opposed to the view that deconstruction means anything goes.33 We also cannot collapse the text into a supposed ‘referent’ or ‘reality’ outside the text. Images of Thérèse are substitutions and supplements, which create a multiplicity of meanings that cannot be reduced to what might be known outside The Confessions, of Rousseau’s actual mother or his intentions, psychology, biography or historical circumstances. In proceeding thus, Derrida in terms of method was drawing on a great deal of twentieth-century literary criticism. In Derrida’s distinctive idiom, Rousseau’s own life, and the lives of his mother or Thérèse, are certainly of ‘prime interest’. But, he continues, we have access to their lives only in Rousseau’s text. We also have to recognise that for Rousseau the memory of his mother exists only as ‘traces’ of her real existence, traces that act as substitutions and supplements (as Thérèse became). Necessarily, to know his real mother now becomes impossible. What we can do instead is explore the traces, substitutions and supplements ‘to infinity’, in their textual richness.34

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VI

What does Derrida mean by a text? Perhaps the clearest short statement is at the beginning of ‘Plato’s Pharmacy’, part of Dissemination (1972) – a long contemplation of Plato’s Phaedrus. In the opening two pages, Derrida playfully describes a text in terms of a constellation of metaphors.A text, he says, always hides itself from the first comer, the first glance.A text, that is, has it own kind of agency, it is not passively there as an inert object to be embroidered on by the critic. The text has a woven texture, it is like a web; a reading is like a cutting of the web, but it is an illusion to think that all the threads that compose it can be surveyed and mastered. In an almost tactile way, the critic has to enter into the game, the relationship of text and interpreter.The critic has to risk getting some fingers caught, because the critic is always, in any new interpretation, trying to add a new thread.Yet while reading is a game (the reading of a past text becomes the writing of a new text in the present), it is also serious: in this sense, the critic cannot ‘add any old thing’; the game, the ‘logic of play’, proceeds with rigour, it is not careless or haphazard.35 Such a scrupulous reading demands, first of all, as Derrida then immediately goes on to say by way of introducing the next section analysing the Phaedrus, the establishing of the protocols of reading. What is the specific provenance of the text, as a historical event? In the case of the Phaedrus, we have, Derrida says, to reject the long tradition dating from later antiquity that the Phaedrus was a badly composed dialogue and a product of the young Plato. We now recognise that the Phaedrus is a text of suppleness and irony from beginning to end. Derrida approaches his interpretation in a similar way to what Croce suggested history is: exploring the historical truth of the past out of a present interest. And what interests Derrida in the Phaedrus is a certain problem: Plato’s historical reputation is that he disliked writing and preferred the immediacy of speech because of its capacity for dialogue and interaction (as in the penultimate section of the Phaedrus, ‘The Inferiority of the Written to the Spoken Word’). Here is a challenge! In Dissemination in ‘Plato’s Pharmacy’ Derrida will test if this is really so by a careful reading of the text’s subtleties and ambiguities.36 Derrida points out that in the Phaedrus, Socrates compares the written texts that Phaedrus has brought along to a drug (pharmakon), and it will be a

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key part of Derrida’s deconstructive reading to unfold the double meaning of pharmakon, that as a drug it can act as both remedy (medicine) or poison. Consequently, the notion of writing as like a drug introduces into the body of philosophic discourse an inexhaustible ‘ambivalence’. For Derrida, the key narrative event of the text is that Socrates is surprised to find that he has been lured out of Athens by this drug, the pharmakon, by writing, for Socrates is normally very reluctant to leave the city where he practises his usual conversational approach to philosophy. Instead of standing around talking in Athens, Socrates lies down next to the beautiful Ilissus River, a scene interwoven with myths and stories. Socrates, Derrida notes, will now define and explain philosophic problems through evocations of stories and myths.37 It is important to stress that Derrida is in search of the historical truth of Platonic thought in this particular text, and that he himself uses a rhetoric of truth to insist on the rightness of his own reading. In these terms, Derrida says that the trial of writing which composes the last section of the Phaedrus is not extraneous to the text, rather:‘In truth, it is rigorously called for from one end of the Phaedrus to the other.’ Derrida insists on the ‘truth’ of the thread he will follow in the text. A little later Derrida suggests that ‘it is no less certain’ that the famous myths evoked by Socrates open up the question of the status of writing.What we should do in our reading, Derrida continues, is ‘reflect upon the fact’ that the myths refer to writing.38

VII
In 1972 Derrida also published Margins of Philosophy, with its influential essay ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’, which presented a powerful challenge to what Derrida saw as a guiding assumption of Western thought, that concepts are pure. In Derrida’s view, such purity of concepts is held to be the basis of Western knowledge’s self-image as objective, scientific, and universal. The purity of concepts ensures the superiority of Western thinking and reason over all other traditions. Derrida urges, to the contrary, that we recognise that not only literature but also works of scholarship, in philosophy, history, political science, and so forth – the human and social sciences – are suffused with rhetorical elements like metaphor.39 Derrida questioned the opposition of metaphor and concept. A philo-

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sophical text will be composed of an argument entwined with rhetorical features and moves, and with metaphors either that are openly present in the text, or that work through concepts, moulding and shaping them, investing them with layers of meaning, as in a palimpsest. Derrida does not wish to collapse concepts into metaphors. Rather he calls for a new articulation where we recognise that concepts are not abstract notions somehow beyond or superior to metaphors, but are themselves metaphors, or have traces or histories of metaphors embedded within them, which help shape the meanings of those concepts. He uses the metaphor of a palimpsest to describe the text of philosophy as a general intellectual activity, suggesting layers of meanings where there is no original meaning that controls the meanings that follow, and no final meaning toward which interpretation must proceed.40

VIII
We contend that many of the main emphases of Derrida, in his poststructuralist focus on language, including the language of philosophy and scholarship, are very similar, perhaps surprisingly similar, to J.H. Hexter’s approach to the language of history in his 1968 essay ‘The Rhetoric of History’. They had similar objects of dislike. Hexter disliked analytic philosophy that prescribed rigid laws for history as if it were a natural science, and that insisted that the language of history always only be denotative. In opposition, Hexter suggested that historical writing had its own distinctive rhetoric as well as the denotative – words and phrases that are evocative, that may be imprecise and ambiguous because they possess a rich aura of connotation. Historical writing is close to the fictive arts, and often involves depicting past historical personalities as characters. The historian explores the past textually, studying what people have written in the past and about the past; and in an archaeological way the historian attends to a wide variety of textual remnants and traces that are the surviving record of the past, from buildings and tools to pictures and pots.The historian tells stories, but such stories are also explanations, they are not peripheral to historical understanding, they help constitute it. As we have just seen, Derrida opposed what he saw as the prevailing structuralism of the 1960s, an approach that he considered determinist and reductive. Like Hexter valuing connotation, Derrida felt metaphors help shape

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concepts and therefore understanding. Like Hexter, Derrida argued that stories, including myths, were ways of explaining the world. Like Hexter, Derrida relished the richness of ambiguity that rhetoric and stories enable in scholarly writing. Like Hexter, Derrida saw the historical enterprise as studying the textual remnants and traces that survive from the past. Like Hexter, Derrida insisted on the rigorous character of scholarly enquiry, the necessity of certain protocols. Each in his own way wrote in a playful spirit, to draw attention to his own use of language.

IX
Nevertheless, when in the latter 1960s and early 1970s Hexter in ‘The Rhetoric of History’ called for a new paradigm where historians would recognise the connotative character of their language, and Derrida was discussing the implications of how metaphoric scholarly language in general is, it was never going to be easy to gain assent to what they were urging. Although historians used (and use) metaphor all the time, their understanding of its purpose and effects has generally been very different from that of the literary critic or literary-aware historian or philosopher. Historians assumed that metaphor was a useful tool, that it could be used to make complex arguments clear, precise, and unambiguous. Metaphor would add interest to what might otherwise be thought to be rather dull analysis, rendering it accessible and concrete. Metaphor, the hope was, would secure the point the historian was trying to make. It was a signal difference between the disciplines of history and literary criticism throughout the twentieth century that literary critics saw a metaphor as always a point of ambiguity and ambivalence, potentially unhingeing any clear statement, and disturbing any grounds of certainty. In literary criticism, a metaphor is always involved in a chain or history of metaphors.When critics see a metaphor in a text, say a mountain (as we saw in relation to Carr’s invocation of mountains in chapter 6, and as we shall observe of Richard Evans’ images of painters and mountains in chapter 10), they think of all the other places and texts (poems, novels, paintings) where mountains are riddled with teasingly diverse, multiple, perhaps contradictory meanings. An image of one mountain leads to images of other mountains, or

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to related images (mountain as castle of Gothic fear, or as breast, or as carnival image of plenty, or as otherworldly retreat) in an unstoppable series of images. In the writings of Hexter and Derrida, there occurred a striking challenge to the twentieth-century separation in Western thought of history and philosophy from literary criticism. The kind of conversations they created between rhetoric, history, philosophy and literature would intersect with the feminist challenge to history, and become a prominent feature in the continuing story in the 1970s and beyond of the linguistic turn, postmodernism, and poststructuralism.

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CHAPTER 8

The Feminist Challenge

… Herodotus, whom historians of the modern age have called ‘the father of history’, deliberately included women in history. (Mary Beard, Woman as Force in History, 1946)1 Certain passages in the argument employed by Hegel in defining the relation of master to slave apply much better to the relation of man to woman. (Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1949)2

You may have noticed, with some irritation perhaps, that the debates we have been tracing so far have been conducted almost entirely by men, about men’s historical practice, and for an assumed male audience. This is not a result of our blindness to historical writings by women, but because the drawing of boundaries between history and fiction, and between professional and amateur history, had a deeply gendered character. Most important of all, especially in the formative nineteenth century and early twentieth century, was male control of universities. While male historians were developing the framework of the new discipline and making great advances in writing polit-

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ical, military, and diplomatic history, women were excluded from higher education and even often from public libraries, while the private library or study was nearly always a male preserve. From the 1870s, however, women slowly began to enter the universities, first as students and later in small numbers as teachers.Their progress was uneven; they made some gains in the 1920s and 1930s, only to slip back to a tiny minority in the 1950s and 1960s. In the late 1960s, women had still not become university historians in significant numbers, and few professional academic histories had been written by women (the exceptions were, however, to be very important, as we shall see). It is not surprising, then, that male historians reflecting on the nature of history and the relationship between the historian and the past consistently figured the historian as male, contrasted with the archive and the past as female.When the feminists of the women’s movement of the 1970s began to critique existing historical scholarship for its male-centred assumptions, practices, and exclusions, there was much to condemn.

I
Yet, there had long been a tradition of women writing history outside the academy, as we noted in our discussion in chapter 3 of Sir Walter Scott’s literary and historical debts and inheritances. Historical writing was not so much all male as profoundly gendered, split between an almost entirely male world of professional academic history and a parallel world of amateur history in which both men and women had an important place. In the 1990s there emerged a new field of scholarship exploring this phenomenon. In The Gender of History: Men, Women and Historical Practice (1998), Bonnie Smith observed that history in the academy with its interest in scientific method, archival research, the objectivity of the historian, the teaching of historical method from one generation to the next, was often written self-consciously as a national and quite often nationalist project.3 Such history, Smith argues, saw itself as outside gender, or non-gender-specific, though through the nineteenth century and for the first two-thirds of the twentieth it was quite clearly the province mainly of men. On the other hand, outside the academy there were the women historians, the vast majority of whom were without institutional affiliation. Many of them wrote for the marketplace, producing

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historical fiction, local histories, and family histories; as Smith puts it, they wrote ‘the history of women, of social life, and of high and low culture’.4 This disjunction between men’s history conducted within the universities and women’s social and cultural history produced in the home and the marketplace, what we’ve been broadly characterising as different strands descending from Thucydides and Herodotus, was never of course complete. Some men wrote historical fiction, most notably Sir Walter Scott, with novels like Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward, the latter of which, as we have seen, helped Ranke define what he thought history was most definitely not.And in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, some women began to study and write in the mode of professional history, though still very often focussing on social and cultural and labour history. The transition from student to academic for most of these women was far from easy. Smith reminds her readers of Frances Collier, author of The Family Economy of the Working Classes in the Cotton Industry, 1784–1833, which was completed as a master’s thesis at the University of Manchester in 1921 and published in the 1960s after her death, and is still much used and respected today. In the 1920s, despite her master’s degree, unusual at the time, she was employed not as a lecturer but as the departmental secretary. Smith has many stories like this, especially of the many American women with history PhDs who could not find academic employment at a time when it was not so difficult for men with similar qualifications.The institutions of the profession remained overwhelmingly male. The American Historical Association program in 1919, for example, had not a single woman listed.5 Yet the flow of women into the academy continued unevenly through the twentieth century, especially with American women gradually gaining their higher degrees and learning the skills of archival research.Their presence in academic institutions, small though it was, slowly challenged the conventional division between the male professional and the woman amateur. Smith’s book was followed by Mary Spongberg’s Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (2002), which suggested that the range and width of Herodotean historical writing was kept alive and continuously transformed in women’s historical writings since antiquity, and not least during and since the Renaissance.Women, writing often from a sense of vulnerability and marginalisation and with an ambiguous sense of self, continuously wrote biography, historical novels, political satire, travellers’ tales, family history, and collected folklore and antiquarian material. In so doing they created and maintained a

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separate feminine historical tradition, exploring and hybridising genres and developing them for their own purposes, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: in spiritual autobiographies, biographies of ‘holy women’, confessional history, history of their male kin, ‘particular history’, ‘secret histories’, mixing of history and romance, personal memoirs, anecdotal history, a stress on interiority and self-reflexivity, local history, genealogy, collecting (of local traditions, folklore, dialects), the keeping of journals and letters not initially destined for publication and often in European-colonial settings, scandalous history.6 Spongberg mentions the names of female historians like Christine de Pisan (c.1364–1431), Madeleine de Scudéry (1607–1701), Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762), and the most famous of all women historians, Catherine Sawbridge Macaulay (1731–91), as well as important figures like Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97), and famous salonnières like Germaine de Staël (1766–1817), author of Corinne, or Italy (1807).7 She also takes the story up to recent times, tracing the impact of both first and second wave feminism on women’s historical writing. Like Smith, Spongberg raises the question of what counts as history – how we define it, and therefore where we look for earlier histories. Both historians found that the broader the definition of history the more women historians could be found.8

II
Women throughout the English-speaking world did write important professional academic histories before 1970, though these were a small part of the total of published work. Especially important for the women’s movement that erupted in the early 1970s were the English histories of women’s work written by Alice Clark and Ivy Pinchbeck, both of whom studied economic history at the London School of Economics. Clark’s Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century (1919), which saw capitalism as detrimental for women, and Pinchbeck’s Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution (1930), which on the whole did not, together provided some understanding of that important relationship for modern feminism between paid work and women’s labour within the family.9 One of the most important historiographical reflections, however, on the

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history of women, how it might be written, and its implications for the discipline generally, came not from England but from the United States, with Mary Beard’s Woman as Force in History: A Study of Traditions and Realities (1946). This remarkable text, published when Beard was 70, questioned the proposition that women were members of a subject sex throughout history, a proposition which ‘has exercised an almost tyrannical power over thinking about the relations of men and women, for more than a hundred years’.10 In place of the thesis of subjection, and also in place of the usual eliding of women from history, she advocated an approach to the historical enterprise that took full account of women’s activity, their force, throughout history. The book was the culmination of a life thinking about history, women’s history, and women’s rights and responsibilities. It had also been a life of activism around feminist, social reform, and pacifist objectives.11 With her husband historian Charles Beard, Mary had in her twenties spent two years in England, where she had encountered suffragist and socialist movements, and become close friends with Emmeline, Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst, who lived across the road from them in Manchester. On her return with Charles in 1902 to the United States to continue their graduate studies, now at Columbia University (which she did not complete), Mary became involved in feminist and social reform campaigns, working for the Women’s Trade Union League, becoming editor of the American Woman Suffrage Association’s journal, The Woman Voter, in 1910–11, and later joining the more militant Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. She gradually distanced herself from organised feminism, however, critical of its emphasis on women’s subjection and its demand for equality, and especially critical of its refusal to accept that women must share the blame for war. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Mary wrote a number of histories with her husband, and shared his interest in Croce and the emphasis on present perspectives and interpretations in making sense of historical ‘facts’. Croce’s History, Its Theory and Practice (1923) was one of the items in the bibliography of her sole-authored book, On Understanding Women (1931), in which she wrote:
In their quest for rights women have naturally placed emphasis on their wrongs, rather than their achievements and possessions, and have retold history as a story of their long Martyrdom. Feminists have been prone to prize and assume the traditions of those with whom they had waged such a long, and in places bitter conflict.12

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This prefigured the argument of Woman as Force in History, finished in June 1945 and published in 1946; at one stage she wanted to call it Woman as Force and Agency in History.13 Here Beard emphasised the exclusion of women from most histories, and the limited vision of most historians:‘being men as a rule, they tend to confine their search for the truth to their own sex in history’. The absence of women from most histories is partly a result, she wrote, of the confusion in historical writing between ‘man’ meaning humanity, both male and female, and ‘man’ meaning specifically male. One male historian after another is condemned for using the term ‘man’ with imprecision, ‘in such a manner as to leave the existence of women uncertain’. Some male historians, however, especially those involved in the new ‘social history’, were conscious of the problem. Beard quotes Arthur Meier Schlesinger, who wrote in 1924: ‘If the silence of the historians is taken to mean anything, it would appear that one-half of our population have been negligible factors in our country’s history’.14 In so far as women were thought to have a history, Beard argues, the most popular image was of women as subject to men. ‘When did this idea originate?’ she asks. ‘By whom was it originated? … Why did it obtain such an empire over human minds?’ She traces the idea back to Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1775), which folds the legal existence of a woman into that of her husband’s. Blackstone’s formulations should not, she warns, be regarded as evidence of women’s actual social position, for the common law rights of a husband were in practice severely circumscribed, and women did in fact enjoy certain rights under equity law. Blackstone’s summaries of English common law are not the descriptions they are often taken to be, but rather a very particular representation of it. Blackstone, Beard felt, afforded sanction for the ‘feminist manifesto that woman had been in fact subject to man throughout the long history of AngloAmerican law – and, indeed, of all law’.15 The idea that women were entirely subject to men, Beard argues, was developed and further popularised by a series of authors, many of them, unfortunately, feminists. Mary Wollstonecraft in her famous Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) mistakenly took Rousseau’s view that woman should be ‘content to please man and get very little in return’ as describing an actual state of affairs.The leaders of the ‘woman movement’ in the United States, in the Seneca Falls statement of 1848, spoke of women’s historic servitude, also

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taking Blackstone’s views as an accurate historical description. So, too, did John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor in The Subjection of Women (1869); their book begins, ‘the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes [is] the legal subjection of one sex to the other’. The Subjection of Women became, Beard suggests, the authority for feminists everywhere, then and later, for understanding women’s position in history. Marxists also, she points out, supported the thesis of the subjection of women, though they, especially August Bebel in Woman and Socialism (1879) and Friedrich Engels in The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), added a distinctive twist: women had not been subject in primitive societies, their subjection was tied to the development of private property and the beginning of capitalism, and would end with its overthrow.16 An emphasis on women’s economic dependency as the source of their subjection was popularised by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Woman and Economics (1898). Beard’s refusal to see women as historically subjected, as victims, was fierce. Of Mrs Carrie Chapman Catt’s speech in New York City in 1940, in which she declared (according to Beard) that ‘men have made all the wars in history’, Beard scornfully commented she was ‘thus in eight words clearing women of all war guilt’. Much later in the book, Beard adds that women were active in conflicts ‘in every way that men were, on some scale … There was not a type of war in which women did not participate’. For women to be seen truly as actors in history, one has to take the bad with the good: ‘the force of woman was a powerful factor in all the infamies, tyrannies, liberties, activities, and aspirations’ that constituted humanity’s self-expression.17 In the last few chapters of the book, Beard explores women’s active force in history – in the Middle Ages, for example, in agriculture, domestic industries, trade, in ‘religious and secular festivities, sports, games, and riots’. In discussion of ‘religious and moral questions,’ women high and low received an education; a fascination with classical learning developed, the most notable example being Christine de Pisan in fourteenth-century France. In late eighteenth-century France, the philosophes of the Enlightenment held sway in meetings presided over by women, devoted to discussion of the perplexing issues which were being defined on the eve of the Revolution. Furthermore, Beard argues, women were not outside power and politics:‘the history of the State and Society, until the very edge of our living time, was the history of the family, clan, and tribe and of struggles among them for political and

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economic ascendancy’. It was only with the commercial and political upheavals of the eighteenth century, when the power of royal and aristocratic families was disrupted, that the state passed to the control of parliaments ‘composed of men, and elected by men’.The nineteenth and early twentieth century was indeed a period of women’s loss of political power and influence, but, in historical perspective, it was ‘relatively short’. Men’s monopoly of politics under the system of manhood suffrage, she writes, was ‘brief, compared with the ages in which royal and aristocratic women exercised power in affairs of State and Society’.18 Beard concludes her challenge here to the idea of women’s powerlessness and subjection on a sarcastic note:
Nevertheless man, the ‘tyrant’ and ‘usurper’ of 1848, yielded the suffrage to women quicker and with more grace than women of royal and aristocratic families had bowed to the tempest of rising democracy, with its cry of ‘votes for men’.19

III
Only three years later, in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex appeared (in English in 1953). It was not to be Beard’s book but de Beauvoir’s, a work of philosophy rather than history, which was to inform most profoundly the development of women’s history in the second half of the twentieth century. De Beauvoir insisted on the very notion of women’s subjection to men that Beard had questioned, not so much as a matter of legal, political, or economic relations, but rather as deeply embedded in the fabric of Western thought itself, in which men (and women) understood men as human, and women as the Other. For de Beauvoir, women’s subjection occurred in thought, in culture. Beard’s insistence on women’s power in history was to prove seriously out of tune with the mood of female discontent and the new feminist politics that emerged in the late 1960s in the United States, Europe, and throughout the English-speaking world. Initially entitled Women’s Liberation, it soon became simply ‘feminism’ or ‘the women’s movement’. This new feminism had as its basic proposition that women everywhere and throughout history had been subjected, or in the new feminism’s terminology, ‘oppressed’ by men. This oppression was not inevitable, nor ordained by biological difference. One had

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to distinguish between sex, the biological foundation of male–female differences, and gender, the social and cultural construction of those differences.20 This separating of biology and culture provided the Women’s Liberation movement with an intellectual basis for repudiating biological determinism and asserting the possibility of sexual equality. In denying the inevitability of sexual subjection, feminism raised the question,‘why, if sexual inequality is not necessary to social life, is not inevitable, does it in fact exist?’ Feminists sought answers in a wide range of disciplines, from anthropology to sociology to philosophy. And history. If feminists could show how the relationships between men and women developed over time in particular circumstances in particular ways, they could, they hoped, show the mutability of these particular arrangements and the lack of necessity for the current social inequalities based on sex. The key American texts of the new movement – Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics (1970) and Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex (1970), and before them Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) – were clearly and openly indebted to de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex.21 They also used several recent works of historical scholarship in women’s history to provide the groundwork for their radical analysis of women’s position in modern society. Especially important was Eleanor Flexner’s Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States, which first appeared in 1959, the year after Mary Beard’s death. Flexner was a writer active in feminist and radical politics, indeed a member of the Communist Party from 1936 to 1956.22 Century of Struggle took a broad approach, paying considerable attention to both class and race and thus reflecting the analyses developed in Communist Party women’s circles in the previous two decades.23 Also influential was The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement 1890–1920 (1965) by Aileen Kraditor. Kraditor had also been a Communist from 1947 to 1958, and had a similar approach to Flexner’s, though her work covered a much shorter period and focussed specifically on women suffragists’ ideas.24 Millett’s Sexual Politics was so successful that it led to a Time magazine cover story in August 1970, generating huge national and international recognition. It stressed the enormous economic, political, and psychological power of patriarchy as an historically created social system, but also emphasised the importance of feminism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She evoked a ‘sexual revolution’ from 1830 to 1930, with political, rhetorical, and literary dimensions, using the works of Flexner, Kraditor, and others. After describing

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the gains made in the early twentieth century, she then argued there had been a counter-revolution from 1930 to 1960 that in the West had been assisted by the influence of Freud. Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex, published two months after Sexual Politics, borrowed the idea of the dialectic, used by Marxists to explain the dynamics of the class struggle in history, and applied it instead to sex. She, too, used Flexner’s race and class-conscious history to describe the earlier American women’s rights movement, and posited a backlash in the decades since American women gained the vote.Women had lost their earlier political consciousness, diverted by an obsession with glamour in the 1920s, other people’s causes in the 1930s, war in the 1940s, the ideal of domesticity in the 1950s, and radical politics in the 1960s.25 In both texts, the emphasis on women’s former activism and the subsequent backlash led to the notion that feminism came in waves; the American feminists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century were the first wave, and now, the new feminism described itself as ‘second wave’.26 In both texts, the idea of women’s subjection throughout history, against which Mary Beard had argued so vehemently, was thoroughly restored and developed.

IV
Women historians were both an important part of the women’s movement of the 1970s and after, and deeply affected by it. Many of them, like Mary Beard, Eleanor Flexner, and Aileen Kraditor before them, were also political activists, involved in socialist, civil rights, and/or opposition to the American war in Vietnam. Now, as the 1960s turned into the 1970s, women historians had a new interest in women’s social position and asked what history might do to illuminate it. In Britain, the United States, Australia, and the rest of the Anglophone world, there was a flood of programmatic articles advocating a new attention to women’s history, one that simply did not add women to existing political and military histories but sought to ask new questions, and to develop new methods to answer them. Feminist historians wanted to challenge the very framework of historical understanding itself. They wanted to shake history by the shoulders till it gave them answers to the question of why women were still second-class citizens, with lower pay, subject to violence, and an all too apparent cultural devaluation.

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Most of these programmatic essays were very much within the framework of national history, and within a few years versions appeared for American, British, Australian, Canadian, and other histories. These were remarkably similar in their overall argument, yet there were as well distinct national inflections. Indeed the national framework for women’s history, and the debates it generated about the nature of history itself, have been remarkably persistent.27 Within the US debates, the new Women’s Liberation Movement was influential, but the historians’ manifestoes also cautioned against some of its more naïve approaches to history. Several of the most important were written by tenured or at least well-established academic historians already in their thirties and forties when the new feminism erupted in the late 1960s. Perhaps the leading figure was Gerda Lerner, born in Vienna in 1920, who, fleeing the Nazi regime, arrived in the United States in 1938. During the 1940s and 1950s, she, too, was active in the Communist Party, and became a writer of novels and plays.28 Having left the Communist Party in 1956, she began her undergraduate studies two years later, studying for her bachelor’s degree at the New School for Social Research (in which Charles Beard had been prominent).29 While enrolled as a graduate student at Columbia University, she attended in 1963 a convention of the Organisation of American Historians (OAH), which was, she later recalled, ‘overwhelmingly male; there were so few women and so very few female graduate students, that one noticed each woman in the room’.30 Lerner’s PhD thesis, completed in 1966, was in the field of black women’s history in the south, and her book, The Grimké Sisters of South Carolina: Rebels against Slavery, was published in 1967.31 She taught at Long Island University from 1965 until 1968, when she joined Sarah Lawrence College, staying there until 1980.32 While at Sarah Lawrence, she participated (at the 1969 convention of the American Historical Association) in the Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Profession, an organisation that subsequently worked hard to increase the discussion of women’s history at the AHA annual meetings, and published two important works of women’s history, The Woman in American History (1971) and Black Women in White America: A Documentary History (1972).33 Another leading figure in women’s history was Joan Kelly-Gadol, eight years Lerner’s junior, who in 1963 completed her PhD at Columbia just as

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Lerner was starting hers. By the middle 1960s, she was a respected Renaissance historian teaching at the City University of New York. She was also a social activist, her interests including active participation in the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war movement.When her book, Leon Battista Alberti, about a fifteenth-century painter who helped develop the concept of perspective, appeared in 1969, she was already, as she puts it, ‘caught up in the excitement of the women’s movement’.34 In 1971, she joined Lerner at Sarah Lawrence College. As Kelly tells it, Lerner spent many hours attempting to persuade Kelly to participate in developing courses on women’s history.This conversation opened up a new world:
That turned out to be the most exciting intellectual adventure I can recall. It was like a very rapid repetition of the confusion into which I had been plunged in adolescence: the profoundly frightening feeling of all coherence gone, followed by restoration, if not of a new order, at least of a new direction. Suddenly the entire world of learning was open to me … The change I went through was kaleidoscopic. I had not read a new book. I did not stumble upon a new archive. No fresh piece of information was added to anything I knew. But I knew now that the entire picture I had held of the Renaissance was partial, distorted, limited, and deeply flawed by those limitations … All I had done was to say … Suppose we look at the Renaissance from the vantage point of women?35

A major contributor to the development of women’s history was Natalie Zemon Davis, also born in 1928, educated at Smith College, then undertaking graduate training in French history first at Harvard and then at the University of Michigan. She and her husband had their passports seized in the 1950s for criticism of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, but in the 1960s their passports were returned and both gained positions at the University of Toronto, she in the Department of History. Davis, too, was involved in political protests.36 The connections between women’s history and social activism were indeed strong. The earliest of the manifesto essays was Gerda Lerner’s ‘New Approaches to the Study of Women in American History’ (1969).37 She criticised existing scholarship on American women’s history for being ‘topically narrow, predominantly descriptive, and generally devoid of interpretation’.The one exception, she thought, was Mary Beard. Though a strong feminist, Lerner was not entirely in sympathy with the Women’s Liberation Movement.38

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She warned against various current approaches to women’s history emerging in the context of the new feminism: seeing women as a unified group; using inappropriate analogies with ‘other distinctive groups’, such as slaves or ethnic minorities or the economically deprived; presupposing that women’s exclusion from formal political rights meant they had no power at all; and assuming that ideas about women’s place at any one time accurately reflected their actual status. She recommended breaking down ‘women’s history’ into more specific categories, and developing new woman-specific ways of measuring women’s achievements. Her essay ended with a ringing call for ‘a painstaking search of known sources for unknown meanings’. One of the younger historians enthused by the new feminism was Lois Banner, who completed her history PhD at Columbia in 1970, the same year another Columbia graduate, Kate Millett, had her doctoral thesis (in English literature) published as the ground-breaking Sexual Politics. Reflecting on her response to the new feminism much later, in her autobiographical Finding Fran (1998), Banner wrote:
The decisive event for me was Kate Millett’s photograph on the cover of Time magazine in 1970 … Millett’s extension of politics to the realm of the personal resonated with something inside me… she persuaded me that gender inequality was embedded in laws and institutions … Her ideas were fresh and exciting.39

Banner taught history at Douglass College, New Jersey, at which in 1971, unusually, nearly half the history department faculty were women. That year, Banner taught women’s history for the first time, and pondered the implications of the new feminism for historical practice.40 She wrote a review of Millett’s Sexual Politics, entitled ‘On Writing Women’s History’ (1971), describing it as superb polemic but commenting that ‘as history, it is flawed’.41 Banner criticised Millett’s focus on individual authors rather than collective data and advocated a social history approach that investigated how women’s roles had changed over time, both in theory and in practice.

V
Very similar discussions were occurring in Britain at the same time.There the links between feminist activism and the women historians were especially

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strong, with most of the young women historians also feminist activists, very often socialist feminist activists.The labour, social, socialist, and now feminist historians in Britain were very often concentrated in adult education colleges, including Ruskin College at Oxford, which had changed its name from Ruskin Hall in 1913 and in 1967 had developed the radical History Workshop movement, combining labour and social history. So close was the association between historians and activists that when the women historians at Ruskin College set out in autumn 1969 to organise a small workshop on women’s liberation, it became by February 1970 a very large conference establishing at a national level the British Women’s Liberation Movement itself.42 A particularly stirring call to arms, announcing that virtually nothing was known of women’s history, was made by British historian, Anna Davin, one of the organisers of that first women’s history conference at Ruskin. Her parents had emigrated from New Zealand to Oxford in the 1930s, he on a Rhodes scholarship, both seeking a literary bohemian life in Europe. Born in 1940, Anna grew up in Oxford, married young and had three children; she mixed in left-wing circles that included Stuart Hall, Raphael Samuel, and Perry Anderson; some were founders of the journal New Left Review. A close friend was Juliet Mitchell, who was already, in the mid-1960s, thinking about Marxism and the ‘woman question’, publishing her revolutionary article ‘Women: The Longest Revolution’ in New Left Review in 1966. E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (1963) captivated Anna so much she decided at the age of 25 to study history at Warwick University, where Thompson was teaching.43 There she encountered many American exchange students, and absorbed the passionate opposition of some of them to the American war in Vietnam. One was Barbara Winslow, who had been active in Women’s Liberation in Seattle, and who was also inspired by Thompson’s book. Winslow later wrote: ‘It changed the way I looked at history’; she loved its ‘passionate, involved, activist historical and theoretical approach’.44 Like many others, Winslow was especially taken with Thompson’s declaration of intent in the famous preface: ‘I am seeking to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the “obsolete” hand-loom weaver, the “utopian” artisan and even the deluded followers of Joanna Southcott, from the enormous condescension of posterity’. Both Davin and Winslow remember Thompson’s attitude to the new history favourably.

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‘While he was not politically sympathetic to the women’s liberation movement’,Winslow wrote, ‘he was not hostile. Unlike other graduate professors, he called upon women in seminars, listened to them, argued with them and mentored them’.45 By 1970, Davin was deeply involved in the History Workshop movement, and the new feminist history. Moving to London, she began work on her doctoral dissertation on the lives of the late nineteenth-century London working class, under the supervision of Eric Hobsbawm whom she found formal, aloof, and uninterested in women’s history. Instead she found intellectual support and encouragement from historians working outside the universities, ‘in adult education, in trade unions and political groups, in the women’s movement and in the community’.46 ‘We now’, she wrote in an article entitled ‘Women and History’ (1972), ‘have to reject what has passed for history, to redefine the word, to discover the history which is relevant to us now’. It was important to look at the history of women’s struggles, as suffragettes for instance, but ‘it is still more important to discover first what was the ordinary condition of women’. She emphasised the high levels of women’s employment in working-class communities, and the hard work undertaken in the home by the working-class married woman. For Davin, knowledge of women’s history was important in the present:
We need to know our past … By showing that the role and ‘nature’ of women changes with each society we are helping to defeat the argument ‘that’s how it’s always been’. Since oppressive ideology is justified by reference to a false past, it is important for us to show what the past really was to develop an alternative to the distorted version still being used against us.47

One of the young historians teaching in adult education was Sheila Rowbotham. She, too, had mixed in New Left circles while studying for her history degree at St Hilda’s, Oxford, and then undertook research for a doctoral thesis on the adult education movement, or university extension.48 She, too, had been very much influenced by Dorothy and Edward Thompson, whom she knew well. She read some of The Making of the English Working Class in manuscript, and later wrote that it ‘restored individuals making choices in their workplaces and communities, becoming aware of themselves in new ways through ideas and action’.49 She worked on the editorial board of a socialist newspaper, Black Dwarf, publishing in it an
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influential article, ‘Women’s Liberation and the New Politics’ (1969). In 1972, her Women, Resistance and Revolution, a history of British women’s political struggles, appeared.50 Influenced by reading Edith Thomas’ The Women Incendiaries (1966) about French women’s role in the Paris Commune of 1870–71, and also by her own socialist feminist politics, she explored the history of women revolutionaries.51 In the introduction, Rowbotham noted women’s invisibility in history, and reflected, ‘Women’s liberation brings to all of us a strength and audacity we have never before known.’52 Largely independently, though influenced by the same women’s movement activism, programmatic articles appeared during this time in other countries. Unaware of Lerner’s article and with those by Kelly, Davin, and others yet to appear, Ann Curthoys published a rather similar essay entitled ‘Women’s Liberation and Historiography’ in the Australian neo-Marxist journal Arena in April 1970. She had been involved in the Australian civil rights movement, having participated in the 1965 ‘Freedom Ride’ protesting against racial discrimination against Aboriginal people in country towns, and was in 1970 half-way through her doctoral thesis on race relations in colonial New South Wales. She was also involved in the first Women’s Liberation group in Sydney, which included some other doctoral history students, such as Lyndall Ryan, Sue Bellamy, and Mary Murnane. These and the other Australian feminist historians emerging at this time – Anne Summers, Beverley Kingston, Marilyn Lake, Jill Roe, Kay Saunders, Jill Matthews, Carmel Shute, Patricia Grimshaw, Susan Magarey – came from an environment that exhibited many of the features of the American and British scenes. Most had been involved in or at least influenced by radical politics, especially opposition to Australia’s involvement in the American war in Vietnam, and by Marxist ideas through a lively labour history movement. They were in 1970 mainly graduate students, though Kingston and Roe were already junior lecturers. Curthoys argued in her article in Arena that the ideas of the new Women’s Liberation movement could be used to ask new questions about Australian history: ‘we should be careful that we do not confine our analyses to “the position of women” but are able to integrate analyses concerning women with the mainstream of historical enquiry’. It was important to critique and explain history’s emphasis on ‘public life and politics’; ‘the concepts usually operating in historiography, defining what is important, must be questioned’. 53

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VI

The movement for women’s history gathered pace throughout the Englishspeaking world and beyond. Lois Banner describes how, in 1971, at the annual meeting of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians (an organisation founded in 1929 by women teachers of history, including Mary Beard, in colleges in the eastern United States in response to their feeling of exclusion from conferences organised by male historians), the older women historians were not interested in women’s history. With her friend Mary Hartmann, Banner organised at Douglass College in 1973 a separate meeting on women’s history, though still under the auspices of the Berkshire Conference. Banner recalls that they expected about ten papers to be delivered to an audience of 75 or so; so popular was the new women’s history already that 500 people heard 75 papers, and the Berkshire Conference on Women’s History has been held regularly ever since.54 By 1975 the stream of articles about women’s history and how it might be written had become a flood. Gerda Lerner in ‘Placing Women in History’ (1975) was one of the first to raise an issue that was to be important for feminist historians over the next decade or so. Many were beginning to feel that the new scholarship tended to portray women as victims. Echoing Mary Beard forty years earlier, Lerner and others now wanted to look not at what women had suffered, or been excluded from, but what they had actually done.55 Lerner explicitly referred to Beard when she pointed out that emphasis on women’s ‘oppressive restraints’ makes it appear ‘either that women were largely passive or that at the most, they reacted to male pressures or the restraints of patriarchal society’.‘Such inquiry’, she suggested,‘fails to elicit the positive and essential way in which women have functioned in history’. Too great a focus on oppression returns the historian to the study of the actions of men, or more precisely to a ‘male-defined conceptual framework’.56 It was probably this same feeling of wanting to focus on women’s ideas and actions rather than the ways these had been constrained that led so many to respond so positively to Carroll Smith Rosenberg’s ‘Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations between Women in Nineteenth-Century America’ (1975). Here was an essay that focussed on female experience, on relationships between women which built ‘a sense of inner security and self-esteem’ and in which men and male power were either absent or clearly in the background. The

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essay embodied the popular notion of ‘separate spheres’ but recreated it as something more positive, as a form of women’s culture that sustained itself without the help of men.57 Considering how foundational the concept of gender became for women’s history and many women historians, it is notable that these early essays used it very slightly indeed. In the early years of the new women’s history, historians usually spoke not of ‘gender’ but rather of ‘women’s oppression’, ‘sex role differentiation’,‘male domination’, and ‘patriarchy’. From 1975 Gayle Rubin’s term ‘sex/gender system’ became popular within feminist scholarship, but feminist historians took some time truly to adopt gender as a category of historical analysis.58 An early but fleeting use of ‘gender’ by a historian is evident in Natalie Zemon Davis’ ‘“Women’s History” in Transition: The European Case’ (1976). It was important, she felt, to ‘understand the significance of the sexes, of gender groups in the historical past’.59 ‘Gender’ was still on the margins in Joan Kelly-Gadol’s influential ‘The Social Relation of the Sexes: Methodological Implications of Women’s History’, published that same year.60 She wrote not of gender but of the ‘social relation of the sexes’, and ‘the roles and positions women hold in society by comparison with those of men’. After criticising attempts to categorise women as a class, caste, or minority group, she uses a variety of expressions: ‘we are a sex’, ‘categorization by gender’, ‘the sexual order’, a ‘patriarchal’ social order. These two essays raised some new issues for feminist historians. Davis argued that understanding of women’s history could be enhanced by new developments in demography, quantitative history more generally, and a greater focus on the history of sexual and erotic activity. Women’s history raised the issue of periodisation. Full attention to women might mean entirely new divisions in European history, marked, perhaps, by demographic changes or changes in sexual practice.61 Davis brought something important to the developing world of women’s history. An expert in sixteenth-century French social history, she was by the early 1970s developing insights into the carnivals and festivals of early modern Europe, using anthropology and Mikhail Bakhtin as her guide to explore festive practices of male–female inversion and images of a ‘world upside-down’. In her well-known and wonderfully entitled essay ‘Women on Top’ Davis points out that the female sex was thought the disorderly one par excellence in early modern Europe. In pictorial representation or at festival time she appeared as full of life and energy, clever,

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powerful, resourceful, lusty, licentious, witty, Amazonian, fighting for equality if not dominance. In ‘Women on Top’ Davis directly challenged the then prevailing functionalist view that such cultural inversions have a single unidirectional meaning, to strengthen and support the social order. Davis suggests that to the contrary the cultural play with the topos of the woman on top was multivalent and contradictory. Images of the unruly or disorderly woman could indeed function to keep women in their place (she might do what the men should do), but they could also prompt new ways of thinking and acting, and could sanction political disobedience and riot for both men and women. Women, and men dressed as unruly women, exercised the carnival right of criticism and mockery, which sometimes tipped over into rebellion.62 In ‘Women on Top’ Davis reprises Mary Beard’s view in Woman as Force in History that women were active forces in the festivities, games, and riots of the Middle Ages. Joan Kelly in ‘The Social Relations of the Sexes’ and another essay the following year entitled ‘Did Women Have a Renaissance?’ (1977) took up and explored Davis’ questioning of periodisation. She pointed out that the meaning of a given historical period for women might be quite different from that for men; periods of advance from a male perspective might be the opposite from a female one.63 Indeed, she wrote in the former essay,‘what emerges is a fairly regular pattern of relative loss of status for women precisely in those periods of so-called progressive change’.64 She opposed, however, Davis’ suggestion that women’s history might require entirely new periodisation, based on major turning points affecting human reproduction, on the basis that this would detach the history of reproduction from changes in the general social order. Rather, the task of feminist historians would be to insist that the traditional or existing historical periods are understood equally in terms of their meaning for women as for men.

VII
In Britain, meanwhile, most attention was focussed on the study of the relationship between women’s work and the family. In the new History Workshop Journal (1976), a further development of the History Workshop movement that had started at Ruskin, Sally Alexander and Anna Davin drew attention to

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the failings of both labour history and social history, since they took for granted social institutions, such as the sexual division of labour, which ought to be explained.65 By the 1980s, new issues were emerging, especially around the terms gender and difference.‘Patriarchy’, originally so central a concept in women’s liberation, was being discarded. At a History Workshop conference held at Ruskin College in December 1979, attended by over 1000 people, there was in one session a major debate on the concept between Sheila Rowbotham, Sally Alexander, and Barbara Taylor.66 The problem was, Rowbotham suggested, that ‘patriarchy’ was being used to denote ‘a universal and historical form of oppression which returns us to biology’; moreover it tended to suggest ‘a single determining cause of women’s subordination’. It constructed two separate systems of oppression: ‘We have patriarchy oppressing women and capitalism oppressing male workers’. ‘Patriarchy’, she continued, ‘suggests a fatalistic submission which allows no space for the complexities of women’s defiance’. What was needed instead was a ‘historical concept of sex-gender relationships’.67 Though the notion of patriarchy as denoting a ‘theory of women’s oppression’ was ably defended by Alexander and Taylor, Rowbotham’s doubts were increasingly shared by many feminist historians.68 Through the 1980s,‘gender’ came to replace ‘patriarchy’ in feminist histories. British historian Jane Lewis’ essay, ‘Women Lost and Found: The Impact of Feminism on History’ (1981), for example, used the category ‘gender’ in a confident way not found in the earlier essays. In Australian historical writing, too, the term ‘gender’ was being rapidly popularised by a number of scholars. Feminist historians had pause for thought when philosopher Moira Gatens in 1983 provided a strong critique of the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. Such a distinction, she argued, posited ‘sex’ as a given and ‘gender’ as malleable when in fact ‘sex’, too, was historically constructed. The sexed body, Gatens contended, is not outside the domain of culture, and the sex/gender distinction thus collapses: sex and gender are both products of culture.69 The effect of this critique on Australian feminist scholarship was an increased interest in ‘sex’, notably in the history of the body, specifically the sexed body.70 ‘Gender’ grew in popularity as well, gradually replacing ‘patriarchy’. Jill Matthews, for example, in Good and Mad Women: The Historical Construction of Femininity in Twentieth Century Australia (1984), structured her history around the notion of ‘gender order’, seeing it as a way of identifying the social organisation of the

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relations between men and women without adopting the assumption embedded in ‘patriarchy’ that women were necessarily subjected or oppressed. By the 1980s, feminist historians were pondering the meaning of their labours for the discipline generally, and made sharper distinctions than before between women’s history and feminist history. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, in ‘Placing Women’s History in History’ (1982), probed the question of women’s history’s significance for history at length. With a PhD in history from Harvard, author of The Origins of Physiocracy: Economic and Social Order in Eighteenth Century France, and at this point still a Marxist (she was later to experience a dramatic swing to political and social conservatism), she was in 1982 teaching at the State University of New York at Binghamton.71 Adding women to history, she pointed out, was not the same as adding women’s history to history. The implications of women’s history for history she saw as multiple. Historians would need henceforth to ‘adopt gender system as a fundamental category of historical analysis’, and to recognise the variability of male dominance, making the term ‘patriarchy’ too limited in its application. She emphasised ‘the mutability of gender systems’, warning that it is ‘fruitless to look for a uniform oppression of women, or a universal form of male dominance’. Fox-Genovese was unusual also for the time among women historians in emphasising that women had not always been on the side of the oppressed: ‘the world we have inherited could not have been built without them, neither the bad in that world nor the good. They worked for all contending parties – for the Klan as well as against lynching’.72 Mary Beard would have approved.

VIII
Within the growing field of women’s history, one of the main issues had always been how to recognise the differences between women while still maintaining an interest in and focus on women as an historical category. As early as 1976, Australian Aboriginal feminist Pat O’Shane had queried feminist expectations that Aboriginal women would foreground their gender rather than their experience as a dispossessed, exploited, and discriminated against racial group. Other Aboriginal women stressed how their suspicion of white feminists had its origin in the role white women had played in the

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exploitation of Aboriginal women historically, and modern feminists’ inability to acknowledge that history.73 Yet feminist historians, though taking the point that race divided white and Aboriginal women, took some time to build this awareness into their histories. From the early 1980s the question of race became vastly more important. In the United States, bell hooks published in 1981 Ain’t I a Woman? the title a reference to a speech by Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree) to the Women’s Convention in 1851, which spectacularly evoked black women’s experience as quite different from that of white women:
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?74

hooks picked up Truth’s cry, with its echoes of Shylock’s great anti-racist speech in The Merchant of Venice, to argue that sexism and racism combined to assign black women low status during slavery, and that stereotypes created then persisted into the present. Black women faced a patriarchal black nationalist movement and a white middle-class feminist movement that had no understanding of black women’s experience.The critique by black women of white feminism continued apace. Bonnie Thornton Dill, in ‘Race, Class, and Gender: Prospects for an All-Inclusive Sisterhood’ (1983), pointed out that white feminists had forgotten their own history, where the women’s rights movement had itself been racially discriminatory.75 With growing attention in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere to the effects of race, and a continuing interest in class, historians were finding it increasingly difficult to manage the separate dimensions of gender, race, and class. Each seemed more fundamental than the other.76 One answer to the problem came in a shift from ‘structures’ to poststructuralist concepts like ‘discourse’ and ‘identity’. Joan Scott in effect removed the word ‘system’ from Fox-Genovese’s ‘gender system’ to produce a more open and flexible concept of gender. Another New Yorker, Scott

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received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin in French history in 1969, and published her first book, The Glassworkers of Carmaux, in 1974.With Louise Tilley she wrote Women, Work, and Family (1978), a major work of women’s labour and social history.77 By the mid-1980s, influenced by poststructuralist approaches derived from French theorists such as Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, and Irigaray, Scott brought to the debates in women’s history a new emphasis on fluidity, and a turning away from a notion of social structure as something underlying the surface of society. Her work was extremely important, not least because she crossed the United States/United Kingdom divide much more freely than anyone else. It was time, she argued in her essay ‘Women’s History’ in 1983, to examine and redefine some of the key terms of analysis, namely ‘subject’,‘gender’, and ‘politics’. Recognition of women as historical actors, she suggested, necessitated abandoning earlier frameworks that took men’s experience as general and women’s as particular, or specific, and instead seeing all human subjects as particular and specific. How, then, she continued, could all these particularities be conceptualised? How, she asked, do we relate to one another the multiple differences marking individuals – by race, gender, class, sexual preference? For ‘women’ to be understood properly, ‘gender’ was a most important analytical tool.78 The question of gender became the focus of Scott’s essay three years later, ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’ (1986), one of the most famous products of the intersection of feminism and history.79 Scott argued that feminist historians needed a more open notion of gender, where the distinctions between male and female could be any kind whatsoever. She also opposed those versions of women’s history that tended to equate women’s history with social history and more specifically with the relationship between the family and working life, and argued that gender history could be anywhere. Political history, for example, need not be seen as somehow conventional male history, for it, too, was gendered, even when (or especially when) women were formally absent.80 Two major further contributions to the debate over how to relate ‘race’, ‘class’, and ‘gender’, how to decide which was the most important or determinative of the others, came from scholars outside history.Though a cultural critic rather than a historian, Teresa de Lauretis in her essay, ‘Eccentric Subjects: Feminist Theory and Historical Consciousness’ (1990), helped many historians out of the conceptual minefield in which they now found them-

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selves. In trying to take account of all the complexities of race, class, and gender they had, she felt, retained their initial gender dualism and then tried to add to it concerns of class and race. Rather than add, Lauretis suggested, feminist scholars needed to grasp ‘their constant intersection and mutual implication’, to understand how gender affects racial oppression, or the ways in which the experience of gender is itself shaped by race relations. Rather than structures, de Lauretis, like Scott, spoke of identities. The new feminist consciousness, she wrote, must see itself as ‘multiply organized across positions on several axes of difference and across discourses and practices that may be, and often are, mutually contradictory’.81Also important for historians’ changing and increasing use of ‘gender’ was the work of political theorist Judith Butler in Gender Trouble (1990), which stressed ‘gender’ as a process, as something that is performed in daily life.82 Gendered subjectivity, Butler suggested, is produced in a series of competing discourses, rather than by a single patriarchal ideology, and gender relations are a process involving strategies and counter-strategies of power.83 Butler’s work led to a growing fashion for speaking of ‘gendering’ and ‘engendering’, and of ‘engendered’ social processes. The liberation of gender by Scott, de Lauretis, Butler and others from ‘system’ and ‘structure’ had long-term consequences. Feminists turned their attention far more than ever before to the history of masculinity. Marilyn Lake, in her essay, ‘The Politics of Respectability: Identifying the Masculinist Context’, not only developed a specific analysis of gender conflicts in Australia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but effectively introduced to historical debate the notion of ‘masculinism’, the aggressive defence of the rights of men against the claims of feminism.84 The focus of many feminist historians shifted from women, or men, or gender or sexuality per se to a whole range of human activities that had a gendered aspect. Feminist historians in the 1990s and 2000s came to the forefront of a range of historiographical movements, from environmental to colonial and postcolonial, ‘new imperial’, and transnational histories. They continued to insist on the salience of gender, and the importance of women, but now these concerns were embedded in a range of others.The achievements of feminist historians in the 1990s and 2000s were less to do with women’s history, or even gender history, than with applying a pluralising and diversifying gendered perspective. Something of the change in mood and focus can be

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detected in Australian feminist historian Jill Matthews’ 2002 essay urging feminist historians simply to aim to write ‘good history’:
By good I mean … recognizing that sometimes gender does not matter; that the presence or absence of women sometimes does not matter; that the fact of someone being a man or a woman may not be the most important thing about them and their behaviour. It means sometimes using gender as a tool to analyse other more important historical categories, rather than making it the central issue.85

IX
We have not quite finished with feminism and historiography. Scott’s poststructuralist intervention into feminist history was not confined to the question of gender. She also advocated a greater self-consciousness about historical knowledge itself. To understand how historians have represented the past in particular ways requires ‘attention to the assumptions, practices, and rhetoric of the discipline’, and especially the notion that ‘history can faithfully document lived reality, that archives are repositories of facts, and that categories like man and woman are transparent’.86 Not only were her critiques directed towards conventional male or male-centred historians; they were applied also to her fellow feminist historians. Scott followed Gender and the Politics of History with an influential and controversial essay in 1991, ‘The Evidence of Experience’.87 Here she challenged radical and critical historians, including feminist historians, for using the category of ‘experience’ as somehow prior to historians’ conceptual categories. She questioned the appeal to experience as uncontestable evidence by feminist and other historians, suggesting that in doing so they, without realising it, remained ‘within the epistemological frame of orthodox history’: they assume that ‘the facts of history speak for themselves’. Following Derrida, Scott urged historians to recognise that ‘experience’, too, is understood within a textual or linguistic framework. She ends by reflecting that ‘experience is, in this approach, not the origin of our explanation but that which we want to explain’. Scott’s later work, Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (1996), put these ideas into practice. She provided a history of the ways French (and other) feminists inevitably both opposed and reinforced the ideas of sexual difference that

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governed their political exclusion In the process, she questioned the notion of ‘agency’ as an expression of human nature and in her analysis of individual women’s agency set out to ‘recognise the many factors that constitute her agency, the complex and multiple ways in which she is constructed as a historical actor’.88 The influence of poststructuralist approaches in feminist history was both productive and deeply controversial. Scott’s thinking has been enormously influential. Yet her work met with some strong resistance within feminist history circles. Many found her emphasis on language and discourse uncongenial, seeing it as taking the politics out of feminist history. Others wanted to restore feminist (and other) historians’ ability to claim truth on the basis of women’s experience, and caricatured her position as ‘anything goes’, as suggesting that one historical account is as good as another.89

X
We can now see the alternative historical traditions inaugurated by Herodotus and Thucydides in a more clearly gendered light. Conceived of as a focus on the political, military and diplomatic, the male-centred Thucydidean tradition was picked up by Ranke in and from the 1820s and reigned supreme in university history for a century and a half, until the reemergence of Herodotean social, cultural, and women’s history in the 1960s and 1970s. Through that century and a half of male-dominated professional Thucydidean history, the Herodotean tradition was sustained and developed largely by both women and men outside the academy working in a variety of genres. We can think of the women among them sitting there at their needlepoint, stitching their histories, till they gained admission to the academy, where they learnt many of its principles of archival research and seminar discussion. When they learnt to conjoin these male and female, professional and amateur threads of history writing, their impact was profound. They found, however, that they were no more agreed on historical methodology and its value than the men they had so trenchantly criticised.The sense of a shared enterprise that marked the 1970s had by the end of the century become something much more fractured, dispersed, and contested.

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CHAPTER 9

Postmodernism and Poststructuralism

… descriptions of events already constitute interpretations … (Hayden White, Tropics of Discourse, 1978)1

In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, there was a remarkable flowering of innovative historical writing, drawing on both the Herodotean and Thucydidean traditions (in terms of the literary aspects of Thucydides’ History): gender history, micro-history, cultural history, history of sexuality, history of the body, and subaltern and postcolonial histories. Important for these new histories, in both content and form, were the twin strands of postmodernism and poststructuralism, modes of thinking that influenced all the humanities. We must make here some careful distinctions. In literary and cultural theory in these latter decades of the twentieth century, postmodernism challenged an early twentieth-century modernist worldview which had created a hierarchy of genres, where tragedy or a tragic effect was at the summit of aesthetic achievement. Postmodern culture opened itself out to any genre, whether previously despised or not as ‘mass’,‘low’,‘popular’, and ‘female’.2 In the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s postmodern historical writing confined itself

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neither to any genre – not so much tragedy as realism – nor to the ‘male’ sphere of political, military, and diplomatic events. Postmodernism, in questioning a previous ‘high’ modernist hierarchy of genres, is not necessarily coincident with poststructuralism. Poststructuralists, exploring how much in language meanings can be uncertain and indeterminate rather than tightly structured or transparent, were not necessarily postmodernist in matters of culture, in relation to genres and popular cultures. Poststructuralists could inhabit the austere space of ‘high’ modernist literary and cultural attitudes valuing the tragic and oppositional, the disruptive and transgressive, especially as found in European literature.3 On the other hand, poststructuralists could be postmodernist in relation to genres and popular cultures. In any case, we see ourselves as deeply sympathetic to postmodernism in its hospitality to popular genres, and its interest in experiment and innovation through genre and play with genres. We are also deeply sympathetic to poststructuralism in its critique of structuralism and in its stress on heterogeneity, difference, contradictoriness, and indeterminacy; in its drawing attention to fictive elements in scholarly including historical writing, of narrative, rhetoric, and metaphor; and in its concern that the scholar, here the historian, should openly acknowledge herself or himself as a narrator in the staged world of her or his texts.4 In this chapter we explore further the influence of these two closely related theoretical approaches on the discipline of history.

I
Herodotus conceived of power in human societies as dispersed: religious, social, cultural, erotic and sexual histories are entwined with the history of rulers, rule, and ruled, while Thucydides focussed on the state. These fundamental differences have bearing on how we approach Foucault as a key thinker and practitioner for the story of history in the latter twentieth century. In our analysis, Foucault will emerge as a highly contradictory historiographical figure. In books, essays, and interviews in the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s Foucault challenged conventional Western historical writing as it had taken shape in the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth. His work seemed to go beyond what had been preoccupying cold war era debates

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between Marxist and empiricist historians, offering new concepts, methods, and visions. In the extraordinarily influential The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969), Foucault confesses that in his previous work his approach had been too structuralist. In particular, he confides, he is mortified that in his earlier writing, as in The Order of Things (1966), he may have given the impression that he was conducting his analyses in terms of notions like ‘cultural totality’.5 It is the search for totality that he will now most oppose. In The Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault argues strongly against total history, the assumption of seamless connections between phenomena; in total history, the traditional historian is preoccupied with long periods, where stable patterns can be discerned. Clearly, Foucault is opposing the Annales school of historians (though he does not name them) then dominant in France. The traditional historian is always interested in a unified historical process, in how to link disparate events, to perceive continuity and causal relationships between events, to find their overall significance, with the eventual hope of establishing the desired total history. Foucault felt that traditional history was lagging behind the new thinking that was fruitfully occurring in the history of ideas, science, philosophy, literature, where attention was turning to notions and phenomena of ‘threshold, rupture, break, mutation, transformation’.6 The new history will recognise the importance of discontinuity, and acknowledge as well – in the spirit of Croce – that establishing discontinuity in the past is a ‘deliberate operation on the part of the historian’, rather than a ‘quality of the material with which he has to deal’. The new historian will seek to work out the periodisation that suits best the discontinuities that he has constituted as part of the historical process. Paradoxically, says Foucault, it is the new historian who will divide up the field he is interested in into discontinuities; but then such discontinuities, which he ‘secretly’ supposes to be present in the past, become the object of his research. In any case, discontinuity is a notion that Foucault feels cannot be stressed enough, for it should now become the historian’s ‘working concept’.7 Historians, Foucault urges, should replace their traditional search for total history which seeks the one determining principle, the ‘same central core’, a ‘single centre’, material or spiritual, of a society, with a new ‘general history’. The new history, however, is not merely, Foucault warns, content to exhibit a

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‘plurality of histories juxtaposed and independent of each other’ – an approach akin to what has come to be called the Rashomon effect, from Akira Kurosawa’s famous 1950 film Rashomon.8 In opposing being satisfied with a plurality of interpretations, Foucault is also opposing a view that any interpretation goes, one cannot discriminate between interpretations. For Foucault, what the new historian seeks to pursue is not simply a plurality of viewpoints but an explanation – a true explanation – of the past. The new historian, in recognising so much the differences and separations and dispersals of the past, is also acknowledging that the present he is writing from and in is also not unified.To conceive of difference in the past is also to ‘conceive of the Other in the time of our own thought’.And that means we must recognise that the historian too is not unified within himself, he is not a sovereign subject whose consciousness is fully knowable to himself. He can neither master knowledge of the past, nor write from complete self-knowledge. Here Foucault refers to thinkers like Marx and Nietzsche, and recent researchers in fields like psychoanalysis, linguistics, and ethnology, who have ‘decentred the subject’. In these terms, Foucault comments that his own approach and writing, as part of the new history, will, he hopes, always strike the reader as precarious, unsure, cautious and stumbling in manner, groping towards its yet unknown limits.9 Recalling the founders of history, we can say that Foucault is suggesting here that he will not be writing in the magisterial, authoritative, omniscient manner of Thucydides; rather, his approach will approximate more to Herodotus, often tentative in relation to competing stories, sometimes close to self-parody as a narrator.Yet is Foucault’s self-positioning here borne out in his subsequent histories? In his essay ‘The Discourse on Language’ appended to The Archaeology of Knowledge, originally given in 1970 as a lecture, Foucault declared that ‘my work in the years ahead’ would explore the two sides of discourse. Discourse has to be viewed, he points out, as a paradoxical concept. On the one hand discourse is a mode of constraint and control: discourse excludes, prohibits, rejects; it prescribes a will to truth which considers itself beyond desire and power; it exercises control with rules that apply classification, ordering, and distribution, attempting to master any waywardness of events and ‘chance’. On the other hand, discourse can be unruly, it can interrupt and disrupt. In this sense, discourse is ‘the philosophy of event’.10

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II

In his essay ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’ (1971), Foucault admires Nietzsche’s notions of genealogy, or effective history, or historical sense or consciousness.11 What, then, is genealogy or effective history? Genealogy is everything that traditional history is not. Genealogy, Foucault says, is like the ‘acuity of a glance that distinguishes, separates, and disperses’, that can liberate ‘marginal elements’. Genealogy is suspicious: where traditional history seeks ‘lofty epochs’, genealogy may find such epochs exhibiting a ‘barbarous and shameful confusion’.12 Genealogy recognises that every feeling, sentiment, instinct,‘has a history’. Genealogy realises that the body is not a stable entity, but has a discontinuous history. Genealogy brings into historical awareness the ‘nervous system, nutrition, digestion, and energies’. Genealogy recognises that the ‘forces operating in history’ respond to ‘haphazard conflicts’, they possess a ‘singular randomness’. Genealogy observes in history the iron hand of necessity shaking the dice-box of chance, and from this encounter comes a ‘profusion of entangled events’. The ‘true historical sense’ – here Foucault commits himself to a notion of truth – ‘confirms our existence among countless lost events, without a landmark or a point of reference’.13 The genealogist can laugh at the world, can be parodic and perceive the past as farce. (Here we might recall Marx’s carnivalesque Eighteenth Brumaire.) The genealogist can recognise the parade of past personalities as a masquerade, and enjoy the ‘great carnival of time where masks are constantly reappearing’.The genealogist contrasts history as buffoonery, as ‘concerted carnival’, to traditional history’s notions of monuments and high points that are to be venerated.14 The genealogist also suspects the usual ways the search for truth is conducted. Traditional history, Foucault points out, sees itself as neutral in terms of values,‘committed solely to truth’. But traditional history, in its ‘will to knowledge’, conceals what might be its own motives and desires. The genealogist, on the other hand, will openly admit his perspectives, his preferences in a controversy, as, like Nietzsche (and, we might add, Isaiah Berlin in Historical Inevitability), he appraises the past, he affirms or negates.The genealogist will attempt to understand his own motives and desires, fears and forebodings; his own situation within a specific historical context.The genealogist understands that the will to knowledge will never ‘achieve a universal truth’. History can never achieve absolute knowledge.15

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III

We can observe many similarities, in terms of heterogeneity and difference as guiding concepts, in The Archaeology of Knowledge and ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’, with Derrida’s poststructuralist writings of the late 1960s and early 1970s. A major difference is that Foucault evoked history as the scene of events and forces, with relatively little detailed attention to language and rhetoric.16 Probably the work by Foucault most discussed by historians when reflecting on the question of historical truth is an interview (conducted in Italian in 1976) called ‘Truth and Power’. Here, Foucault insists that the ‘history which bears and determines us has the form of a war rather than that of language’. We should talk, he says, about ‘relations of power, not relations of meaning’; we should refuse to analyse the ‘symbolic field’ or the ‘domain of signifying structures’.We should analyse history according to the intelligibility of struggles, of strategies and tactics; we should study genealogy, that is to say, relations of force.17 We should also study critically the historical search for truth, for truth is not ‘outside power, or lacking in power’.
Truth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint.And it induces regulated effects of power. Each society has its regime of truth, its ‘general politics’ of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned; the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true.

Foucault observes that there is in society a constant demand for truth, as much as for economic production and political power; truth is produced and transmitted under the control, ‘dominant if not exclusive’, of certain political or economic apparatuses, the university, army, writing, the media; it is the issue of a whole political debate and social confrontation, that which is usually referred to as ideological struggle.18 Croce had argued in his 1917 ‘History and Chronicle’ that the historian writes out of the interests of the present. In these formulations, Foucault is

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developing Croce’s perception in terms of a sociology of knowledge: what the historian does in searching for the truth of the past (what the historian is looking for, is anxious to understand, counts as worthy of research, selects for documents to study) is not beyond historical contextualising and explanation. We see no warrant in Foucault’s formulations to conclude that he believes there is no truth, that truth is only an effect of power. After all, he had spoken in ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’ of the genealogist possessing a ‘true historical sense’; he clearly feels that the genealogist will produce historical interpretations that reveal what he, Foucault, thinks are the decisive forces operating in history, its discontinuities and interruptions. He clearly feels that such genealogical interpretations have more truth-value than the interpretations of traditional history which in his view narrowly focus on the continuous, stable, and monumental. In ‘Truth and Power’, Foucault’s metaphors are often of war and confrontation. He opposes structuralism (‘I don’t see who could be more anti-structuralist than myself ’) because it reduces the intelligibility of history as conflict to the ‘calm Platonic form of language and dialogue’, avoiding history’s ‘violent, bloody and lethal character’.19 These writings and manifestoes of the late 1960s and 1970s proved inspiring and liberating for many historians. For those influenced by Marxist desires, concepts, and methods, it had seemed necessary to attempt total history, to relate everything to everything else, to explain the smallest event or phenomenon in the most global and evolutionary terms. Such historians anxiously felt that if they did not understand everything, they understood nothing. The particular had meaning only in reference to the general, yet the general was forbiddingly, impossibly, difficult to apprehend, understand, and write about. Now, Foucault gave permission to historians to conceive more modest aims, to trace and chart particular genealogies, to write specific histories of discrete discourses. Historians could again focus on instances, work stories around and from examples, and draw out meaning as they went. History could be decentred, and historians did not have to seek, pursue, and desire a master narrative. On the other hand, this was no return to the empiricist conception of history, for it was too conscious of the speaking position of the historian (at least in theory), too aware of the impossibility of a neutral or objective place from which to view the past, or write in the present.

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IV

There is a disjunction, though, as others have noted, between Foucault’s prescriptions and proscriptions for writing history and his own practice. Where his writing about the writing of history stresses the specific, the entangled, the contested and the discontinuous, his own histories written in the 1970s tell a different, a more totalising, story.20 The philosopher and theologian Michel de Certeau raised questions about the way Foucault in Discipline and Punish selectively chooses from the repertoires of power in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries certain panoptic procedures and then constitutes them as all-determining. What, de Certeau asks, happened to all the other procedures? The effect, he suggests, is to reduce the functioning of a whole society to a single, dominant type of disciplinarity. He also asks what apparatus might determine Foucault’s own discourse, and notes its various tactics for turning unusual quotations, exemplary stories, representational tableaux, and displays of erudition into convincing evidence.Through theoretical, narrative, and rhetorical art, Discipline and Punish itself became, de Certeau suspected, a ‘panoptical fiction’.21 We ask: How is that Foucault the theorist of fragmentation and discontinuity can seem so authoritarian, totalising, and controlling? How does Foucault’s own language and narrative work, to produce such effects? To answer this question, we examine in detail the rhetoric and use of metaphor in The History of Sexuality. Famously, Foucault opposes in The History of Sexuality (1976) what he terms the repressive hypothesis. After centuries of relatively open sexuality, this view hypothesises that the bourgeois order in the seventeenth century established the long age of repression of sexuality, which continues even now, seeking to make sex mute, silent, and restrained. Foucault questions the assumption of the repressive hypothesis that power has indeed worked during this time through prohibition, negation, and denial.What he will do instead, starting from ‘certain historical facts’, is define the ‘regime of power-knowledge-pleasure’ that sustains the ‘discourse on human sexuality in our part of the world’.22 In the introductory essay ‘The Incitement to Discourse’, Foucault constructs an alternative historical narrative for ‘these last three centuries’. When one looks back on them, he writes, what one sees is not censorship

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and prudishness but a ‘veritable discursive explosion’, a steady proliferation of discourses concerned with sex that in the eighteenth century became a ‘ferment’. Particularly important was the multiplication of sexual discourse in the field of the exercise of power itself; there was an ‘institutional incitement to speak about it’, more and more. The scope of the Catholic confession continually increased, to take in every aspect of the flesh: in this ‘new pastoral’, Foucault argues,‘everything had to be told’. Sex was taken charge of by a ‘discourse that aimed to allow it no obscurity, no respite’.23 Foucault’s critique of the repressive hypothesis is persuasive, and we might agree on the importance and influence of the Catholic confessional in inciting discourse about sex.Yet he uses metaphor and rhetoric to push his argument much further. In 1942 the philosopher of science Carl G. Hempel reflected that most explanations in history hope to suggest connections and acquire persuasive force by the use of terms such as hence, therefore, consequently, because, naturally, obviously, when such terms are not necessarily warranted by the argument.24 Foucault’s text provides an interesting example, when a rhetorical ‘therefore’ jumpstarts the narrative from early on, when his argument suddenly moves from positing the Catholic pastoral confession as a new historical development to claiming it as foundational, directive, and inclusive for all sexual discourse that follows.A particular (Catholic) genre has suddenly, by virtue of ‘therefore’, become the ruling discourse of ‘the West’. The Catholic pastoral confession then becomes the originary discourse of three centuries of proliferating speech and writing about sexuality, controlling its every expression, either official or anti-authoritarian, including writings like those of de Sade or the libertines generally that attempt to be scandalous. The ‘injunction’ to tell everything becomes a peculiarity of ‘the West’, and one can ‘plot a line going straight from the seventeenth-century pastoral to what became its projection in literature’. The confessional injunction, in terms of a centring image, becomes a ‘guiding principle’ that by the end of the nineteenth century had been ‘lodged in the heart of modern man for over two centuries’.25 Foucault also tells us that in the eighteenth century the emergence of population as an economic and political problem permitted an innovation in the techniques of power.Through the political economy of population there came about a ‘whole grid’ of observations concerning sex, a ‘whole web’ of discourses, linked to an intensification of power in the realms of pedagogy,

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medicine, and administration. In more metaphors of connection and linking, we find that these discourses were ‘interlocking, hierarchised, and all highly articulated around a cluster of power relations’.26 He suddenly tries to argue near the end that he is mindful that he is dealing not with a single discourse of sex but with multiplicity, scatterings, loosenings, diversity, dispersion. But by then it is far too late to roll back the totalising tide.27 In developing his argument about sexual discourse and power, sentences are often launched with phrases like:‘it would seem in actual fact’,‘the important point no doubt’, ‘the central figure’, ‘this is the essential thing’, ‘what is essential’,‘one can be fairly certain’,‘doubtless’,‘but this was undoubtedly’,‘so it was that our society’, and ‘above all else’.28 There is also a rhetoric of intentionality, in the assertion that for three centuries the discourse on sex of Western man was ‘meant to yield’ effects on desire itself. That is to say, not only for three centuries was there a single, dominating, and continuous discourse, but it was ‘meant’ to have the effects it apparently had; though meant by what or whom is left opaque, a threatening shadow on the landscape of argument. A further rhetorical strategy is to make a very few examples represent the linear master-narrative. In the ‘line’ that goes ‘straight’ from the seventeenthcentury pastoral to its ‘projection in literature’, the supporting examples are few indeed. In one paragraph alone we jump from an example of the Catholic confessional, to Sade, and then to the anonymous English author of My Secret Life at the end of the nineteenth century (of which ‘only a few copies’ were printed). Foucault’s text betrays an anxiety that such writings from the seventeenth century on might have applied to a ‘tiny elite’ only, but then rescues the analysis with the suggestion that they represent ideal behaviour for all. For the passage of the confessional imperative through the eighteenth century, a ‘few examples will suffice’.Ah, how often historical writing has had to call on a few examples that ‘will suffice’! In relation to secondary schooling in the eighteenth century, it appears ‘one only has to glance over’ something to see the controlling discourse in action: a ‘glance’ will do, along with the ‘vignette’ that appears soon after to ‘serve’ as a representative example.29 One of Foucault’s few examples for the nineteenth century is particularly disturbing to read and ponder. Foucault tells a story of a farmhand,‘somewhat simpleminded’, in the village of Lapcourt who one day in 1867 was turned in to the authorities. At the border of a field he had ‘obtained a few caresses

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from a little girl’, just as he had done before and been observed by the ‘village urchins’, for he was just playing a ‘familiar game’.The farmhand, whose name history records as Jouy, was pointed out by the girl’s parents to the mayor of the village, who reported the matter to the gendarmes, who turned him over to a doctor and then to two other medical experts, who wrote a report on Jouy and had it published. The ‘significant thing’ to note, says Foucault, was the original ‘pettiness of it all’, the ‘fact’ that ‘these inconsequential bucolic pleasures’ were an ‘everyday occurrence’ in the life of village sexuality. Until this moment ‘this village halfwit’ had been an ‘integral part of village life’. What had happened was an ‘everyday bit of theatre’, involving ‘timeless gestures’,‘barely furtive pleasures between simpleminded adults and alert children’. All that happened was that the simpleminded farmhand had given a ‘few pennies to the little girls for favours the older ones refused him’.Yet a ‘whole machinery’ of speechifying then caught Jouy, analysing and investigating him; he was acquitted of any crime, but shut away to the end of his life in a hospital, there to be studied as a ‘pure object of medicine and knowledge’. In this way the ‘poor Lorrainese peasant’ and the aristocratic English author of My Secret Life shared a ‘profound connection’, they were ‘bound’ together by the ‘polymorphous injunction’ that sex, be it refined or rustic, had to be put into words.30 For Foucault, the ‘significant thing about this story’ is that which he can assimilate to his meta-narrative.Yet there might be many significances in the events evoked, many things to notice, multiple and contradictory calls on our sympathies as contemporary readers.While we can sympathise with the farmhand in his life-long imprisonment, there is a disturbing lack of sensitivity in the narrator to issues of molestation and abuse.The village is perceived as an immemorial ‘integral’ whole under threat from recent, outside and hierarchical forces, the little girl’s parents, the teacher (representing the ‘institutions of knowledge and power’), the mayor, police, and medical authorities.The ‘little villagers’ are victims of an increasingly controlling history of discourse; there is a curious romancing of the margins, as if they and the farmhand were beyond any considerations of gender, power, and knowledge. The tone of ‘The Incitement to Discourse’ is close to the Christian confessional Foucault himself deplores: an ever-present note of priestly reproof, judgement, and classifying of intellectual sins, by a narrator who remains unseen. Though famously contemptuous of the way Enlightenment

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discourse on sex spoke in the name of morality and ‘rationality’, Foucault himself emerges here as the voice of ‘Western man’, of clarity of vision, of distant reason, impersonal, abstract and universal. His focus on relations of force, on power, in history – so productive a methodology in so many ways – seems to have led him to lack self-consciousness and self-questioning about the effects of rhetoric and metaphor in his own writing. As a result, The History of Sexuality is much less self-reflexive than one might have expected from the author of ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’, and much more like oldfashioned authoritative – Thucydidean – historical writing.31

V
In the latter decades of the twentieth century, the historian who did most to draw attention to the literary nature of historical texts was the American Hayden White, an expert in European intellectual history. In many essays and key books – Metahistory (1973), Tropics of Discourse (1978), The Content of the Form (1987), Figural Realism (1999) – he provocatively argued that historians inevitably write a certain kind of fiction, and he especially focussed on their narrative strategies and techniques, their uses of plot and character, voice and tone. Hayden White’s ideas were to prove both very attractive to, and deeply troubling for, historians. On the one hand he stimulated historians’ recognition that they actually wrote texts themselves, constructed narratives and analyses that were embedded in language and literary form. On the other, he was perceived as forgetting the referentiality of historical writing, its relation to the past or at least to its traces in the present. In ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’ (1974), White suggests that historians fail to recognise that they inevitably and unavoidably use fictional techniques to narrate the past. Creative writers are highly conscious of their techniques and narrative strategies, but historians seem to genuinely believe that they have found the form of their narrative in the events themselves. It is a fiction of the historian, says White, that the various states of affairs that they constitute as the beginning, the middle, and the end of a course of development are all actual or real and that they are merely recording what happened. In fact, both beginning and ending are poetic constructions chosen by the historian. Historians use a range of time-honoured narrative techniques:

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highlighting some details and subordinating others, repeating a symbol or motif, varying the tone and point of view to indicate the difference in perspective of different characters, and describing people and places in an interesting way. He shocked – and still shocks – many historians by insisting that the relationships between people or between events that appear to be inherent in the past have actually been imposed by the historian.32 Just as J.H. Hexter had insisted in ‘The Rhetoric of History’, so also White reminds historians that the literary aspects of what they do are crucial, not subsidiary, to the historical enterprise. In White’s view, historians not only use narrative technique to suggest relationships and bring logic to their stories; they also write within a quite limited number of narrative genres. Historians, he says, gain part of their explanatory effect by making stories through ‘emplotment’, the placing of ‘fact’ or ‘data’ found in the chronicle as components of specific kinds of plot structures. Readers only make sense of events within a recognisable genre, such as the tragic, comic, romantic, ironic, epic, or satire.When readers recognise to which genre a story belongs, they experience the effect of having the unfolding events in the story explained to them. Nevertheless, White contends, ‘most historical sequences can be emplotted in a number of different ways.’ Historical situations are ‘not inherently tragic, comic, or romantic’.A different genre will yield a different understanding or explanation of the past. White gives as an example Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire: what is tragic from one perspective is farcical from another. Figurative elements such as choice of metaphor also help constitute meaning. White called for historians to move to a ‘higher level of selfconsciousness’ in recognising the ‘literary or fictive element in every account’.33 In this essay White derived his notion of available genres from Northrop Frye, the North American literary critic whose influence peaked in the 1950s and early 1960s. Best known for Anatomy of Criticism (1957), Frye was associated with myth or archetype criticism, which flourished in answer to the then orthodox New Criticism. New Criticism took for its object of critical analysis the single self-contained (autotelic) poem, in all its complex internal relations, and ignored historical contexts and explanations. A poem, the New Critics said, should be understood in its own terms, and not as an expression of something external to it. Myth criticism presented itself as the alternative; it was highly ambitious, deploying in Frye’s words a ‘diagrammatic frame-

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work’ to construct literature as a vast system. A limited number of genres made up the system’s basic categories: comedy, romance, tragedy, irony, and satire. Each genre is held to possess an essential meaning; for example in tragedy the isolation of the hero, or in comedy the ‘integration of society’. Further, for Frye such genres and forms are, in Jungian terms, archetypes lodged in the collective unconscious.34 White’s originality was to extend Frye’s method to the analysis of historical as well as literary forms of writing. Like the literary text, the historical narrative is a story, a complex of symbols, an extended metaphor, figurative. In this sense, history is literature. In the following decades, White’s recognition of historical texts as texts contributed to the development of poststructuralist approaches to history.Yet White’s work is itself open to poststructuralist critique. In adopting from Frye the notion that there are agreed meanings, forms, genres, in literary language, his conception of genre and text derives more from structuralism than poststructuralism. Frye treated genres as frozen literary categories, with single essentialised meanings arranged in almost algebraic combinations. This limited number of genres was taken to represent or express a unified European or Western culture, whose centre was embedded in certain inherited genres from antiquity and Judeo-Christianity.35 White retained these aspects of Frye’s thought long after most literary critics had rejected them. By the late 1960s critics generally saw Frye’s approach as deterministic, denying any particular text its individuality, nuance, subtle difference, its own tone, rhythm, voice, grain, markings, and oddities. In the hands of myth criticism, texts became mere reflections of a metaphysical system, itself a reflection of some kind of European cultural essence.36 White’s attention to a multiplicity of genres was in any case a little misplaced, for most historical writing worked – wittingly or unwittingly – within only one genre. In its formative period in the nineteenth century, conventional historical writing drew on, and continued stubbornly to draw on throughout the twentieth century, the realist novel. This was a form in which the omniscient author/narrator told the story in such a way that only one point of view, one interpretation, was possible. While the tone might be satiric or ironic, light or dark, the genre was rarely tragedy, comedy, romance, irony, or satire, but simply realist prose mirroring the realist novel. It was not for nothing that Henry James had urged novelists to ‘speak with assurance,

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with the tone of the historian’.37 Modern professional historians from the nineteenth century on had a certain kind of realist prose style firmly in their grasp, and they were never going to easily entertain a notion that many genres were possible. White’s work touched off a whole specialist field, in which scholars analyse the literary and figurative narrative techniques that historians use.38 We see White as the major theorist in the latter twentieth century who entertained the foundational interest in Herodotus and Thucydides in shaping historical writing in terms of narrative and genre. In particular, he reprised Herodotus’ notion that history can be written in a number of different genres, and that many stories can be written about a past event, stories which can conflict and compete as historical truth.

VI
An alternative to Northrop Frye in literary and cultural theory and history was Mikhail Bakhtin (1895–1975). One of the most important cultural theorists and philosophers of the twentieth century, Bakhtin’s work came to the notice of Anglophone scholars in the 1970s. He had, however, written his work decades earlier. After participating as a young scholar in the intellectual ferment of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, debating prominent theories of the time – Russian Formalism, Freud, Marxism, the philosophy of language – Bakhtin published his path-breaking Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics in 1929. Arrested that year during a purge of Leningrad intellectuals, he remained in exile in various provincial towns for the rest of his working life. While he wrote many essays and books of fascinating and challenging literary and cultural history during these long decades away from the centres of Russian intellectual life, none could be published; some may have been lost forever. Young Soviet scholars began to take renewed interest in his work in the early 1960s; the Dostoevsky book was republished in 1963, and followed two years later by Rabelais and His World.Another landmark publication was the appearance of The Dialogic Imagination with its essays on the history of the novel. Translations of his work began to appear in France in the late 1960s, followed by English translations in the 1970s. By the 1980s, scholars internationally welcomed Bakhtin’s writings for their fruitful notions of the monologic,

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dialogic, polyphony, heteroglossia, chronotope, carnival and carnivalesque.39 Bakhtin’s concepts staged a drama between structure and indeterminacy, and singularity and plurality. No one principle could ever be pure in itself; it was always in a relationship with one or more others. In his notion of chronotope, the particular time-space configuration of any text, time and space could be related to particular conceptions of character as well as fate and destiny. His notion of heteroglossia embodied a tension in society, language, world and cosmos between all those (centripetal) forces which wish to structure, centre, and unite; and all those (centrifugal) forces which desire dispersal, and uncertainty. In sharp contrast to Frye, Bakhtin developed dynamic notions of genre, character, and dialogue. He stressed the long history of forms and genres, and how a genre uncannily remembers its own history. He saw genres, including popular genres like ancient romance, as fascinating in the possibilities for wide-ranging social, geographical, and mythological exploration they permitted. He revelled in fantastical genres, in literary excess, in extravagant narratives, in aesthetic extremes. Genres from long ago to the present are always interacting with each other – borrowing, reworking, parodying. Genres, that is to say, are always hybridising, to create new genres and subgenres, new literary and cultural developments. Genres are unpredictably conflictual, contested and contesting, unstable, mixing and innovating in surprising ways. Hexter in ‘The Rhetoric of History’ had raised for historians the perennial problem of characterisation. Had he known Bakhtin’s work, it may have assisted him to develop an approach to character useful for historians. Bakhtin considered the many ways characters might be textually represented. Sometimes characters are fixed (as in the hero and heroine of ancient romances, or figures like the clown, trickster, rogue, crank, the forerunners of modern figures like the detective) and the interest lies in the narrative excitements, complications, dangers and perils into which they have entered. Sometimes characters such as the rogue, crank, fool, and trickster are important as outsider figures, needed to provide a fresh, amused, bemused, questioning sceptical eye. At other times, in narratives ancient and modern, characters go through various transformations and metamorphoses. For conventional literary critics, the novel culminated in the nineteenthcentury realist novel, the novel of psychological study of character. Historians

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have tacitly agreed, attempting to create their historical actors as psychologically coherent individuals. Bakhtin, however, was critical of this essentialised conception of character. He made an important distinction between two kinds of novel, the polyphonic or dialogic and the monologic. In the dialogic novel, there is a play of voices, where each character represents a different troubled worldview, and where the clash of characters, and therefore of different worldviews, is never finalised or completed. The monologic novel insists, by contrast, on one pervading set of values. For Bakhtin the dialogic and the monologic novel were ideal types, different bookends (as it were) of a continuum; and he recognised that in any one novel there would be competition and mixing between them. Bakhtin’s theory of the polyphonic and his conception of the way very different kinds of characters are constructed in different genres made available to history a sophisticated approach to the literary aspects of historical texts. He helps us, for example, to clarify what it is in some of Foucault’s writing that leads towards the authoritative narrative. In the story of the farmhand Jouy, there is in Bakhtin’s terms no diversity of viewpoints. The various characters do not become relatively free figures with their own independent discursive presence, capable of answering the author/narrator back. Instead, there is a monolithically monologic narrative, where each historical character is given a total finalised meaning.40 One historian to make good use of Bakhtin is Dominick LaCapra.41 In ‘Reading Marx:The Case of The Eighteenth Brumaire’, for example, he argues against the usual view that Marx was preoccupied with processes and modes of production. He urges attention to the importance of Marx’s rhetoric and style, and suggests that, with Bakhtin’s notion of carnivalesque in mind, it is possible to see Marx in a new light. The intense polemical invective of The Eighteenth Brumaire creates a carnivalesque mode of parody. Not only that, but such performative use of language suggests that for Marx, ‘in a transformed society, parody and other carnivalizing forces would not disappear’. The utopian future for Marx could include not only transformed relations of production, but also a regenerative carnivalesque culture and language, already created in the ‘almost Rabelaisian exuberance of Marx’s writing’: an exuberance which is not merely critical or destructive, which is not narrowly didactic, which exceeds the desire to gain full mastery over an object, and which might encourage ambivalence and uncertainty.42

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VII

Foucault proved inspiring for the development and flourishing of postcolonial theory in the latter twentieth century. In the same year as Hayden White’s Tropics of Discourse appeared, 1978, Edward Said noted in the introduction to his great work Orientalism: ‘I have found it useful here to employ Michel Foucault’s notion of a discourse, as described by him in The Archaeology of Knowledge and in Discipline and Punish, to identify Orientalism.’ Foucault’s notion of discourse, Said suggests, helps us understand the ‘enormously systematic discipline by which European culture was able to manage – and even produce – the Orient politically, sociologically, militarily, ideologically, scientifically, and imaginatively’ during the post-Enlightenment period of the nineteenth century and then into the twentieth, the period particularly of English and French imperial power. The discourse of Orientalism, Said noted, also produced the Orient erotically, the Orient as scene of sensuality and splendour mixed with despotism, violence and cruelty. By such means, Said reflects, European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a ‘sort of surrogate and even underground self ’. Said qualifies his use of Foucault in one important respect. Where Foucault believes that the individual text or author counts for very little when discussing a discourse, Said considers that individual writers left their ‘determining imprint’, and accordingly he will employ ‘close textual readings’ to reveal the interweavings of individual text or author and Orientalism as a complex collective discursive formation.43 We agree with Said’s critical qualification here, and as we note in our introduction, we also have tried to follow such a working rule in this book. Yet Orientalism also contrasts with Foucault’s writings in another way: Foucault conceived ‘Europe’ as a self-enclosed entity. The interactions between metropolitan societies in Europe and the colonies and empires they established around the world and sought to subdue, govern, manage and gain vast wealth from, held no or little evident theoretical interest for him.44 In his interest in the hubris of empires, the deprivations of freedom colonialism entailed, anti-colonial desires and actions, the disaster that empire can bring upon the home society in terms of ethical deterioration and willingness to wage war, Said is writing less in a Foucauldian than in the expansive spirit of Herodotus and Thucydides. He also wrote as an outsider and exile, taking

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advantage, as they had done, of the enabling perspectives of the outsider and exile. Said also does not share Foucault’s dark view of the Enlightenment, as scene of ever-expanding control of mind, body, and soul by various discourses, and instead wrote affectionately of a late Enlightenment literary and cultural history that was open to the Orient, less desiring to control and regulate, more fluid and self-questioning; a welcome contrast to nineteenthcentury Orientalist discourse.45 In Said’s view, only certain great writers of the nineteenth century (like Flaubert and Nerval) retain the more generous and hospitable notions of the Enlightenment.46 He drew attention to the ‘sheer folly and derangement stirred up by the Orient in Europe’, the ‘disorienting aspects of the European experience in the East’:‘What they saw and felt about the Orient in many cases literally took their minds.’47 Said commented critically that Foucault became the scribe of domination, of an overemphasis on the systematic.48 In terms of intellectual personalities we consider in this book, Said can be compared not only to Foucault but also to earlier figures like Nietzsche and Croce, always willing to scandalise, to criticise ruling power, to oppose the state. In this sense, Said is as like Herodotus and Thucydides and as unlike Leopold von Ranke, as possible.

VIII
The relationship between historians and the state was also a major concern of the Subaltern Studies group of historians, who wrote mainly on Indian history, in the 1980s and 1990s. Originally Marxists, but also influenced by Said, these historians were increasingly attracted to, and also significantly contributed to, the development of poststructuralist approaches to history. Through the journal Subaltern Studies, with Ranajit Guha a leading figure from its foundation in 1982 until his leaving the role of editor in 1988, they wrote in opposition to major schools in Indian historiography – one, emanating especially from Cambridge, seeing the Indian national movement as the work of a tiny British-educated elite, and the other, a nationalist school, taking the perspective of the nationalist movement itself. Guha, especially, sought ways to understand the history of the non-elites, the people, the

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peasants, in a way that did not see them as simply by-products of the actions of elites, whether British or Indian.As Dipesh Chakrabarty points out, Guha’s search for an anti-elitist approach had much in common with the English ‘history from below’ approaches of the British Marxist historians like Christopher Hill, E.P. Thompson, and E.J. Hobsbawm. Yet he differed from those historians in understanding peasant rebellions, with their strong grounding in popular religious and supernatural belief, not as ‘prepolitical’ (as Hobsbawm had argued in relation to European social bandits and ‘primitive’ peasant revolts ) but as a specific kind of politics.49 In the search for methods for understanding Indian peasant rebellion, the Subaltern Studies group looked increasingly to the work of Foucault and Derrida. Foucauldian conceptions of power would help the group to disengage from Marxist approaches which saw the operations of power as directly dependent on the operations of capital. Their focus on practices as a clue to consciousness (in the virtual absence of direct evidence, since peasants so rarely left documentary records of their own) meant developing new techniques for reading the archives: asking in Foucauldian fashion how the archives came to be produced, and analysing in Derridean deconstructive fashion their textual character in detail.50 The emphasis on close textual reading of the archive thus brought these hitherto largely Marxist historians to their own linguistic turn. The turn to poststructuralism in the Subaltern Studies group led to a range of writing on the nature of history in the 1990s. Gyan Prakash pondered what histories of India and other countries of the ‘third world’ might look like in the light of Said’s analysis of Orientalism, and hoped for ‘a new third world historiography that will resist both nativist romanticization and Orientalist distancing’.51 In similar spirit Gyanendra Pandey was critical of various tendencies in Indian history: its frequently adopting the view and perspective of the nation-state; its emphasis on ‘complex, long-term historical processes’ which left little room for human agency, and which made assumptions about the essential nature of ‘the people’; its reduction of ‘the lives of men and women to the play of material interests’, all another way of leaving the people ‘outside history’. He challenged nationalist historiography’s privileging of the general over the particular, the larger over the smaller, and the mainstream over the marginal. He also criticised historians’ reliance on official sources, and advocated the use of fragments – ‘a weaver’s diary, a

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collection of poems by an unknown poet’. Methodologically, he urged the importance of historians’ acknowledging more than they do the provisionality of their statements, their own location in a specific context, and ‘consequently their privileging of particular forms of knowledge’.52 In the same issue of Representations, Dipesh Chakrabarty’s essay, ‘Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History: Who Speaks for “Indian” Pasts?’ was also concerned by Indian historiography’s continuing imbrication with the perspectives of the nation-state, but saw this as arising from a deeper and more general problem. Lévi-Strauss had described history thirty years earlier as an inevitably Western system of thought. Now Chakrabarty saw it as more specifically implicated in ‘Europe’ and ‘modernity’. ‘Europe’, he wrote, ‘remains the sovereign, theoretical subject of all histories, including the ones we call “Indian,” “Chinese,” “Kenyan,” and so on’. By ‘Europe’ he meant not the geo-political entity we call Europe, but rather that imaginary figure loosely related to it from which we generalise about modernity and its history. He makes the telling point that third-world historians ‘feel a need to refer to works in European history; historians of Europe do not feel any need to reciprocate’. Furthermore, those working on European histories can ignore non-Western histories without damaging the quality of their work;‘a gesture, however, that “we” cannot return’. This is not a matter of cultural arrogance on the one hand or cultural cringe on the other, but rather arises from the nature of the discipline itself; there is, he suggests, a ‘deep collusion between “history” and the modernizing narrative(s) of citizenship’. History is embedded in the nation-state and its history; a ‘critical historian has no choice but to negotiate this knowledge’.53 Chakrabarty advocated a project of ‘provincializing “Europe”’, a phrase which was to touch a chord with many historians of societies outside Europe searching for new ways to bend their discipline to the task of writing histories of peoples who did not see the world in a ‘European’ way. In doing so, he sought neither cultural relativism nor the rejection of (inevitably European) modernity; he did not want ‘atavistic, nativist histories’. We are stuck, he said, with ‘European’ modernity, and acknowledged as well that the rhetoric and claims of citizenship rights within a sovereign nation-state, a European influence, have often empowered marginal social groups. What historians could do was (in Foucauldian fashion) trace how European experience came to be seen as universal, both through the operations of European

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imperialism and the complicity of national movements. Yet, he warned, the project of ‘provincializing Europe’, though a necessary one, is also bound to fail; Europe’s foundational presence in historiographical practice is inescapable. In a more pessimistic version of Pandey’s emphasis on historians foregrounding the framework of knowledge within which they worked, Chakrabarty suggests that historians at least make visible, within the very structure of their chosen narrative forms, history’s inescapably ‘repressive strategies and practices’.54

IX
By the late twentieth century, while realism was still pervasive as historians’ chosen genre, and while uncertain where they stood on the more theoretical debates about history and language, discourse, and subjectivity, many historians had absorbed from the discussion of postmodernism a new interest in form.This was none too soon: as Lionel Gossman pointed out in ‘History and Literature: Reproduction or Signification’ (1978), historians in the late twentieth century were still doggedly writing in a nineteenth-century tradition. Whereas in literature under the influence of modernism a focus had long been to push outward the limits of language, historical texts continued to ‘recount calmly events and situations located in the past as though the “age of suspicion” had never dawned’. Gossman lamented that historians were still in the main clinging to a transparent notion of writing remote from the way most other writers thought about their craft.55 As we have seen, even Foucault, the theorist of discontinuity and genealogy, wrote in a traditional monologic authoritative way. Yet Gossman’s complaint came just as things were changing. The influence of postmodernism and postcolonial theory meant a return and resurgence of the Herodotean delight in storytelling, of stories which at the same time offered competing and conflicting interpretations and explanations. The 1980s and 1990s would become a kind of Herodotean period of extended thinking about history as literary form; and of historians engaging in literary experimentation in imaginative and innovative ways. Historians were becoming increasingly interested in finding new ways of writing – especially micro-narratives, multiple points of view, and also

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fragmentation, montage, and genre-crossing. Conversely, many writers of fiction were turning to history, plundering historical records and the works of historians to create historical fictions. In some they blended invented characters with real historical figures, ascribing to the latter entirely invented actions and words and speeches.The boundaries between history and fiction that had held, more or less, for a century and a half were being breached. In his celebrated 1991 essay, ‘History of Events and the Revival of Narrative’, Peter Burke reported on and encouraged further development of the experimental in form and technique. Burke was interested in attempts to represent directly competing or alternative points of view, and perhaps avoiding the idea of the single narrator altogether. Invoking Bakhtin’s notion of heteroglossia, or multivocality, he suggested that multi-voiced story telling would ‘allow an interpretation of conflict in terms of a conflict of interpretations’.56 He explored various kinds of narrative modes that might prove useful for historians: foregrounding the fact of narration, alternative endings, unreliable first-person narrators, and non-chronological narration through a variety of techniques, drawn from novels and film. He drew attention to the rise of micro-narratives or micro-histories, the telling of a story about ‘ordinary people in their local setting’, akin to ‘thick description’ (Clifford Geertz’s tireless phrase). Historians of French and Italian history had, Burke noted, developed the art of micro-history to a high level. He instanced Carlo Cipolla’s Cristofano and the Plague (which, using emergency health officer Cristofano Ceffini’s journal, told of a devastating plague in Prato, Tuscany, in 1629–31), and Natalie Zemon Davis’ The Return of Martin Guerre, which used court and other records to tell the story of a sixteenth-century farmer whose identity is assumed by an impostor.57 Through use of official and especially legal sources, historians seemed to have found a way to narrate the lives and thoughts of the relatively unknown, the ordinary and powerless people of the past. Particularly famous instances of the genre were Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms (1976) and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s Montaillou (1978).58 Burke regarded Jonathan Spence’s The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1982) as an exemplary micro-narrative; an acccount of the origins and development of the Chinese Revolution from 1895 to 1980, the book is built round a small number of individuals, a scholar, a soldier-academic, some writers, who did not play a leading part in the events of the revolution. For Burke, Spence’s

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method is an example of what the Hungarian critic Georg Lukács had called the focus on the mediocre hero in Walter Scott’s historical novels. Burke stressed more generally how much historians had to learn, in terms of narrative form, from novelists and filmmakers. They could emulate the early twentieth-century moderns like James Joyce, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf, with their decomposing of temporal continuity. They could look for inspiration to Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza (1936), a novel that is determinedly non-chronological. They could look to novelists like William Faulkner and Lawrence Durrell who tell their stories from more than one viewpoint. Or they could learn from film how to play with chronology and multiple points of view while still maintaining a sense of historical sequence, through techniques such as montage, flashbacks, and flashforwards. Burke mentions the film versions of The Return of Martin Guerre and Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers. Historians could, perhaps, write history backwards, as Norman Davies had done in Heart of Europe (1984), a history of Poland which started with the post World War II period, and moved back, chapter by chapter, through to earlier times. Burke suggested experiments, influenced in part by his reading of Hayden White, such as offering alternative endings, along the lines of John Fowles’ novel, The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The historian might give the reader a number of endings according to the date chosen to end the story; a narrative history of World War I ending in 1919 will give a different impression from one ending in 1933 or 1939. Alternative endings, Burke suggested, could make the work more ‘open’ in the sense of encouraging readers to reach their own conclusions.59 Some historians took up the challenge. John Demos, for example, concludes his The Unredeemed Captive (1995) with three ‘different endings’.60 Burke also drew attention to Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon, probably the best-known example of the use of multiple viewpoints.61 Based on the stories ‘Rashomon’ and ‘In a Grove’ by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, the film tells the story of the rape of a woman and the murder of a man entirely through the accounts of several narrators (an eyewitness, a bandit, the raped woman, and the dead man, told through a medium).The frame story is set at the crumbling once-great Rashomon gate in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, where several people shelter from a storm, and discuss the recent crime. In the different tellings, many elements are shared but there is also a great deal that is different, indeed irreconcilable.The viewer is left to decide for him or

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herself what happened. The film’s evocation of the importance of point of view and the impossibility of determining what actually happened was so powerful that ‘Rashomon’ or ‘Rashomon-effect’ entered the language to denote incompatible accounts and memories.62 In terms of multiple points of view, Burke admired Richard Price’s then just-published Alabi’s World (1990), which is indeed an innovative and remarkable text. A study of early eighteenth-century Suriname in northern South America, Alabi’s World presents its narrative through different voices (the Samarakas, the ex-African slaves, the Dutch colonial officials, the German Moravian missionaries), each voice with its own typeface. In the prologue, Price writes that the ‘fourth and controlling voice’ is his own, that of the ethnographic historian. Price says he wishes to return to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century travel literature, with their narratives and description, rather than reproduce any usual authoritative ethnographic mode. He would like to decentre the narrative, to ‘fragment the power of the author’s inevitable authority’, though he also recognises that his voice as author is ‘always present, even when just off-stage’.63 In Bakhtinian fashion, Price as author acts as organiser and participant in the play of conflicting positions and voices, but without retaining for himself the final word.64 Postmodernism also influenced another method of destabilising the authoritative narrator – to focus on historians’ inevitable lack of omniscience, the difficulty in knowing much at all about the thoughts and passions of the people of the past. Rather than present a narrative which seemed to know everything, some historians were attracted to the idea that they should more openly foreground what they did not know, and their own processes of trying to decipher and decide what might have happened. Such an approach reintroduces the historian as a first-person narrator in his or her own text, established as a detective figure attempting to work out from the (incomplete and sometimes contradictory) evidence what may have happened in the past. In an experimental work not discussed by Burke, Mirror in the Shrine (1988), Robert Rosenstone foregrounded his involvement in the stories he was telling, creating a character called ‘the biographer’ who might complain of the problems involved in writing the book. Creating a quizzical distance between himself as author and the narrator on the page was, we can add, long familiar in non-realist literary history: in the nineteenth century from Scott’s Ivanhoe (1819) to Bram Stoker’s Gothic Dracula (1897) to Henry James’ The Turn of

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the Screw (1898) and thence into literary modernism and postmodernism. Rosenstone himself says he looked to novelists like Gabriel Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Italo Calvino, and Milan Kundera.65 At one point, talking of a young American in Japan,William Elliot Griffis, the biographer quotes from some diary entries and letters, then comments:
There it is, the whole story. Or at least all the available evidence.We are at the mercy of a single firsthand report from a witness who can hardly be neutral, one who already bent evidence on similar sensitive issues – drinking, Sunday parties, prostitution. How we wish for more … What we want are those lost, secret moments …

Sometimes the author seems to be chiding himself:
Don’t leave the impression that this is all, that you now know Griffis in Tokyo. Remember everything he sees, hears, smells and feels, but never commits to paper; remember all those other details you have no space to capture. And how about the experiences that don’t quite fit in, those odd moments, those important images that can suggest more than words?

In relation to another of his subjects in Japan, the biographer admonishes: ‘don’t overdo the artistic sense, the poetry, the wandering.And don’t exaggerate his sense of leisure.’66 Towards the end, he admits to the difficulties of bringing a history to a close: ‘How to conclude?’67 Certain forms of experimentation Burke thought were ‘best avoided by historians’, including invented speech and ‘the inventions of someone’s stream of consciousness’.68 Yet, despite Burke’s misgivings, some historians showed a new willingness to speculate on how historical personages may have talked in various situations, to the delight of some and the consternation of others. At one point in The Unredeemed Captive, Demos imagines a character, John Williams, making an angry speech: ‘Perhaps,’ Demos says, ‘it goes something like this’, and then he hazards what Williams might have said.69 Such speeches and dialogue recall Thucydides’ set-speeches and invented dialogue. The 1980s and 1990s were indeed a time of great literary experimentation in historical writing. How it came to an abrupt end, or at least dwindled to a trickle, will be the story of the following chapter.

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CHAPTER 10

AntiPostmodernism and the Holocaust

The cry goes up that one is murdering history whenever, in a historical analysis – and especially if it is concerned with thought, ideas, or knowledge – one is seen to be using in too obvious a way the categories of discontinuity and difference … One will be denounced for attacking the inalienable rights of history and the very foundations of any possible historicity. (Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge)1

Some historians found the effervescent Herodotean mood of literary experimentation and adventurous risk-taking of the 1980s and 1990s disturbing and dangerous.They feared the discipline would be killed, and disappear entirely. These opponents crossed all usual boundaries; they included Marxists, feminists, ‘anti-theory’ ‘working historians’, ex-Marxists turned conservative, and die-hard positivists. In the course of mounting a critique of postmodernism, many of these varied opponents defended the idea of a single knowable truth about the past. A ‘Rankean’ empiricism and faith in objectivity was reasserted with a vigour unseen for many decades, not since the cold war. Yet these rejoinders of the 1990s and 2000s also took on board a good deal of the postmodern spirit of self-reflection, literary experiment, and anti-determinism.

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I

One group of historians strongly opposed to postmodernism and the linguistic turn was the Marxists; they recognised that Marxism, with its traditional emphasis on structures and determination and notions of totality, was being foundationally challenged and perhaps displaced. In Descent into Discourse (1990), the Marxist labour historian Bryan Palmer, based at Queen’s University in Canada, offered one of the first book-length responses. He saw the interest in language and discourse as a ‘drift toward idealism’ and a ‘movement away from materialism’. Critical theory, he felt, ‘is no substitute for historical materialism; language is not life’. His point was to reassert the importance of understanding ideas in their social, material, and class context. Palmer’s book title suggests an all-out assault on the linguistic turn, so that it was quite a surprise when we actually came to read it that it frequently has a very moderate even-handed tone. It is true that at times Palmer lets fly with statements like, ‘Much writing that appears under the designer label of poststructuralism/postmodernism is, quite bluntly, crap, a kind of academic wordplaying’, but this is his discussion of what he sees as the extremes of postmodernism rather than his actual case against it.2 Yet Palmer’s preference for historical materialism over postmodernism seems in the end to be just that, a preference. Palmer does not effectively challenge the methodology of the linguistic turn in history so much as worry about its political implications. Much more determined critiques were to follow.

II
In Telling the Truth about History (1994), Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob set out to explain the strengths and weaknesses of postmodernism and the linguistic turn for the history profession.All three were history professors at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA),3 Appleby a specialist in early modern Europe and the United States, Hunt an expert on the French Revolution, cultural history, and historiography, and Jacob a historian of science. Directed at an American student audience, and subsequently one of the most commonly used texts in courses on history and historiography, Telling the Truth about History argued strongly against postmodern

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approaches to the question of historical truth. Postmodernists, it announced in ad hominem fashion, are ‘deeply disillusioned intellectuals who denounce en masse Marxism and liberal humanism, communism and capitalism’ (p.206). They have attacked ‘the very foundations of historical and scientific knowledge’ (p.200) through denying ‘our ability to represent reality in any objectively true fashion’ (p.208).Above all, they abandon truth: Foucault made ‘truth nothing more than the will to power within discourse’, while Derrida questioned the enterprise of seeking truth altogether (p.213).Against the economic determinism of Marxists and others, postmodernists have simply offered a new kind of determinism – ‘linguistic determinism’, reducing ‘the social and natural world to language’ (p.230). Against the meta-narratives or master narratives they criticise – the idea of progress, nationalism, modernism, Marxism, and liberalism – postmodernists have unwittingly developed a master narrative of their own (pp.236–7). Rejecting the absolutism of the nineteenth-century belief in objective science, they ignore the dangers of inventing a new relativist and subjectivist absolutism (p.247). Yet Telling the Truth about History is a curious text. Despite these forceful denunciations of postmodernists and the linguistic turn, it makes many concessions. The authors see the growing interest in cultural history, which had diverse sources including postmodernism, as assisting a laudable disengagement from Marxism and other forms of economic and social reductionism (p.230).4 They take the postmodernist point that historians’ use of omniscient narration hides historians’ own interests, partiality, and perspective, and welcome the fact that historians influenced by the linguistic turn have ‘alerted an unwary public, as well as their peers, to how the different perspectives of historians enter into their books’ (p.246). They acknowledge, in the Crocean tradition, that the historian ‘is stuck in time present, trying to make meaningful and accurate statements about time past’ (p.253); curiosity about the past derives from the preoccupations of the present (p.265), and the traces of the past ‘never speak for themselves’ (p.255). And they sound mightily like Hayden White when they agree that ‘the flow of time does not have a beginning, middle, and end; only stories about it do’ (p.263). So much does Telling the Truth about History concede to postmodernism and the linguistic turn that the authors’ hostility seems just a little odd. If this is anti-postmodernism, then the postmodernists have won some major victories indeed. Telling the Truth about History seeks, in fact, a position more

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influenced by postmodernism and its Crocean antecedents than its authors seem to realise. It advocates a limited notion of objectivity, one which recognises the importance of present perspectives, and (sounding very like Carr or Collingwood) suggests using this self-understanding to ‘probe the past with imagination’ (p.269). Common standards, it argues, can be developed by communities of scholars which enable us ‘to discriminate between valid and invalid assertions’, but it also recognises that these standards themselves are historically created and specific (p.283). Telling the Truth about History is an ambivalent text, revealing perhaps an awkward moment in the debate among historians over postmodernism and the linguistic turn.

III
The most important English attempt to assess the value of postmodernism for history was Richard J. Evans’ In Defence of History (1997).5 An English historian specialising in German history, Evans brings to a high level the art of sounding (and sometimes being) even-handed while engaging in a variety of merciless attacks. In Defence of History devotes a great deal of time and argument condemning postmodernists like Patrick Joyce, Keith Jenkins, Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth, Diane Purkiss, Sande Cohen, and others, while also including an almost obsessive discussion of and attack on that extreme positivist, Geoffrey Elton. Indeed, this is another curious contribution to the debate. Like the authors of Telling the Truth about History, Evans thinks some of the effects of postmodernism on history have been positive. Like them he welcomes postmodernism’s offering ‘a way out of the impasse into which social determinism, above all in its Marxist variants, had run by the beginning of the 1990s’ (p.243), and its concomitant drawing attention to the individual, especially the little-known individual (p.189). Postmodernism has done nothing less than restore individual human beings to history (p.248).And he is quite happy with the literary experimentation generated by postmodernism’s impact on history: he thinks that as a result of the influence of the social sciences most history books had become ‘hopelessly unreadable’ (p.70), and he largely welcomes the work of Simon Schama, Natalie Zemon Davis, and Robert Darnton. He is also pleased by the way the influence of Foucault and others has led to the opening up of new historical subjects previously thought trivial

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or insignificant, and the revitalising of others, like the history of royalty, that had become old and tired (p.243). In these terms, we can say that Evans is welcoming the manifold ways the postmodernists and poststructuralists reintroduced the Herodotean into historical writing. Yet the book was not called In Defence of History for nothing. In relation to the ordinary practices of historians, Evans was very defensive in response to critiques from Foucault, Hayden White, Roland Barthes, and others. Historians did not need these theorists, he said, to tell them to read their sources ‘against the grain’; such readings have ‘been the stock-in-trade of the profession for a very long time’ (p.81). He is especially critical of Barthes’ charge that historians’ techniques such as quotation and footnotes were simply devices designed to produce a ‘reality effect’ (p.94). Nor did Evans accept that historians have usually written in an omniscient style. ‘Historical writing’, he says, ‘makes a point of conveying the provisional and uncertain nature of interpretation’ (p.109). Even if it didn’t, this would not be a problem, since readers are not taken in: ‘In practice, surely, no reader comes to a history book naïvely willing to believe everything it says’ (p.107). Nor are historians as naïve as postmodernists suggest: ‘Every historian is aware of the complexity of the facts, their irreducibility to a single linear narrative’ (p.143). And: ‘No historians really believe in the absolute truth of what they are writing, simply in its probable truth’ (p.219). Historians have long been aware of different forms of historical time, and have been willing to disrupt chronology in their narratives. Evans refers to examples of writing history backwards, such as F.W. Maitland’s Domesday and Beyond (1897), much older, he points out, than those Peter Burke had noticed (p.152). We share some of Evans’s irritation with those postmodern scholars who pronounce in a rather lordly fashion about what historians do and do not do. Yet surely the postmodern critics had a significantly greater point than Evans allowed. Far too many histories do not exhibit the self-consciousness and caution Evans is here claiming they do. Evans reserved his major attack, however, for versions of postmodernism which he sees as denying that anything at all can be learnt from primary sources, from documents. While agreeing that ‘the same document can be legitimately used as evidence for a variety of purposes by different historians’ (p.83), it does not follow that a document is open to an infinity of readings or meanings (p.106). Curiously, Evans does not indicate just who he thinks

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argues that there is an infinite number of valid readings of sources. He repeats the misunderstanding of Derrida we have critiqued in chapter 7, that since we apprehend the world through language,‘everything’ (in Evans’ words) ‘was a text’ (p.95), but he does not support his criticism by engaging with relevant Derrida texts. He claims that Foucault ‘saw truth and knowledge as the products not of cognition but of power’, with the result that ‘if one version of the past was more widely accepted than others, this was not because it was nearer the truth, or conformed more closely to “the evidence”, but because its exponents had more power within the historical profession, or within society in general, than its critics’ (pp.195–6).Yet once more the reader looks in vain for detailed discussion of the relevant Foucault texts. Evans is especially critical of the (supposed postmodernist) idea that different histories have equal validity, and that different histories can be distinguished from one another only on moral, political, or aesthetic grounds, and not on their greater or lesser approximation to the actual past (pp.100–1). Here he actually quotes from someone, Hayden White, yet in the passage indented for inspection,White is making a distinction between the historical record, and the meaning historians might give to it. Evans himself, however, has agreed (p.83) that ‘the same document can be legitimately used as evidence for a variety of purposes by different historians’. Nevertheless, in Evans’ view – and here is something of a ‘group view’ among the anti-postmodernists – postmodern history exhibits an extreme relativism which leaves the door open to fascist or racist views of history, with no way of saying these ideas are false: ‘Total relativism provides no objective criteria by which fascist or racist views of history can be falsified’ (p.239). Consequently, postmodernism paved the way for Holocaust denialism. The ‘increase in scope and intensity of the Holocaust deniers’ activities since the mid-1970s’ reflects the ‘postmodernist intellectual climate’ (pp.238–41). What Evans means by ‘objective criteria’ surfaces again in a very odd moment in his next book.

IV
Evans was soon to confront the question of history, truth, objectivity and the Holocaust in a more direct fashion when, two months after his book

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appeared, he agreed to act as an expert historical adviser in a legal case involving David Irving, a historian of World War II who by this time had become a Holocaust denier. For many opponents of postmodernism, Holocaust denial had for some time seemed to be the ultimate test and disproof of postmodernist ideas about history.The charge was not that postmodernists themselves denied the Holocaust, but that they had removed the ground for proving the denialists wrong. As Deborah Lipstadt put it, deconstructionists had ‘created an atmosphere of permissiveness toward questioning the meaning of historical events and made it hard for its proponents to assert that there was anything “off limits” for this skeptical approach’.6 By the end of the twentieth century, Holocaust history and Holocaust denial had become litmus tests for historical theory and method, and especially for public debate over and awareness of many of the issues explored in this book.7 The issues were explored in a collection edited by Saul Friedländer, Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution (1992).8 Hayden White, in his chapter entitled ‘Historical Emplotment and the Problem of Truth’, argued that it was not the events of the Holocaust that were in dispute but rather the form and nature of their narration, thus making a distinction between ‘a specific body of factual “contents”’ on the one hand, and historical narratives on the other.9 There were a number of replies, some intemperate, others sympathetically critical.Two of the most thoughtful came from Martin Jay and Dominick LaCapra. In ‘Of Plots, Witnesses, and Judgments’, Jay expressed surprise at White’s unwillingness ‘to efface the boundary’ between the facts or events of history and their narrative representation, since the former are not accessible other than through documents which have their own linguistic mediation or figural signification. He suggests replacing White’s unsatisfactory fact/narrative distinction with one between first and second order narratives, between which there is a process of negotiation; between the two there will always be incongruence, to which historians can draw attention. Jay points out that historical judgments are not made individually, but rather by historians as a collectivity, ‘trying to convince each other about the plausibility of their reconstructions’.10 Dominick LaCapra also saw a process of negotiation, or as he put it in a favourite Mikhail Bakhtin term, dialogic exchange. In ‘Representing the Holocaust: Reflections on the Historians’ Debate’ he argued that far from providing a case for a return to positivism and ‘narrowly empirical-analytical inquiry’, as many were suggest-

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ing, the Holocaust exposed their limits. The historian, he said, is necessarily engaged in a ‘dialogic exchange with the past’, and is always negotiating, in a psychoanalytic sense, ‘transferable relations’ with the object of study. The distinctiveness of the Holocaust is that it ‘presents the historian with transference in the most traumatic form conceivable’.11 It confronts historians with the importance and difficulty of their work. Yet the Holocaust denialists had presented a particular challenge to historiographical debate. Where were the distinctions to be drawn between legitimate alternative views, ideologically driven (unconscious) distortion, and outright lies and fabrication? David Irving brought the debates to a head in September 1996 when he filed a lawsuit against Deborah Lipstadt for defamation. Her book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (1993), had provided a detailed history of denialism since World War II. Though Irving was not one of her main targets, she did recount how he became a denier in the late 1980s, convinced by ‘evidence’ that it was chemically and physically impossible for the Germans to have gassed Jews on a significant scale. Irving, she wrote, was a Hitler admirer and apologist who argued that Hitler did not know about the Final Solution until October 1943 or later, distorting facts and misrepresenting data in order to reach this conclusion. She described Irving as ‘one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial’, and as someone who bent historical evidence until it conformed to his ‘ideological leanings and political agenda’. Irving and other deniers, she said, used a double standard for evidence, demanding absolute proof for establishing Nazi guilt and only circumstantial evidence by which to condemn the Allies.12 One of Lipstadt’s main points was to alert her readers to the failures in the United States of universities and the society at large in rejecting denialist versions of history. Belief in freedom of speech and hearing all sides of a story had given the deniers audiences they did not warrant. They had been so successful in casting doubt in many people’s minds on the reality of the Holocaust they could no longer be ignored. She opposed directly engaging with their arguments, for this legitimated them as worth considering and in any case denialists were impossible to argue with given their contempt for the tools of honest debate.What was needed was to ‘expose these people for what they are’, so that ‘truth and reason … can prevail’. In considering the options, she specifically opposed taking the deniers to court as a desirable strategy.

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Lawsuits, she said,‘transform the deniers into martyrs on the altar of freedom of speech’; even greater is the problem that when ‘historical disputes become lawsuits, the outcome is unpredictable’.13 Irving’s lawsuit against Lipstadt, however, meant her case had to be argued in court after all. Lipstadt and Penguin’s legal team hired expert historians, who worked on the case through 1998 and 1999, while David Irving chose to conduct his own defence.The trial was held in the High Court in London in the early months of 2000, surrounded by considerable media attention. It resulted in a verdict against Irving. Richard Evans’ book about his experiences as one of the expert historians, Telling Lies about Hitler:The Holocaust, History and the David Irving Trial (2002), followed from In Defence of History in many ways, but there was a shift in perspective.14 Now the question was not only how can we distinguish between different accounts of the past (the principal concern of In Defence of History), but also, and more pointedly, what the limits are of historical disagreement. When can we say that a historian has lied? Evans’ particular task was to establish whether in his histories Irving had deliberately falsified evidence, had told lies, as distinct from simply making haphazard mistakes or presenting an unorthodox and unpopular interpretation.
How was it going to be possible to distinguish between interpretation and fantasy, argument and tendentiousness, imaginative readings of the sources and outright manipulations of them, minor errors of fact and deliberate distortions of the documents, or the accidental omission of relevant material and the deliberate suppression of inconvenient evidence? (p.39)

His method was to study Irving’s published work in detail, checking its text and footnotes, and then tracking back to the original sources to see whether the material cited and discussed did in fact substantiate the point made in Irving’s text. As he pointed out, this is an unusual task for historians to carry out. Before he and his assistants undertook this exercise, ‘few historians had actually gone to the trouble of subjecting any of Irving’s publications to a detailed analysis by taking his historical statements and claims and tracing them back to the original’ (p.38). After all, to do so takes enormous time, and ‘most historians had better things to do with their time’. Historians generally assume that the work of their fellow historians is reliably footnoted, an assumption which underlies their necessary reliance on each other’s work (p.24). It would, after all, Evans rightly points out, ‘be completely impossible

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for new historical discoveries and insights to be generated if every historian had to go back to the original sources for everything he or she wanted to say’ (p.24). Evans’ key conclusion, well supported by the evidence he provides, is that not only did Irving make innumerable errors, provide unacceptably selective quotations from his sources, and claim that sources proved points which they did not, but also these errors, selections, and misrepresentations were designed to prove that there was no organised slaughter of the Jews, no gas chambers, and that Hitler did not order the extermination of the Jews. On the key point concerning Hitler’s knowledge and role, Evans concluded that Irving’s errors were falsifications which ‘taken as a whole … amounted to a systematic distortion of the historical record’. Irving’s work on this issue was ‘a house of cards, a vast apparatus of deception and deceit’ (p.110). Evans was very pleased with the court case. He was, after all, on the winning side. He thought the case had been well conducted, and he especially liked the way the court allowed them all plenty of time to pursue the smallest details in a way never possible in an academic or public context. He pointed out that this was a ‘civil trial’, where what is in dispute hangs ‘on the balance of probabilities, much as it does in history’ (p.198).Against those who felt that historical disputes could not be resolved in court, he pointed out that the trial turned on ‘how historians used historical evidence’ (p.198). And on this, with Evans’ own expert assistance, he felt the correct decision had been reached.This all has the air of the victor basking in the sun, proving his own value and objectivity against a powerful opponent. Yet Irving was a weak opponent. Evans himself shows in considerable detail just how poor Irving’s self-defence was (pp.207–25), and is puzzled that some observers thought he performed well. Especially odd, he says, is the view of the defence editor of the Daily Telegraph, Sir John Keegan, who described Irving as ‘a large, strong, handsome man, excellently dressed, with the appearance of a leading QC … asking, in a firm but courteous voice, precise questions which demonstrate his detailed knowledge of an enormous body of material’ (pp.207–8). Evans thought Irving a poor performer, who could not see the wood for the trees, or keep to the points at issue.And he did not think Irving an impressive figure at all:‘A lumbering hulk of a man, he did not look well-dressed to me; his suit did not seem to fit him properly, and his graying hair for the first few weeks was untidy and clearly needed cutting’ (p.208).15 (The discrepant observations

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here might remind us of Thucydides in his History (1.22) talking of the difficulties in constructing even the history of the present.) Although he makes it very clear that Irving hired no legal counsel and conducted his own defence, Evans does not seem to realise just how important this was for the nature of the trial, and perhaps for its ultimate judgment. After all, as Lipstadt herself had earlier pointed out, when historical disputes become lawsuits, the outcome could be unpredictable. A legal decision, after all, resolves a dispute as best it can; it is not necessarily a guarantee of truth. So what conclusions does Evans draw from all this for the vexed question of truth in history? The trial, he says, ‘taught the difference between real history and politically motivated propaganda’ (p.272). Real historians, he argues, and we agree, do not suppress parts of quotations from documents that do not suit their case, or knowingly present forged documents as genuine, or avoid using documents that do not suit their case, or misrepresent the meaning of documents or books by other historians, and they do not invent ‘words, phrases, quotations, incidents and events for which there is no historical evidence’ (p.257).Yet Evans was much better at elucidating and explaining proper historical practice than at pondering what it meant for the problem of truth in history. In an attempt to explain the difference between legitimate disagreement and historical falsification, he turned for help to the metaphor of the mountain, though rather curiously he does not mention that E.H. Carr had already used it in What is History? Recall that Carr had imagined a mountain seen from different angles, observing: ‘It does not follow that, because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision, it has objectively either no shape at all or an infinity of shapes.’16 Evans now imagines historians representing a mountain, as if they are artists, indeed, realist artists:
Perhaps the point may be best put in a metaphor. Supposing we think of historians like figurative painters sitting at various points around a mountain. They will paint it in different styles, using different techniques and different materials, they will see it in a different light or from a different distance according to where they are, and they will view it from different angles. They may even disagree about some aspects of its appearance, or some of its features. But they will all be painting the mountain. If one of them paints a fried egg, or a railway engine, we are entitled to say that they are wrong: whatever it is that the artist has painted, it is not the mountain. The possibilities of legitimate disagreement and variation are limited by the evidence in front of their eyes. An objective historian is simply one

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who works within these limits. They are limits that allow a wide latitude for differing interpretations of the same document or source, but they are limits all the same (p.257).

So, an ‘objective historian’ can be ‘simply’ defined as one who knows the difference between a mountain, a railway engine, and a fried egg (why a fried egg, one wonders?). Perhaps this is altogether too simple. Evans assumes that twentieth and now twenty-first century painters will be realist, as if other modes of artistic representation, from Dada to surrealism to abstract expressionism to pop art and beyond, simply do not exist. Let’s recall surrealist René Magritte’s 1961 painting Le château des Pyrénées, which was reproduced on the cover of Keith Jenkins’ Re-thinking History (1991), where a huge rock, egg-like in shape, hovers over a sea with breaking waves: suggesting that what might appear solid can have the most fluid of foundations.17 If Magritte in nonrealist fashion can represent a huge rock in egg shape, perhaps the surreal image of mountain as fried egg is not so absurd after all. What might be more absurd is Evans’ ingenuous realism, by which he wants to blanket all representation, rather than see realism as one possible form of representation among others.

V
After surveying debates about the Holocaust, Michael Dintenfass observed that however epistemologically an argument begins, it always becomes an ethical and moral one. In the end, the prominence of the Holocaust in historiographical reflection provides ‘irrefutable evidence of the centrality of questions of good and evil to the historical enterprise’.18 In these terms, is postmodernism, as the anti-postmodernists allege, on the side of evil – an abetter of evil? Dan Stone, in Constructing the Holocaust (2003), issued a direct challenge to the anti-postmodernists.19 He takes issue (p.15) with anti-postmodernists like Steven Aschheim who charge that with postmodernists all narratives are equally valid and create an atmosphere conducive to Holocaust denialism.20 There is nothing, Stone suggests, in postmodern awareness of the importance of subjectivity, perspective, and speaking position that disallows a

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commitment to truth and rigorous reliance on the evidence (pp.15–16). He also directly answers Telling the Truth about History, which he sees as the most sustained attack of recent times on postmodernism as a philosophy of history. Stone highlights a passage where the authors suggest that the kind of cultural relativism that postmodernism exhibits had already been evident in Nazism and the Holocaust: ‘cultural relativism had reached its limits in the death camps’; the Holocaust demonstrates that in history ‘absolute moral standards’ are ‘necessary’.21 Stone passionately replies:
This is an astonishing assertion. Surely the opposite is the case? Nazism was anything but a form of cultural relativism. The horror that it still inspires derives from the fact that it had very definite notions of who was and who was not fit to inhabit the globe… Nazism showed exactly how far the desire to impute one absolute meaning to History can go. (p.16)

In Stone’s view, in the wake of the Holocaust, it is only a ‘multiplication of interpretations of the meaning of history’ that can ‘safeguard historical freedom’ (p.16). Historians, Stone argues, have reacted to the difficult task of representing the Holocaust by domesticating it. Far from allowing it to change the way we think as it ought to have done, historians have simply fitted it into existing frameworks of knowledge (p.16). In an effort to bring the chaos of the Holocaust under some kind of control, they have produced very straightforward conventional narrative histories and avoided innovation. Surely, he reflects, the Holocaust, in making us ‘aware of general problems of representation that are normally passed by with ease’, asks us to change the way we write history (p.27). It reminds us of the importance of foregrounding the gap between the texts historians write and the past itself, and challenges conventional realistic modes of narration (p.233). The Holocaust is characterised by a disruptive excess that cannot be assimilated into the ‘cognitiverational framework’ of conventional historical writing (pp.21–2). Such a framework cannot explain the extreme character of the Nazi period and the Holocaust, cannot comprehend the ‘very excess, the rush of energy which permitted normal societal structures to become organs of mass murder’ (p.22). The problem of how to represent the Holocaust historically is most fruitfully explored by postmodernism (at its best and most rigorous) because of its sophisticated understanding of texts and its imaginativeness and

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adventurousness of interpretation of the meanings of the past.The horror of the Holocaust, as he puts it, can ‘invade the present’ (pp.262–4), challenging humanity to understand and know itself at its most ordinary and its most extreme.22 In Constructing the Holocaust Stone deploys a wide-ranging Herodotean approach to historical understanding, darkly probing the limits of the human in world history. Stone’s pessimistic view recalls Herodotus’ and Thucydides’ perceptions in antiquity that world history reveals no narrative of progress. It recalls as well Raphaël Lemkin in modernity suggesting that the story of humanity is a story of violence.

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CHAPTER 11

History Wars

We who live in the present did not create the violence and hatred of the past. But the violence and hatred of the past, to some degree, created us. It formed the material world and the ideas with which we live, and will continue to do so unless we take active steps to unmake their consequences. (Tessa Morris-Suzuki, 2002)1

Debates over the Holocaust have not been the only forum for bringing the problem of historical truth to public notice. There have also been a series of ‘history wars’ which had a similar, indeed greater, effect. These are historical controversies in national contexts where questions of national shame and responsibility came to be vigorously and vociferously debated. In the United States, Israel, Britain, Japan, Australia, and in many other countries troubling historical questions came to the fore. Historians found their work the subject of national attention in new ways; while this was pleasing (what one does actually matters), it was also very confronting. In the media and other public arenas historians encountered some very positivist assumptions about the difference between truth and falsity in history. Most journalists and public

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audiences expected historians to know the truth about the past, and to explain it clearly and simply. When historians were seen to disagree among themselves, lay audiences were dismayed and expressed profound doubts over the value of their work. In particular, historians critical of the national past in some way, in wartime or colonial frontier or other settings, were especially likely to find themselves accused of ‘political correctness’, distortion, hatred of their own country, guilt-tripping, morbidity, and, at worst, telling lies about the past to serve their own political agendas. We consider here just three of these disputes: the debates in the United States over the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, in Japan over the Nanjing massacre of 1937, and in Australia over the extent of violence on the frontiers of settlement in Tasmania in the first three decades of the nineteenth century.

I
The term ‘history wars’ gained popularity in the context of public debates in the early 1990s in the United States over the teaching of American history in schools, and over a planned exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC on the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. In 1992, in the context of the quincentenary of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas, in which there had been considerable critical discussion of America’s colonial past, the historical curators at the Smithsonian began planning an exhibition to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima. It was to open in the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in 1995 to coincide with the bombing’s fiftieth anniversary.With the Enola Gay, the plane from which the first bomb was dropped, as a centrepiece, the display was to be called ‘The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II’. The curators planned to foreground the now fifty-year-old controversy over the reasons for and morality of dropping the bomb. They would tell about the internal debates in the Truman government, display photographs of people in Hiroshima suffering burns, and ask visitors to consider the moral and political dimensions of Truman’s decision.2 The museum’s plans began to unravel when the Air Force Association and other veterans groups complained, saying the exhibition would encourage a perception of the Japanese as victims rather than as military aggressors in

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World War II. In public debate, those historians who argued that the dropping of the bomb was for reasons other than ending World War II and saving huge numbers of American soldiers’ lives were described as people who ‘hate America’. The curators agreed to revise the script to take greater account of the sensitivities of American veterans, while historians’ organisations and groups signed letters objecting to proposals to censor the exhibition. The veterans’ groups, however, proved to be too powerful, both for the curators inside the museum and the historians outside.After the election of November 1994, the Senate voted unanimously for a resolution condemning the exhibit’s script as ‘revisionist, unbalanced, and offensive’ and threatened to hold hearings on the matter.3 In January 1995, the Smithsonian’s new director, I. Michael Heyman, agreed to cancel the exhibition, and in May, under pressure from Congress, the exhibit leader Martin Harwit resigned as director of the Air and Space Museum. The political implications of the affair were clear. During the long decades of the cold war, totalitarian regimes like the Soviet Union had been justly accused of government interference in intellectual life and in particular of falsifying history to suit the political needs of the communist regime.Yet here was the US government openly interfering in the production and dissemination of historical knowledge. As Foucault had pointed out twenty years earlier, when truth becomes an issue of political debate and social confrontation, it becomes subject to the power of certain groups and forces in society. Most commentary since has concentrated on the political aspects of the affair, and the consequences for future historical and museological practice. Eventually a number of American historical associations agreed on a statement of ‘Standards for Museum Exhibits Dealing with Historical Subjects’. This statement pointed out that exhibits inevitably involved ‘interpretive judgments about cause and effect, perspective, significance, and meaning’, opposed ‘attempts to suppress exhibits or to impose an uncritical point of view’, advised museum curators to ‘acknowledge the existence of competing points of view’, and urged administrators to ‘defend exhibits produced according to these standards’.4 The curators had come up against not only veterans’ organisations and the government, but also a deeply held national narrative, originating from statements made at the time by US President Truman, that the bomb was dropped to bring a speedy end to the war and thus save enormous numbers

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of American lives. After some criticisms of the bombing were aired within the United States immediately after the war, Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War at the time and now retired, wrote an article to explain the administration’s view which was published in Harper’s Magazine in February 1947. Stimson’s explanation, that the atomic attacks were authorised to avoid an American invasion of Japan which could have cost ‘over a million casualties’, became the basis for received wisdom thereafter. There were few critics. An early exception was P.M.S. Blackett, an English Nobel prize-winning physicist, who suggested in 1948 that the bombing ‘was not so much the last military act of the Second World War, as the first major operation of the cold diplomatic war with Russia now in progress’.5 Debate among historians was much stimulated by the appearance in 1965 of Gar Alperovitz’s book, Atomic Diplomacy, based on his doctoral dissertation and involving research into recently released material. It, too, contended that the real reason for dropping the bomb was to demonstrate American atomic power to the Soviet Union, and triggered a spirited historiographical debate.6 Particularly damaging to the Truman–Stimson case was the realisation that Japan had been ready to surrender months earlier; by insisting on ‘unconditional surrender’, some historians argued,Truman had refused to reassure the Japanese that Emperor Hirohito would not be deposed, or tried as a war criminal, and thus closed the door to an earlier end to the war.7 J. Samuel Walker says that by the late 1980s the specialist historians had come to agree on some key issues:Truman and his advisers were aware of alternatives, an invasion of Japan was not necessary, the estimate of hundreds of thousands of combat deaths was unrealistically high, and political considerations were involved.8 They continued to disagree, however, over whether political or military motivations predominated. Yet these shifts of opinion and disagreements within the historical profession had had little effect on American collective memory or public debate. When the curators at the Smithsonian proposed to show that many historians now questioned the accepted national wisdom, it was no wonder that veterans groups were outraged. As John W. Dower pointed out, for critics like the American Legion’s spokesmen, the Smithsonian’s proposal to foreground the fact of historical disagreement in relation to the bombing of Hiroshima was ‘the very antithesis of simply telling history “like it was”’. Ironically, the effect of the Legion’s own intervention and indeed of the whole controversy

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was to prompt further historical research and debate.There are, however, few if any signs of agreement, and another round some time in the future of historiographical and public conflict seems very likely.9

II
Japan, meanwhile, was experiencing its own historical controversies over World War II, especially over the representation in school textbooks of Japan’s own role. Indeed these controversies were of a much older vintage than their American counterparts. One of the longest running and extensive of the Japanese debates concerned the Nanjing (or Nanking) massacre, said to have occurred between December 1937 and March 1938. On 13 December 1937, Japanese troops, fresh from their successful invasion of Shanghai, captured the Chinese city of Nanjing, capital of Republican Kuomintang China. The dispute is over whether Japanese soldiers then embarked on a campaign of widespread murder, rape, and looting, killing tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of civilians. So divergent were the opposing histories of this event, both within Japan itself and between Japan and China, that historian Daqing Yang likened it to Rashomon, where ‘drastically different evidence or interpretation seem(s) to disclaim the very existence of a single historical truth’.10 In 1990 the debate had been rarely discussed in English, so Yang was now explaining it to an English-speaking audience. A Chinese-born specialist in Japanese history,Yang had studied at Yokohama City University and Keio University in Tokyo and by 1990 was a PhD student at Harvard. Yang outlines the nature of the historical sources used in discussions over what happened in Nanjing. Journalists such as F.Tillman Durdin reported for the New York Times, while some members of the foreign community in Nanjing at the time wrote letters describing the actions of Japanese soldiers. Chinese citizens who had escaped from Nanjing reported their experiences in Chinese newspapers and magazines.Witness testimony and other evidence was produced at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial (1946–48), leading to a conclusion that 200 000 were killed and 20 000 raped.At a separate trial in Nanjing, a higher figure of 300 000 deaths was found.11 During the 1950s,Yang tells us, the massacre had received little attention within Japan itself, but this began to change in the 1960s, partly as a result of

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Japanese visitors to China learning about Chinese memories and memorialisation of the event. Historians like Hora Tomio, a professor of Japanese history at Waseda University, made extensive use of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial transcripts, the foreigners’ reports, and postwar Japanese war reminiscences, to write extensively about the massacre, publishing a chapter about it in his book Riddles of Modern Military History in 1967. He agreed with the Chinese figure of 300 000 as the most likely and held Japanese officers and indeed the whole Japanese military system responsible for the atrocities. Hora’s work was little known in Japan; not so journalist Katsuichi Honda’s series of newspaper articles in 1971, based on his 40-day tour of China. Honda visited war memorials in China, interviewed survivors, and collected other evidence; his articles recorded vivid reminiscences by survivors and were accompanied by powerful photographs of the mutilated bodies and severed heads of the Chinese victims. Meanwhile, Hora expanded his chapter into a book, and published source documents. As Yang puts it, the efforts of these two men brought the Nanjing incident out of oblivion in Japan.12 The debate over the Nanjing massacre began in earnest with Akira Suzuki’s reply to Hora and Honda in a series of published articles and a wellreceived book, The Illusion of the Nanjing Massacre (1973), which challenged the evidence they had used and argued there was no massacre. In the early 1980s, there was a resurgence of denial concerning the massacre; Masaaki Tanaka published The Fabrication of the Nanjing Massacre (1984) which claimed it was merely a myth created by the Tokyo trial and by the Chinese government. He and his supporters argued that relatively few people were killed, and even fewer by illegal means. An energetic denouncer of mistakes in the work of his opponents,Tanaka was himself charged in 1985 with making alterations to General Matsui’s wartime diary in order to hide evidence of the massacre in Nanjing. Further accusations of distortion and inconsistency were made of both sides.13 Yang also summarised the state of historical work in China in these years, indicating a growth in historical research within a framework of uniformity of views that a massacre of massive proportions had actually happened. At the end of his survey Yang recalled Croce’s dictum that all history is contemporary history, that historians bring into their work the influence of the times in which they live.This, he thought, was especially true in the case of the Nanjing massacre. Further, he noted, it was the political and diplomatic

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context of Sino-Japanese relations and huge media interest, rather than the disagreements between academic historians, which made the controversy a major event in Japanese society. He predicted that the Nanjing atrocity would remain a ‘Rashomon phenomenon’, with mutually incompatible views continuing to be expounded.14 Yet as it turned out that is not quite what happened. The 1990s saw the controversy continue, and change. When the new Japanese government in 1993 conceded that Japan had waged an aggressive colonial war and admitted that women had been compelled to work in ‘comfort houses’, nationalist historians – seeing the left historians who had emphasised Japan’s war guilt as having won and themselves now as an embattled truthful few – argued the case with new vigour. Meanwhile, a new generation of Chinese Americans, many of whom thought the Japanese were denying the truth of the massacre, was entering the field. The debate entered a new phase with the publication of Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking:The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II in December 1997, timed to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of the beginning of the massacre. Chang was a 29-year-old American of Chinese descent, whose parents had grown up in China in the midst of World War II and after the war fled with their families to the United States to pursue academic careers. Chang had a journalism degree and was now a full-time author. Chang described the events in Nanjing from three perspectives – Japanese perpetrators, Chinese victims, and Western eyewitnesses; she said her structure was ‘largely influenced by Rashomon’.15 Yet while she does indeed explore the three points of view separately, this is not really a Rashomon tale, for her conclusions as to what happened are perfectly clear. She also examined why the events were so little known outside China, making a case for a massive Japanese denial of war crimes. Chang’s book was well reviewed in newspapers, and quickly became an international success, staying on the New York Times bestseller list for several months.Yet Chang was not a trained historian, nor could she read Japanese or German, the latter important for using the very significant and revealing diary she had discovered kept by John Rabe, a German national who remained in Nanjing after the KMT leaders and military had fled.Very soon, her work was criticised for errors, such as using unsubstantiated estimates of numbers killed and unknowingly using photographs that were, one expert historian, Hata Ikuhiko, claimed, ‘a combination of fakes, forgeries, and composites’. Joshua

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Fogel described her work as ‘seriously flawed’, straining at an analogy with the Nazi genocide of Jews, and erroneously claiming that Japan had suppressed all historical knowledge of the Nanjing massacre. That most perceptive of commentators on Nanjing-massacre historiographical debates, Daqing Yang, concluded that Chang’s book suffered from inadequate footnotes and numerous factual inaccuracies.16 Yang made these comments on Chang in the context of a detailed historiographical essay written as a follow-up to the earlier one discussed above. Yang had by this time completed his PhD, and was now teaching Japanese history at George Washington University. His essay, ‘Convergence or Divergence? Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing’ (1999), is an outstanding discussion of the Nanjing debate, and the historiographical issues it raises. In the essay, he considered Japanese, Chinese, and American scholarship in great detail. He referred to his own earlier description of the Rape of Nanjing as a ‘twentieth century Rashomon’, and thought the analogy now less appropriate.The views of different historians had in fact not proved entirely incompatible, and much negotiation, discussion, research, and exchange of findings had occurred since 1990. In fact, there had been, he thought, a process of convergence on several important issues.There was now considerable agreement that Japanese troops committed atrocities on a massive scale, that Chinese POWs had been executed on a mass basis under orders, that errors and confusion in the Chinese defence contributed to the staggering loss of Chinese life, and that the International Safety Zone organised by Westerners had played an important role in saving many Chinese lives. The convergence was in part a product of improved international communication between scholars, the emergence of new evidence especially from Japanese former soldiers themselves and also from Western eyewitnesses like John Rabe, and the renewed recognition on all sides of the importance of empirical historical research. The long acrimonious debate, though deleterious in many ways, had led serious historians of the massacre, Yang suggested, to be more careful with their sources and their analysis of them. It had led, in fact, to some serious consideration of proper historical method. Historians had been reminded of the limits of written evidence, since much is not written down, and even when it is, important documents can go missing. Furthermore, surviving documents have to be read very carefully. ‘Even perfectly reliable evidence’,

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Yang pointed out, ‘if taken out of proper context, cannot always speak for itself ’; furthermore, ‘different interpretations of the same evidence can yield different conclusions’. Historians had learnt to recognise and avoid some of the poor practices that had emerged in the Nanjing massacre debates, such as rejecting an entire source on account of minor irregularities, or equating the absence of proof with proof of absence. Historians had also learnt to treat reminiscences (by survivors, soldiers, and observers) with care; they should be neither used uncritically, nor rejected out of hand, but rather interpreted alongside other evidence. In addition, the debates over the Nanjing photographs had served as a reminder to historians to be careful in authenticating and analysing photographs. There were ethical issues arising from the debate as well. In particular, it was important to avoid using comparison to downplay ‘other distinctly painful experiences of human suffering’ – for example, emphasising other atrocities in China’s past to prove that Japanese atrocities were not so bad.17 Or as Yang put it in another essay a year later: ‘A comparative examination of the wrongs committed by others may deepen our understanding of the human conditions in war, but it should not exonerate perpetrators of particular atrocities.’18 Yang considers the implications of the gradual convergence of views between Japanese, Chinese, and other historians (though not necessarily governments) for the question of truth in history. He warned that while the convergence was likely to continue, as research and dialogue went on, it would be a slow and uneven process, and one should not expect the remaining differences to disappear entirely. Political differences both within Japan and between Japan and China would continue to have an effect. On the other hand, historians need not forever be entrapped within their own national identities. Each has multiple identities, by virtue of locality, profession and gender, enabling historians to develop a plurality of vantage points from which to relate to an event in the past.19 Historians belong not only to nations but also to an ultimately transnational interpretive community with a reasonably shared framework of historical inquiry.20 Yet clearly, in public awareness, profound passions continue to be stirred. When Iris Chang, after suffering from depression, committed suicide in November 2004, her death made headlines in China. In Nanjing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported,‘the city was abuzz, from taxi drivers to shopkeepers, about what may have led to such a sad ending for the “young warrior”’.

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In tribute to Chang, survivors in Nanjing held a service at the victims’ memorial hall, whose visitor numbers had doubled since her book was published.21

III
If Richard Evans in Telling Lies about History (2002) drew from the Lipstadt–Irving trial the lesson that historical scholarship can indeed discover the truth of what happened, and if Yang drew from the long-running debates over the Nanjing massacre some lessons about both the importance and the limits of historical empirical methodology, as well as of transnational historical scholarship, what can we draw from yet another historical debate, that over the degree of violence and killing on the Australian frontier? In 2002 Keith Windschuttle’s The Fabrication of Aboriginal History argued against the widely accepted idea that Tasmania, the southernmost of the Australian British colonies, had witnessed a violent frontier.22 Fabrication’s method was similar to that Evans and his associates employed to discredit David Irving. It checked the footnotes of those historians with whom it disagreed against the original documents, in some cases finding the footnoted documents did not support the point made in the text. Its attack was sharpest against the main historian of the Aboriginal Tasmanians, Lyndall Ryan, whose The Aboriginal Tasmanians first appeared in 1981 and was reprinted in 1996. In accusing her and others not only of making mistakes in their footnotes but also of ‘fabricating’ their claims, Fabrication went further than any other Australian historical work had done. Though Australian historians had accused each other of errors of fact, the charge of ‘fabrication’ placed the debate on a new footing.23 The work of nineteenth-century historians such as James Bonwick and his twentieth-century successors like Lyndall Ryan and Henry Reynolds had generally emphasised the violence of the Tasmanian frontier from the first British settlement in 1803 onwards, and especially in the second half of the 1820s, though there were disagreements between them over how many died directly as a result of violent confrontations. Historians had also emphasised the destructive effects on the Aboriginal population of the clearances conducted in 1830–31, when the remnant Aboriginal population was

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removed or enticed to Flinders Island, a small island off the Tasmanian coast, where many died and few were born.24 Fabrication now suggested that the rapid indigenous population decline in Tasmania was the result not of frontier violence (which, it concludes, was minimal) but primarily the loss of reproductive capacity through venereal and other diseases and the selling of indigenous women by their men to whalers, sealers, and settlers. Fabrication argued that there was no policy of removal or destruction of the Tasmanians; in fact governments had tried to protect them.Where there was violence, the blame must be placed not with the colonisers, who were lawabiding good Christians defending their persons and property, but with the colonised, the indigenous peoples themselves, who owed their survival through thousands of years of isolation ‘more to good fortune than good management’ (p.386). Their attacks on settlers were not motivated by resistance to the loss of land and food sources, their basic conditions of life; nor should they be seen as defending their country from invasion since they had no notion that the land was theirs. Rather, Aboriginal attacks should be viewed as simply the products of mindless lawlessness and ‘senseless violence’; robbery and murder were ‘two customs they had come to relish’ (p.129). When settlers responded with force to such attacks, a trifling number of Aboriginal people were killed, making Tasmania, and indeed the Australian continent generally, one of the least bloody of all colonial frontiers. ‘The British colonization of this continent’, Fabrication contends (p.3),‘was the least violent of all Europe’s encounters with the New World.’ The book concludes with a list of ‘plausible killings’ of Aboriginal people, 118 in the first edition, and 120 in the second. The Fabrication of Aboriginal History was greeted with praise by conservative commentators in both Australia and the United States.25 It was condemned by indigenous spokespeople and their supporters, and also met with a variety of conceptual and empirical criticisms from historians with expertise in Australian indigenous history.The furore was huge, with well over 100 substantial articles including opinion page pieces, book reviews, feature articles, and news stories appearing in the mainstream press, plus some coverage on television. Most indigenous people refrained from entering into the details of the debate; those who write history usually focus on autobiography, biography, family history and community history, telling a story of survival and achievement rather than one of violence, defeat, and loss. Many saw the

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whole discussion as ‘white historians’ business’; or as a political debate in which Windschuttle’s book was presenting a version of the national past that provided a basis for denying Aboriginal rights in the present.26 Many nonindigenous people reacted similarly: this is a political and not a serious historical debate. A number of historians, however, thought that it was necessary to see this as a serious debate about history, and to engage in the details. Robert Manne edited a collection of responses under the title, Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Aboriginal History (2003), in which various historians took up different parts of the argument. Stuart Macintyre published The History Wars (2003), which included some incisive discussion of Windschuttle’s text.27 Fabrication is very long (436 pages), with a huge amount of detail and many footnotes. Its extensive scholarship has been one reason for the extent and longevity of the debate.Yet historians have been concerned by what they see as the misrepresentation of their work, and the book certainly does elide the many differences between historians it classifies as orthodox.28 Ryan’s essay in reply, published in Whitewash, argues that some of the footnotes Fabrication queried were indeed correct, acknowledges that some were wrong but then provides the correct details, and in some cases suggests that what is involved is not ‘error’ but matters of definition and interpretation. Many contributors to Whitewash also saw problems with the way Fabrication reads and interprets historical documents, arguing in considerable detail that it accepts sources that minimise the intensity of conflict and the numbers of Aboriginal dead and rejects sources that do not.29 There are some conceptual and ethical issues as well. Fabrication charges that the main historians of Tasmania have portrayed it as a case of genocide, and makes great play of the inappropriateness of comparing the Tasmanian frontier with the events of the Holocaust. Yet historians like Ryan and Reynolds had not seen Tasmanian history as a case of genocide. Ryan had emphasised indigenous survival and continuity, while Reynolds had actually published a book two years earlier specifically opposing the application of the concept of genocide to the Tasmanian case. In our view, the debate has become very muddled, partly because the participants have very different understandings of the meaning of ‘genocide’. If one understands it, as we do, following Lemkin’s original definition, as the attempt to destroy the foundations of life of a society so that it can no longer continue as a society, then

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Tasmania becomes a candidate for inclusion in the large category of cases that can be called genocide. Furthermore, Lemkin himself argued in a long essay that the British colonisation of Tasmania was an example of genocide.30 The Australian history wars show some similarities with both the American and Japanese cases.As in the United States, some cherished national narratives were at stake. While Australian historians had generally agreed on the violence of the colonial frontier, this historical understanding was a phenomenon mainly of the latter decades of the twentieth century.There was a much older assumption within white Australian culture that the settlement of Australia had been peaceful and just. Indeed the image in Fabrication of settlers in Tasmania having to defend themselves, that they rather than the people whose lands they took were the victims, reprised a longstanding trope of victimology in Australian historical consciousness. Fabrication was in line with this traditional understanding of events, one reason, we would argue, for its being so welcomed by right-wing journalists and commentators.31 And as in the historiographical conflicts over the Nanjing massacre, the ‘Australian history wars’ illuminated the perils historians routinely face.They highlighted how difficult it is to decide what constitutes reliable historical evidence, and reminded us that where evidence is sparse and partial, our moral sympathies, political understanding, and cultural assumptions all affect what we judge as likely to be true.They also reminded historians, just as the Enola Gay debates did, that public audiences find the idea of historical disagreement difficult and unsettling. Those who say there is a single knowable historical truth were welcomed with relief, while those who insisted that interpretations will differ were regarded as fence-sitting relativists and unpleasant postmodernists who believed that you can produce any version of the past you like.

IV
History wars, wherever they occur, have a way of driving historians back to the sources, checking the relationship between historical narration and analysis on the one hand and the documentary and other records on the other. Those who adopt fairly postmodernist views concerning the power of perspective and the opacity and multi-faceted character of the documents can suddenly find themselves saying, in response to their opponents, ‘but that

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simply isn’t true!’ Our sense of there being more than one historical truth is sorely tested, as we learn that the Rashomon effect, as a literary-historical narrative strategy, provides no answer to versions of the past with which one strongly disagrees. It is true that we often have incompatible accounts of the same events, by eyewitnesses or by others who attempt to construct from the evidence what happened, but it is not enough merely to point out that there can be different, and indeed quite radically opposed, versions of the truth. Audiences, politics, and historical debate itself all ultimately require that the representation of multiple points of view be accompanied by the historian’s own conclusions. It is perhaps for these reasons that the atmosphere of formal experimentation and the emphasis on the instability of historical knowledge of a decade or more ago seems to have subsided. Historians’ wars have an intimidating effect on experimentation with literary form, and there have been few formal innovations in the new millennium. Yet bitter public conflicts over history do not mean we must return to naïve historical positivism with its monologic narration, nor does it mean wide-ranging Herodotean interests will not resurge. Historians can combine formal experimentation and recognition of the contingent, political, and relative nature of historical narration with a commitment to truth, extensive research, rigorous use of sources, and careful interpretation. Indeed, far from returning to conventional omniscient narration, some historians have learnt from these disputes that it is all the more important to explain to readers their historical method and assumptions, explain just how and why they reached their conclusions, and foreground the existence and normality of interpretive difference. They have also learned that all this, necessary though it is, is not enough; recognition of difference must go alongside clear argument (with detailed reference to the historical archive) for preferring their own interpretation to that of their opponents.32 The debates over the various history wars fought in many locations around the world have also raised with fresh urgency the problem of whether or not historians should make moral judgements about the past: the problem strikingly posed by Isaiah Berlin in Historical Inevitability (1954). In the American debate over the bombing of Hiroshima, historians could be accused of being insensitive either to the feelings of American war veterans or to the memory of the Japanese victims of the bombing. In the long-running debate over the Nanjing massacre, left-wing historians saw their opponents as unable

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to face the truth about Japanese war crimes while the right thought the left had abdicated moral responsibility to their own – Japanese – people. And in the debate over Keith Windschuttle’s refutation of the violence of the Tasmanian colonial frontier, his book was frequently criticised for lacking compassion for those whose lives and society were so rapidly destroyed, to which he replied that the task of the historian was to be not ‘compassionate’ but ‘dispassionate’.33 In the ensuing discussion many did not agree, Alan Atkinson, for example, arguing that writing history is a social activity which depends on ‘an assumption of shared humanity’; the question of humane feeling within the humanities ‘goes to the foundation of intellectual life and beyond that, as Burke would say, to the character of civil society’. Everywhere, it seems, the moral connection between ourselves in the present and the events of the past is coming under new scrutiny, as the demand for national apologies for past actions grows, in some cases successfully. As Tessa MorrisSuzuki phrased it so eloquently, we can think of the moral relationship between past and present as one of ‘implication’:
‘Implication’ means the existence of a conscious connection to the past, but also the reality of being (in a legal sense) ‘an accessory after the fact’. It is the status of those who have not stolen land from others, but who live on stolen land; the status of those who have not participated in massacres, but have participated in the process by which the memory of those massacres has been obliterated; the status of those who have not injured others, but allow the consequences of past injury to go unaddressed. ‘Implication’ means that the prejudices which sustained past acts of aggression live on into the present, and will lodge themselves in the minds of the present generation unless we make the effort to remove them.34

V
The history wars are notable for their national importance and meaning. Even though they are often about war or colonial dispossession, and therefore the interaction of different peoples and nations, they are as often conducted within nations as between them. In addition to the examples discussed here, witness Israel’s divided historiography focussing on 1948.35 In every case, the morality of the nation is seen to be at stake.Yet history, though very much a nationally organised enterprise, is also constantly bursting through national barriers.

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Alongside the history wars there has been, much less publicly but no less importantly, a steady growth of interest in transnational history, the idea of pursuing historical themes and topics across national boundaries to a greater extent than has been usual over the last half century. This is not, of course, an entirely new development, as historians have long sought to understand global and multinational phenomena such as trade, colonisation, and war. And for historians of earlier periods, before there was a nation-state, national boundaries are far less important. But historians have also very often been firmly national, seeking to play an important role in their society. Bonnie Smith remarks in The Gender of History that the modern historian has tried to provide histories of the nation that all citizens could share; to write accounts of the origin of the nation that reveal it to have a sure historical footing; sometimes to act as an adviser to governments, providing advice all the more helpful because it is held to be based on impartial objective historical research.36 The nation still constitutes a central organising concept for historians of all political and theoretical persuasions. The pleasures of national historiography are, after all, immense; a national focus ensures historians a large and interested audience, and enables their historical work to count in current debate and contemporary local culture. Yet despite the seduction of national recognition, historians in many countries have recently become increasingly restive with history’s old and resilient national framework. In the context of globalisation – economically, culturally, and even politically – there is a greater sense of the interconnectedness of (and often differences between) local histories, societies, economies, and cultures.The focus on national history has, many point out, made it difficult for historians to trace and follow people, plants and animals, goods, organisations, beliefs and ideas across and beyond national borders; too great an attention to the nation has inhibited the study of important themes, patterns, and processes around the world. Historians are looking for new ways to write transnational, global, and post-imperial histories.37 These newer transnational histories vary, from the concern with the holistic, often economic, approaches that dominate the field of world history, to the concern in postcolonial history with empires and colonialism, to the interest in individuals, networks, and lines of influence of many who specifically identify their history simply as ‘transnational’. And transnational approaches are often in response to problems arising in specific national

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histories.A notable enthusiasm for the transnational has come from historians of the United States who have challenged the notion of ‘American exceptionalism’ and sought instead to understand American connections with and similarities to histories elsewhere. In England, A.G. Hopkins has argued for the importance of overcoming narrow national histories and reconstructing histories which recover the global character of empires generally and the British Empire in particular.38 Australian desires for transnational history also bear a national imprint.39 An important contribution to the search for transnational approaches came from Minoru Hokari, a young Japanese scholar of Australian history, who died in 2004 and to whom we have dedicated this book. After working on indigenous Australian, specifically Gurindji, notions of history for his doctoral thesis, Hokari had begun thinking about forms of history which paid more attention to the movement and interactions of specific groups of people than to the nation-states that framed them. In ‘Anti-Minorities History: Perspectives on Aboriginal-Asian Relations’, he sought to globalise indigenous Australian histories by ‘unfocusing’ on Australian national history and connecting Aboriginal and Asian histories. In a later paper, he sought further to emancipate indigenous histories from a ‘national agenda’ and place them in a global perspective.40 He sought, that is, to understand quite different connections from those which had governed historical scholarship to date, both the studies by Australian historians tracing the effects of state power on indigenous experience and the studies by Japanese historians of migratory Japanese pearl-divers, some of whom came to the north-west Australian coast. In bringing these two totally disparate historiographies together, he was an innovative advocate of transnational approaches to history. The move to transnational history and to greater historical communication across national boundaries more generally has many implications, not least the methodological difficulties of accessing and mastering diverse archives, and huge diverse historiographies. It has implications, too, for the search for historical truth, reflections on which have in any case been less narrowly national than historical work itself (though works like Telling the Truth about History and In Defence of History still have largely national imagined audiences). Key essays and books we have discussed, for example, have come from Germany, England, Italy, Russia, France, India, Japan, the United States, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere. As Daqing Yang pointed out,

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historians belong to a transnational interpretive community with a shared framework of historical inquiry, and the connections across national boundaries keep growing. These transnational developments will likely produce new ways of understanding, assessing, and debating historical truth. Forms of history, and thinking about its meaning and veracity, will surely emerge, which will be at once new, and also, in their cosmopolitan and international spirit, an echo of the beginnings of history in Herodotus and Thucydides.

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Notes

I N T RO D U C T I O N
1 Deborah Bird Rose, ‘Hidden Histories’, Island, 51 (1992), p.16; also Rose, Hidden Histories: Black Stories from Victoria River Downs, Humbert River and Wave Hill Stations (Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1991). See Iain McCalman, ‘Flirting with fiction’, in Stuart Macintyre (ed.), The Historian’s Conscience (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2004), pp.151–61, discussing the difference between his own The Last Alchemist: Count Cagliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason (HarperCollins, New York, 2003), and Dan Brown’s historical thriller The Da Vinci Code (2003). Ranke, Introduction to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations (1824) in Roger Wines (ed.), Leopold von Ranke:The Secret of World History. Selected Writings on the Art and Science of History (Fordham University Press, New York, 1981), pp.56–9. See Candace Fujikane and Jonathan Okamura (eds), Whose Vision? Asian Settler Colonialism in Hawai’i, a special issue of Amerasia Journal, vol.26, no.2, 2000; Candace Fujikane, ‘Foregrounding Native Nationalisms: A Critique of Anti-Nationalist Sentiment in Asian American Studies’, in Kent Ono (ed.), Asian American Studies after Critical Mass: New Directions in Asian American Studies (Blackwell, Malden, MA, 2004). Keith Windschuttle, The Killing of History (Macleay Publications, Sydney, 1994). Keith Jenkins, Re-Thinking History (Routledge, London, 1991), pp.5, 9, 56. Keith Jenkins, On ‘What is History?’ (Routledge, London, 1995), pp.57–8. See also Michael S. Roth, ‘Classic Postmodernism’, History and Theory, vol.43, October 2004, pp.372–8, review of Keith Jenkins, Refiguring History: New Thoughts on an Old Discipline (Routledge, London, 2003).

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8 Cf. Nancy F. Partner, ‘Historicity in an Age of Reality-Fictions’, in Frank Ankersmit and Hans Kellner (eds), A New Philosophy of History (Reaktion Books, London, 1995), pp.26–31. 9 Michael Dintenfass, ‘Truth’s Other: Ethics, the History of the Holocaust, and Historiographical Theory after the Linguistic Turn’, History and Theory, vol.39, no.1, 2000, pp.1–20. 10 Peter Novick, The Holocaust and Collective Memory:The American Experience (Bloomsbury, London, 1999), esp. ch.9, pp.192, 194–5. On p.330 note 102, Novick refers to James Baldwin, ‘Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They’re Anti-White’, New York Times Magazine, 9 April 1967. See also Dan Stone, ‘Memory, Memorials and Museums’, in Dan Stone (ed.), The Historiography of the Holocaust (Palgrave, London, 2004), pp.519–20; and Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan (eds), The Spectre of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003), especially ‘Conclusions: Investigating Genocide’ by Gellately and Kiernan, p.378. 11 Saul Friedländer (ed.), Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1992). 12 Nancy Partner, ‘Making Up Lost Time:Writing on the Writing of History’, Speculum, vol.6, no.1, 1986, p.92. 13 Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1966), pp.232–6, 249, 257, 262. 14 Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2000); Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History:Who speaks for ‘Indian’ pasts?’ Representations, 37 (Winter) 1992, pp.1–26. 15 Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, p. 6. See also Debjani Ganguly, ‘Their History, (Y)our Memories: Provincialising Europe in Dalit Historiography’, in Jacqueline Lo, Duncan Beard, Rachel Cunneen, and Debjani Ganguly (eds), Impossible Selves: Cultural Readings of Identity (Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 1999), pp.15–23. 16 See Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, 2003), and John Docker’s review in Political Theory (vol.33, no.2, 2005, pp.304–9) of Asad’s book along with Slavoj Zizek’s The Puppet and the Dwarf (2003). 17 Cf. Hillel Schwartz, Century’s End: A Cultural History of the Fin de Siècle from the 990s through the 1990s (Doubleday, New York, 1990), and John Docker, The Nervous Nineties (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1991). 18 Cf. Ann Curthoys and John Docker, ‘Time, Eternity,Truth, and Death: History as Allegory’, Humanities Research, 1, 1999, p.10. See also William E. Connolly, Why I Am Not a Secularist (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1999), and Jane Bennett, The Enchantment of Modern Life (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2001). 19 See Ned Curthoys, ‘Hannah Arendt and the Politics of Narrative’, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, vol.32, no.3, 2002, pp.348–70, at 349; Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy? trans. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson (Verso, London, 1999), p.73; Hannah Arendt, Men in Dark Times (Jonathan Cape, London, 1970). 20 Cf. François Hartog’s puzzled concluding sentences concerning history and fiction to his The Mirror of Herodotus:The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, trans. Janet Lloyd (University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1988), pp.380–1.

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CHAPTER 1
1 Herodotus, The Histories, trans. George Rawlinson, edited Hugh Bowden (Everyman, London, 2000). 2 See Arnaldo Momigliano, Studies in Historiography (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1966), ch.8, ‘The Place of Herodotus in the History of Historiography’, pp.127–42. 3 T.J. Luce, The Greek Historians (Routledge, London, 1997), pp.27, 36; Luce refers to Cicero, On the Laws 1.5; also Thomas Harrison, Divinity and History:The Religion of Herodotus (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2000), p.23. 4 Luce, The Greek Historians, chs 4 and 5. 5 See Harrison, Divinity and History, who explores Herodotus’ beliefs in the workings of divine agency and retribution in history; Rosaria Vignolo Munson, Telling Wonders: Ethnographic and Political Discourse in the Work of Herodotus (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2001); M.I. Finley, Introduction to Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. Rex Warner (Penguin, London, 1972), pp.17–18. 6 François Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus:The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, trans. Janet Lloyd (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), pp.xxiii–xxiv; John Gould, Herodotus (St Martin’s Press, New York, 1989), pp.1–2. 7 Hugh Bowden, Introduction to The Histories, p.xix; Luce, The Greek Historians, pp.18–19; Munson, Telling Wonders, pp.272–3. 8 Simon Goldhill, Who Needs Greek? Contests in the Cultural History of Hellenism (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002), pp.78, 275–7. Luce, The Greek Historians, p.59, comments that Herodotus’ anti-ethnocentrism would strike us now as admirable; also K.H.Waters, Herodotus the Historian: His Problems, Methods and Originality (University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1985), p.3. 9 See Katerina Clark, ‘M.M. Bakhtin and “World Literature”’, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, vol.32, no.3, 2002, pp.266–92; also Ned Curthoys, ‘The Émigré Sensibility of “World-Literature”: Historicising Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers’ Cosmopolitan Intent’, Theory and Event, vol. 8, no. 6, 2005. 10 Raphaël Lemkin, ‘Totally Unofficial Man’, in Samuel Totten and Steven Leonard Jacobs (eds), Pioneers of Genocide Studies (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, 2002), p.377. 11 See John Docker, ‘Are Settler-Colonies Inherently Genocidal? Re-reading Lemkin’, in Dirk Moses (ed.), Genocide and Colonialism (Berghahn Books, New York, 2005). 12 Plato, Phaedrus (243), refers to stories that Helen never left Sparta, and she was represented at Troy by a phantom. See Plato, Phaedrus, trans. and introd.Walter Hamilton (Penguin, London, 1973), pp.44–45 and p.44 note 2, which refers as well to the Republic 586C, and to Euripides’ Helen being blown ashore in Egypt. 13 We would like to acknowledge invaluable ‘coffee discussions’ with the classical archaeologist Graeme Clarke concerning The Histories and Herodotus and Thucydides and antiquity more generally. ‘Wry humour’ is his phrase for the tone of much of The Histories. 14 Cf. David Grene’s introduction to his translation of Herodotus, The History (Chicago University Press, Chicago, 1987), p.21. 15 Mary Spongberg, Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave, London and New York, 2002), pp.32–3. Cf. Carolyn Dewald, ‘Women and Culture in Herodotus’ Histories’, in Helene P. Foley (ed.), Reflections on Women in Antiquity (Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, New York, 1981), pp.91–125. Also Stewart Florey, The

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16 17

18

19

20 21

22 23 24

25

26

27

28

Archaic Smile of Herodotus (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1987), pp.42–6 concerning the motif of the clever vengeful queen. Cf. Dewald, ‘Women and culture in Herodotus’ Histories’, p.109. The Histories 2.134–5 mentions that Rhodôpis had been a fellow-slave of ‘Æsop, the fable writer’, and that Charaxus the man who ‘redeemed’ her for a ‘vast sum’ was ‘brother of Sappho the poetess’. Concerning Kuchuk Hanem, see Francis Steegmuller (ed.), Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour (Michael Haag, London, 1983), pp.129–30; cf. Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Penguin, London, 1991), pp.186–8. Cf. The Histories 4.193 concerning African peoples: ‘Next to the Maxyan Libyans are the Zavecians, whose wives drive their chariots to battle’; cf. also 6.77, enigmatic oracle which begins, ‘Time shall be when the female shall conquer the male, and shall chase him/Far away …’ For contemporary cultural theory, see especially Natalie Zemon Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1975), ch.5, ‘Women on Top’. Cf. Richard Lattimore, ‘The Wise Adviser in Herodotus’, Classical Philology, vo.34, no.1, 1939, p.26. In The Histories 7.239, Gorgo, older and now married to Leonidas, gives crucial advice to the Lacedaemonians on how to read a message on wood from Demaratus, in exile in Persia, warning of Xerxes’ intention to attack the Greeks. Cf. Queen Atossa’s powerful speeches in Aeschylus’ The Persians (472 BCE). See Ann Curthoys, ‘Whose Home? Expulsion, Exodus, and Exile in White Australian Historical Mythology’, Journal of Australian Studies, no.61, 1999, pp.1–18, and Galarrwuy Yunupingu, speech to National Press Club, Canberra, 13 February 1997. Also, Hugh Brody, The Other Side of Eden: Hunter-Gatherers, Farmers and the Shaping of the World (2000; Faber and Faber London, 2002), pp.7, 87–90. Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, pp.xxiii, xxiv. In contemporary terms, cf. Daiva Stasiulis and Nira Yuval-Davis (eds), Unsettling Settler Societies: Articulations of Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Class (Sage, London, 1995). Herodotus, nevertheless, also records a story about Scythian flax growing.The Scythians, while they disliked bathing in water, were wont to throw hemp-seed upon red-hot stones, which then gave off ‘such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy, and this vapour serves them instead of a water-bath’ (4.75). See Peter L. Caracciolo (ed.), The Arabian Nights in English Literature (Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1988); Eva Sallis, Sheherazade Through the Looking Glass:The Metamorphoses of the Thousand and One Nights (Curzon, Surrey, 1999); John Docker, 1492:The Poetics of Diaspora (Continuum, London, 2001), pp.75–6, and ‘The Enlightenment and Genocide’, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, vol.33, no.3, 2003, pp.296–304. Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, The Literary Absolute:The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism, trans. Philip Barnard and Cheryl Lester (State University of New York Press, Albany, 1988), p.57. Our thanks to Ned Curthoys for knowledge of the Jena Romantics. Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1984), pp.5–7, 14–17, 69–73, 111–37; John Docker, The Nervous Nineties (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1991), pp.116–19. Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, trans. John Osborne (Verso, London, 1996), pp.172–6, 184–7.

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29 Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, pp.28–9, 35, 41, 44–7. Cf. Ann Curthoys and John Docker, ‘Time, Eternity,Truth, and Death: History as Allegory’, Humanities Research, I, 1999, pp.10–13.

CHAPTER 2
1 Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. Rex Warner, introduction by M.I. Finley (Penguin, London, 1972). 2 Dionysius of Halicarnassus, The Three Literary Letters, ed. and trans.W. Rhys Roberts (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1901), pp.109, 113. (Our thanks to Ian Higgins for this reference.) 3 Cf.T.J. Luce, The Greek Historians (Routledge, London, 1997), p.69. 4 For an interesting discussion of Thucydides in relation to gender, see Mary Spongberg, Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave, London, 2002), pp.30–1. 5 See Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Fifty Key Thinkers on History (Routledge, London, 2000), pp.318–24. Finley, introduction to Thucydides, pp.19–20, 30, notes that Herodotus also neglected documentary research, preferring oral tradition. Luce, The Greek Historians, p.63, observes that Thucydides does at times draw on documents, in books 5 and 8. 6 Cf. Luce, The Greek Historians, pp.70–1. 7 Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, ed. and trans. Caryl Emerson (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1984), pp.5–7, 70–5; see also Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist, Mikhail Bakhtin (Belknap Press, Cambridge, MA, 1984), pp.240, 242, and John Docker, The Nervous Nineties (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1991), pp.116–17. 8 Jacqueline de Romilly, The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens, trans. Janet Lloyd (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992), p.205, writes that Thucydides was a disciple of the Sophists. Cf. Susan C. Jarratt, Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured (Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1991), pp.24, 47, 106; also Luce, The Greek Historians, pp.73, 86, 90. 9 Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (1954; Faber and Faber, London, 1961), pp.51–2. Cf. Jeffrey Andrew Brush, ‘The Political Dimension of the Public World: On Hannah Arendt’s Interpretation of Martin Heidegger’, in Larry May and Jerome Kohn (eds), Hannah Arendt:Twenty Years Later (The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996), pp.264–5. (Our thanks to Ned Curthoys for this reference.) 10 See Finley’s introduction to the History of the Peloponnesian War, pp.26–7; also Luce, The Greek Historians, p.72. 11 Cf. J. Peter Euben, The Tragedy of Political Theory (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1990), pp.167–201. Romilly, The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens, p.241, suggests that ‘disciples of the Sophists’ like Euripides and Thucydides deployed Sophist methods in ‘works of tragedy or works of tragic implication’. See also F.M. Cornford, Thucydides Mythistoricus (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1907). 12 Raphaël Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (Columbia University Press, New York, 1944), pp.79–80. Such destruction of islands and cities in the ancient world appears so common in both Herodotus’ The Histories and Thucydides’ History that one has to question Ben Kiernan’s assumption that the much later Roman destruction of Carthage was the first genocide in world history; see Ben Kiernan, ‘Le Premier Génocide: Carthage, 146 AC’, Diogène, no.203, Juillet–Septembre 2003, pp.32–48.

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13 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (George Allen and Unwin, London, 1967), p.123. 14 We can note here that Thucydides is also usually considered the founding figure of international relations, which would help explain Hannah Arendt’s interest in his writings in relation to the Athenian public sphere; see Euben, The Tragedy of Political Theory (1990) and more recent works like J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (W.W. Norton, New York, 2001), R.N. Lebow, The Tragic Vision of Politics: Ethics, Interests and Orders (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003), and Christian Reus-Smit, The Moral Purpose of the State (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1999). (Our thanks to Barry Naughten for invaluable notes concerning Thucydides and contemporary international relations debates.) 15 Cf. Nancy F. Partner, ‘Historicity in an Age of Reality-Fictions’, in Frank Ankersmit and Hans Kellner (eds), A New Philosophy of History (Reaktion Books, London, 1995), p.30: ‘Broadly defined, all historiographical practice descends from ancient models set by Herodotus and Thucydides with respect to its epistemology as a set of practices in prose …’ 16 Homer A. Jack, The Gandhi Reader (Grove Press, New York, 1956), pp.110–11. 17 Concerning Thucydides’ interest in Sophist notions of probability and likelihood, cf. Jarratt, Rereading the Sophists, p.47, Luce, The Greek Historians, p.90. 18 Cf. Luce, The Greek Historians, p.74: ‘Since he [Thucydides] accepts the basic historicity of the Trojan War and even of a personage like Minos of Crete (1.4, 8), he feels entitled to use the evidence of Homer and other early poets in making his arguments.’ 19 Cf.Thomas Harrison, Divinity and History:The Religion of Herodotus (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2000), esp. ch.4, ‘Divine Retribution’: ‘Herodotus believes that certain actions will inevitably receive retribution from the gods’ (p.103). 20 Cf. Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future, ch.2, ‘The Concept of History’, p.51, discussing the ‘impartiality’, the sign of ‘all true historiography’, that she feels was established by Homer, Herodotus, and Thucydides.

CHAPTER 3
1 Sir Walter Scott, Quentin Durward, in three volumes (Edinburgh, 1823), pp.132–3. 2 Leonard Krieger, Ranke:The Meaning of History (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1977), p.105. 3 Walter Kaufmann (ed.), The Portable Nietzsche (Penguin, London, 1982), p.46. 4 See Linda Orr, ‘The Revenge of Literature: A History of History’, New Literary History, vol.18, 1986–87, pp.1–22. 5 See Erik Iversen, The Myth of Egypt and Its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition (1961; Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1993), pp.102–3, 162 note 56. 6 Cf. J.A.I. Champion, The Pillars of Priestcraft Shaken:The Church of England and its Enemies, 1660–1730 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992); Iain McCalman, ‘New Jerusalems: Prophecy, Dissent and Radical Culture in England, 1786–1830’, in Knud Haakonssen (ed.), Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in Eighteenth Century Britain (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996), pp.312–35; John A. Passmore (ed.), Priestley’s Writings on Philosophy, Science and Politics (Collier, New York, 1965). 7 Lionel Gossman, ‘History and Literature: Reproduction or Signification’, in R.H. Canary and H. Kozicki (eds), The Writing of History: Literary Form and Historical

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8 9

10

11 12 13

14 15

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Understanding (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1978); Lionel Gossman, Between History and Literature (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990). Cf. Stephen Bann, The Clothing of Clio (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984). Cf. Hannah Arendt, Rahel Varnhagen:The Life of a Jewess, ed. Liliane Weissberg, trans. Richard and Clara Winston (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1997), and Arendt, The Burden of Our Time (Secker and Warburg, London, 1951), pp.59–60. Roger Wines (ed.), Leopold von Ranke:The Secret of World History. Selected Writings on the Art and Science of History (Fordham University Press, New York, 1981),Wines’ ‘Introduction’, pp.3–9. See also Bonnie G. Smith, The Gender of History: Men,Women, and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998), p.117–19. Ranke: The Secret of World History,Wines’ ‘Introduction’, pp.10–16. Cf. Steven Nadler, Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999), p.246. Ranke, ‘The Holy Hieroglyph’, in Ranke: The Secret of World History, pp.240–1. Cf. John Moses, ‘Ranke Revisited:The “Dubious”Values of a Universal Historian’, Journal of Religious History, vol.14, no.2, 1986, p.174, concerning Ranke’s view of Fichte, and that Ranke thought history could be superior to philosophy. Ranke, ‘The Holy Hieroglyph’, p.241. Cf. Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian:The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1997), pp.8, 20, 34, 45–54, 136, 168, 193, 209, 217. Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, trans. John Osborne (Verso, London, 1996), pp.168–9. Iversen, pp.111, 116, 121–2, 126–8, 143–4; in 1824 Champollion published Précis du Système Hiéroglyphique. Ranke, ‘Introduction’ to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations in Ranke:The Secret of World History, pp.56–9. Ibid., p.58. Ibid. Ibid., pp.56–7. Ibid., pp.56–8. Leopold von Ranke, History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations (1494 to 1514), trans. G.R. Dennis (George Bell and Sons, London, 1909), pp.1–5. Ibid., pp.3, 5–6. Ibid., pp.4–5, 7–11. Raphaël Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (Columbia University Press, New York, 1944), p.80; Ranke, History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations, p.17. Ranke, History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations, pp.9, 18. Ibid., pp.7–8, 15, 18–19. Ibid., pp.9, 11. Ibid., p.11. Ibid., pp.11–12, 19. Ranke: The Secret of World History, p.38; Bann, The Clothing of Clio, p.23. See Lord Acton, Essays on Freedom and Power, ed. Gertrude Himmelfarb (The Free Press, Glencoe, Ill., 1948), p.20; Ranke: The Secret of World History, p.5; Bann, The Clothing of Clio, p.23.

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34 Cf. John Docker, 1492:The Poetics of Diaspora (Continuum, London, 2001), ch.2; James Chandler, England in 1819:The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1998), pp.11–13; Ina Ferris, The Achievement of Literary Authority: Gender, History, and the Waverley Novels (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1991), pp.237–56; Katie Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1997), pp.257–9. 35 Georg Lukács, The Historical Novel, trans. Hannah and Stanley Mitchell (1937; Penguin/Peregrine, Harmondsworth, 1969), p. 51. 36 Scott, Quentin Durward, vol.I: pp.20, 36. 37 Ranke, History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations, p.21, refers to Louis XI as ‘very suspicious, very shrewd, and discerning enough besides’. 38 See Mary Spongberg, Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave, London, 2002), pp.30–1. 39 Scott, Quentin Durward, vol.I: pp.7–10, 31, 87–97, 118, 174, 183; vol.II: pp.57, 69, 162. 40 Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination (University of Texas Press, Austin, 1981), pp.86–110, 121–7; also John Docker, Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994), ch.16. 41 Scott, Quentin Durward, vol.I: pp.120–1, 130–3, 156–7, 206; vol.II: pp.124, 127, 135, 167. 42 Cf. Peter Novick, That Noble Dream (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1988), p.27, and Moses, ‘Ranke Revisited…’, p.173. 43 Cf. Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1984), pp.5–7, 14–17, 69–73, 111–137; also John Docker, The Nervous Nineties: Australian Cultural Life in the 1890s (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1991), ch.11. 44 Scott, Quentin Durward, vol.II: p.271; vol.III: pp.282, 347–9. 45 Ranke: The Secret of World History,Wines’ ‘Introduction’, p.4. 46 Scott, Quentin Durward, vol.II: pp.13, 31. Cf. also Bann, The Clothing of Clio, pp.106, 144. 47 Lukács, The Historical Novel, pp.15, 29–30. 48 Sir Walter Scott, Waverley (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1985), ‘Introduction’ by Andrew Hook, pp.9–11. 49 Ferris, The Achievement of Literary Authority, p.242. 50 Scott, Waverley, ch.72, p.493, and ‘General Preface, 1829’, pp.523–4. 51 Marilyn Butler, Maria Edgeworth: A Literary Biography (Clarendon, Oxford, 1972), pp.2, 8, 350, 394–8, 485–6. 52 Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism, p.130; also pp.131–2 apropos the influence on the historical novel of the national tale, ‘a genre developed in Ireland, primarily by women writers, over the decade preceding the publication of Waverley’. See also Ina Ferris, The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002). 53 Our debt here is to the fine essay by Clara Tuite, ‘Women’s Historical Fiction’, in Mary Spongberg, Ann Curthoys, and Barbara Caine (eds), A Companion to Women’s Historical Writing (Palgrave, London and New York, 2005).

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CHAPTER 4
1 Blaise Pascal, Pensées, ed. Louis Lafuma, trans. John Warrington, introd. H.T. Barnwell (J.M. Dent and Sons, London, 1973), p.30 (number 90). 2 Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, trans. R.J. Hollingdale, introd. J.P. Stern (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983), p.66. 3 Cf. M.A. Fitzsimons, The Past Recaptured: Great Historians and the History of History (University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame and London, 1983), pp.148–9, 169. 4 Ranke, ‘Introduction’ to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations, in Roger Wines (ed.), Leopold von Ranke:The Secret of World History (Fordham University Press, New York, 1981), p.58. See Stephen Bann, ‘The Sense of the Past: Image,Text, and Object in the Formation of Historical Consciousness in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, in H. Aram Veeser (ed.), The New Historicism (Routledge, New York, 1989), pp.102–4; Philippa Levine, The Amateur and the Professional: Antiquarians, Historians, and Archaeologists in Victorian England, 1838–1886 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986). 5 Ranke: The Secret of World History,Wines’ ‘Introduction’, pp.8, 12–13, 20–23, 25. 6 See Bonnie G. Smith, The Gender of History: Men,Women and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998), ch.4; also Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession (1988; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995), p.27, concerning Ranke’s ‘celebration of the great nation-states’. 7 Lord Acton, Essays on Freedom and Power, edited Gertrude Himmelfarb (The Free Press, Glencoe, Ill., 1948), ‘Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History’, p.20. Cf. Ranke: The Secret of World History,Wines’ ‘Introduction’, pp.2, 17. 8 Jacob Burckhardt, Reflections on History, trans. M.D.H. (George Allen and Unwin, London, 1950), pp.16–17, 21, 29, 35, 38, 41, 56, 62, 65, 75, 135. 9 Burckhardt, Reflections on History, pp.17, 20, 35, 40, 42–4, 50, 54, 64, 69, 86 note 1, 141. 10 For Nietzsche’s attitudes to Burckhardt, and the question of Burckhardt’s possible antisemitism in contrast to Nietzsche’s gathering dislike of anti-semitism, see Yirmiyahu Yovel, Dark Riddle: Hegel, Nietzsche, and the Jews (Polity Press, London, 1998), pp.119–20, 130–2, 180, 212–14 note 8. 11 Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, ch.2, ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’, pp.59–64, 83, 120. 12 Ibid., pp.68–75 13 Ibid., p.76. 14 Ibid., pp.77–8, 86–7, 90–4, 99, 120. 15 Ibid., p.104. 16 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, trans. Francis Golffing (Doubleday Anchor, New York, 1956), p.293. 17 See Levine, The Amateur and the Professional, p.3; cf. Bann, ‘The Sense of the Past’, p.103. 18 Cited in Herbert Butterfield, Man on His Past:The Study of the History of Historical Scholarship (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1955), pp. 91, 222; also Ranke: The Secret of World History,Wines’ ‘Introduction’, p.23. 19 Owen Chadwick, Acton and History (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998), pp.1–6, 11. 20 Chadwick, Acton and History, pp.13, 18, 20–1, 30, 115, 121–3, 137–8, 205. Concerning the long tradition of Vatican censorship of Catholic intellectuals, see Paul Collins, From

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Notes to pages 77–85

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Inquisition to Freedom (Simon and Schuster, Sydney, 2001). 21 Chadwick, Acton and History, pp.4, 22–8, 62, 115, 145–6, 150, 187–8, 192–9.The Socinians, following on from an Italian theological sect of the sixteenth century, did not believe that Jesus was of divine origin. Concerning ‘Socinian’ figures like Spinoza and John Toland, see John Docker, ‘The Enlightenment, Genocide, Postmodernity’, Journal of Genocide Research, vol.5, no.3, 2003, pp.343–52. 22 Chadwick, Acton and History, pp.202–4. 23 Acton, ‘Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History’, pp.3–29. 24 Ibid., pp.5, 9, 11, 13. 25 Ibid., p.20. 26 Mary Spongberg, Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave, London, 2002), pp.151–6. 27 Chadwick, Acton and History, pp.211, 215–25, 228, 231, 234–5. 28 Cf. Butterfield, Man on His Past, ch.5, ‘The reconstruction of an historical episode: the history of the enquiry into the origins of the Seven Years War’, pp.142–70. 29 Acton, ‘Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History’, pp.3–5, 9–13. 30 Ibid., pp.25–7. 31 Ibid., pp.13, 16–21. 32 Ibid., pp.13, 20. 33 Ibid., p.14. 34 Lord Acton, ‘Letter to the Contributors to the Cambridge Modern History’, in Fritz Stern (ed.), The Varieties of History: From Voltaire to the Present (Meridian, Cleveland, 1966), pp.247–9. Cf. Chadwick, Acton and History, pp.239–43; Peter Burke (ed.), New Perspectives on Historical Writing (Polity Press, London, 1991), pp.5–6; Gertrude Himmelfarb, Lord Acton: A Study in Conscience and Politics (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1952), pp.223–5. Novick, That Noble Dream, p.73, writes of Acton’s Letter: ‘American historians had parallel aspirations for their collective labors’. 35 Ranke: The Secret of World History, ed.Wines, ‘The Holy Hieroglyph’, p.241. 36 J.B. Bury, ‘The Science of History’, in Fritz Stern (ed.), The Varieties of History, pp.210–11.The inaugural lecture is also printed in Harold Temperley (ed.), Selected Essays of J.B. Bury (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1930), pp.3–22. Cf. Chadwick, Acton and History, p.248; Richard J. Evans, In Defence of History (Granta Books, London, 1997), p.23. 37 Bury, ‘The Science of History’, pp.210–16. 38 Ibid., pp.215–16, 218, 220, 223. 39 Ibid., pp.214–15, 221. 40 See G.M.Trevelyan, An Autobiography and Other Essays (Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1949), ch.1,‘Autobiography of an Historian’, pp.17–18, for Trevelyan’s portrait of Acton. 41 ‘Clio, A Muse’ was published in December 1903 in the Independent Review, and reprinted as the lead essay, though shorn of the polemical references to Bury, in Trevelyan’s 1913 volume of the same name, Clio, A Muse. See also Evans, In Defence of History, pp.24–6; Chadwick, Acton and History, p.226; Fritz Stern (ed.), The Varieties of History, introductory note, p.227. 42 Fritz Stern (ed.), The Varieties of History, pp.228–35. 43 Ibid., pp.231–5. 44 Trevelyan, ‘Autobiography of an Historian’, p.24. 45 J.B. Bury, A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great, fourth edition (Macmillan, London, 1977), pp.251–2.

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Notes to pages 86–93

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46 F.M. Cornford, Thucydides Mythistoricus (1907; Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1965), pp.vii–ix. 47 Cornford, Thucydides Mythistoricus, p.241. Cornford is suggesting that the tragedy of hubris evoked in The Persians – where King Xerxes’ naval force, with its ambition to move westwards to expand the Persian empire, is destroyed by the Athenians at Salamis – is in Thucydides’ History ironically replicated in the defeat of the Athenian naval forces when they sailed westward to conquer Sicily in the Peloponnesian war. See Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound and Other Plays, trans. and introd. Philip Vellacott (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1983), pp.122, 125–9, 130–1, 136, 138–9, 142–3, 145. 48 Cornford, Thucydides Mythistoricus, pp.237–43. Cf. Kieran Egan, ‘Thucydides, Tragedian’, in Robert H. Canary and Henry Kozicki (eds), The Writing of History: Literary Form and Historical Understanding (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1978), pp.63–92. 49 J.B. Bury, The Ancient Greek Historians (Macmillan, London, 1909), pp.123–4. It should be noted that Cornford was not concerned with Thucydides’ conscious intentions, but with a structure of mind: see Thucydides Mythistoricus, Preface, p.viii. 50 Temperley (ed.), Selected Essays of J.B. Bury, ‘Cleopatra’s Nose’, pp.60–9. 51 Ibid., pp.60, 62. Cf. Lionel Gossman, ‘Anecdote and History’, History and Theory, vol.42 (May), 2003, p.161. 52 ‘Cleopatra’s Nose’, pp.60–1, 66–8. 53 Ibid., p.69. Cf. R.G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (1946; Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1978), pp.149–51; E.H. Carr, What is History? (1961; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1965), pp.100–2; Evans, In Defence of History, p.130. 54 Temperley (ed.), Selected Essays of J.B. Bury, pp.70–1.

CHAPTER 5
1 R.G. Collingwood, An Autobiography (1939; Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1970), p.90. 2 H. Stuart Hughes, Consciousness and Society:The Reorientation of European Social Thought 1890–1939 (1958;Vintage Books, New York, 1977). Cf. Peter Novick, That Noble Dream:The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession (1988; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995), p.134. 3 In That Noble Dream, pp.111–28, Novick gives an account, sardonic yet also rather saddened, of the impact of World War I on American historiography, so detached and proud of its impartiality in the first part of the war, suddenly changing to patriotism or at least to deep ambivalence about the ideal of objectivity when the United States entered the conflict in 1917–18. 4 See Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Fifty Key Thinkers on History (Routledge, London, 2000), pp.48–55. 5 Benedetto Croce, History: Its Theory and Practice, trans. Douglas Ainslie (Harcourt, Brace and Co., New York, 1921), pp.11–26, reprinted as ‘History and Chronicle’ in Hans Meyerhoff (ed.), The Philosophy of History in Our Time (Doubleday Anchor, New York, 1959), p.45. 6 Croce, ‘History and Chronicle’, p.46. 7 Ibid., pp.47, 49–52. 8 Ibid., pp.51–2. 9 Ibid., p.55.

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Notes to pages 93–100

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10 Ibid., pp.45–6. 11 Novick, That Noble Dream, pp.154–6, cautions that Croce’s influence on American historians like Beard and Becker is difficult to assess with precision. 12 Cf. John Docker, Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1994), chs.1–3. 13 Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, trans. John Osborne (1928;Verso, London, 1996). In his introduction, George Steiner refers to its writing and publication history (p.7). 14 Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, pp.169, 247 n.21. 15 Max Pensky, Melancholy Dialectics:Walter Benjamin and the Play of Mourning (University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1993), pp.74–6. 16 Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, pp.50, 58–70, 78, 81, 92–3, 99, 217. 17 Ibid., pp.72–5, 88–91, 217–18. 18 Ibid., pp.177–80, 182, 222. 19 Cf. John Docker, ‘Writing from fragments’, in Ann Curthoys and Ann McGrath (eds), Writing Histories: Imagination and Narration (Monash Publications in History, Melbourne, 2000), pp.28–39. 20 Cf. Beatrice Hanssen, Walter Benjamin’s Other History: Of Stones, Animals, Human Beings, and Angels (University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1998), pp.100–2. Cf. John Docker’s review in Seminar: a Journal of Germanic Studies, May 2000, pp.266–7. 21 Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, pp.160, 164–6. Concerning the death’s head in contemporary theory, see Mark Dorrian, ‘Of Skulls and Stealth: Reflections on the Image of the New Military Technology’, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, vol.33, no.1, 2003, pp.98–111. 22 Carl L. Becker, ‘What are historical facts?’, The Western Political Quarterly, vol.8, no.3, 1955, pp.327–40, reprinted in Meyerhoff (ed.), The Philosophy of History in Our Time, pp.120–37, also republished in Carl L. Becker, Detachment and the Writing of History, edited Phil. L. Snyder (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1958), pp.41–64. 23 Becker, ‘What are Historical Facts?’ in Meyerhoff (ed.), The Philosophy of History in Our Time, pp.121–3. 24 Ibid., pp.124–6. 25 Ibid., pp.130–3. 26 Ibid., pp.136–7. 27 Ibid., p.137. 28 Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (1931; G. Bell and Sons, London, 1950), pp.68, 91, 105. 29 Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History, pp.64, 72. 30 Bonnie G. Smith, The Gender of History: Men,Women, and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1998), p.128. See also Bonnie G. Smith, ‘Gender and the practices of scientific history: the seminar and archival research in the nineteenth century’, American Historical Review vol.100, no.4, 1995, pp.1150–76. 31 Smith, The Gender of History, p.116. 32 Ibid., p.119. 33 Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History, pp.131–2. 34 Ibid., pp.131–2. 35 Novick, That Noble Dream, pp.104, 140, and passim. For the friendship of Becker and Beard, including similarities and differences, see pp.252–8. 36 Ellen Nore, Charles A. Beard: An Intellectual Biography (Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1983), ch. 2.

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37 Nancy F.Cott, A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard through her Letters (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT,1991), p.10. 38 Beard, ‘Written History as an Act of Faith’, in Meyerhoff (ed.), The Philosophy of History in Our Time, p.140. 39 Ibid., pp.142–3. 40 Ibid., pp.144–7. 41 Ibid., p.149. 42 Ibid., p.141. 43 Ibid., p.142. 44 See R.G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (1946; Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1978), pp.201–4. 45 Collingwood, An Autobiography, pp.89–90, 101. 46 Ibid., pp.91–2, 95–7, 101. 47 Ibid., pp.107, 110–15. 48 Ibid., p.115. It has been argued by the Holocaust historian Dan Stone, however, that in his as-yet unpublished studies of folk tales Collingwood, interpreting Nazism as a kind of primitive religion, did try to understand processes that seem irrational to the Western mind. See Dan Stone, ‘Nazism as Modern Magic: Bronislaw Malinowski’s Political Anthropology’, History and Anthropology, vol.14, no.3, 2003, p.212. 49 Collingwood, The Idea of History, pp.236–7.The section on ‘The Historical Imagination’ is reprinted in Meyerhoff (ed.), The Philosophy of History in Our Time, pp.66–84. 50 Collingwood, The Idea of History, p.241. 51 Ibid., pp.214, 242–7. 52 Beard, ‘Written History as an Act of Faith’, p.151. 53 See Victor Klemperer, The Language of the Third Reich, trans. Martin Brady (1957; Continuum, London, 2002). Our thanks to Ned Curthoys for suggesting we read Klemperer’s deeply moving book. 54 Gerda Lerner, Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 2002), pp.173–5. 55 Momme Brodersen, Walter Benjamin: A Biography, trans. Malcom R. Green and Ingrida Ligers (Verso, London, 1997), pp.251–8. 56 Walter Benjamin, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’, Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn, edited and introd. Hannah Arendt (Schocken Books, New York, 1969), pp.253–64. 57 Benjamin, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’, pp.254–6. Cf. Nancy Partner, ‘Making Up Lost Time:Writing on the Writing of History’, Speculum, vol.6, no.1, 1986, p.110: ‘Scientists can fiddle their data, steal from one another, and defraud the public; only historians can betray all the generations of the dead.’ 58 Benjamin, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’, pp.254, 257. 59 Ibid., pp.254–5, 262. 60 Homer A. Jack (ed.), The Gandhi Reader (Grove Press, New York, 1956), pp.110–11. 61 Croce, ‘History and Chronicle’, pp.45, 55. 62 Benjamin, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’, pp.255–8, 261. 63 Ibid., pp.262–3. Concerning the notion of crystallisation, cf. Hannah Arendt’s introduction to Illuminations, p.51. 64 Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1982), pp.162, 166–7.

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65 See Patrick Gardiner (ed.), Theories of History (The Free Press, Glencoe, Illinois, 1959), p.344. 66 Novick, That Noble Dream, p.392. 67 Carl G. Hempel, ‘The Function of General Laws in History’, Journal of Philosophy, vol.39, 1942, reprinted in Gardiner (ed.), Theories of History, pp.345–6. 68 Ibid., pp.346–50. 69 Ibid., pp.347, 351, 353, 356. 70 Novick, That Noble Dream, pp.393–4, 398–9. See also William H. Dray, Philosophy of History (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1964), pp.5–7. 71 Hempel, ‘The Function of General Laws in History’, pp.344–5, 351. 72 Ibid., p.351. 73 Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World, p.164; Raphaël Lemkin, ‘Totally Unofficial Man’, in Samuel Totten and Steven Leonard Jacobs (eds), Pioneers of Genocide Studies (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick and London, 2002), pp.378–81, 385; also Samantha Power, ‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide (HarperCollins Perennial, New York, 2003), pp.25–6. 74 Raphaël Lemkin, Axis Power in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (Columbia University Press, New York, 1944), p.79. 75 Lemkin, ‘Genocide – A Modern Crime’, Free World – ‘A Magazine devoted to the United Nations and Democracy’, April 1945, pp.39–43, accessed at <http://www.preventgenocide.org/lemkin/freeworld1945.htm> 76 Cf. Katerina Clark, ‘M.M. Bakhtin and “World Literature”’, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, vol.32, no.3, 2002, pp.266–92; also Edward W. Said, Freud and the Non-European (Verso in association with the Freud Museum, London, 2003). 77 Lemkin, Axis Power in Occupied Europe, p.79. 78 Lemkin Papers, the American Jewish Historical Society, 15 West 16th Street, New York City, box of manuscripts entitled ‘History of Genocide’, Series III, Sub series 2, Box 8, Folder 6. 79 Cf. Power, ‘A Problem from Hell’, p.57. See chapters 2–5. 80 Power, ‘A Problem from Hell’, pp.78 and 535 note 48. 81 Cf. Ann Curthoys and John Docker, ‘Genocide: Definitions, Questions, Settlercolonies’, Aboriginal History, vol.25, 2001, pp.1–15. See also Dirk Moses (ed.), Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History (Berghahn Books, New York, 2004); Ann Curthoys, ‘The History of Killing and the Killing of History’, in Antoinette Burton (ed.), Archive Stories (Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 2005); Dirk Moses, ‘The Holocaust and Genocide’, in Dan Stone (ed.), The Historiography of the Holocaust (Palgrave, London, 2004), pp.533–55; Ann Curthoys and John Docker, ‘Defining Genocide’, in Dan Stone (ed.), The Historiography of Genocide (Palgrave, London, forthcoming 2006).

CHAPTER 6
1 Paul Celan, Breathturn (1967), trans. Pierre Joris (Sun and Moon Press, Los Angeles, 1995), pp.214–15. Our thanks to Christine Winter. 2 Georg G. Iggers, ‘The Image of Ranke in American and German Historical Thought’, History and Theory, vol.2, 1962, p.20. 3 Peter Novick, That Noble Dream:The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession (1988; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995), p.26.

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4 Pieter Geyl, Debates with Historians (B.T. Batsford, London, 1955), pp.4–12, 18. See also Geyl, Use and Abuse of History (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1955), pp.34, 50. 5 Geyl, Debates with Historians, pp.6, 8, 11, 18. 6 Isaiah Berlin, Historical Inevitability (1954; Oxford University Press, London, 1955). 7 See Michael Ignatieff, Isaiah Berlin: A Life (1998;Vintage, London, 2000), p.88, also 93, 244; concerning Historical Inevitability, see pp.205–7. 8 Berlin, Historical Inevitability, pp.5–6, 10–11, 13, 18–19. 9 Ibid., pp.15 note 1, 16–17, 20, 25, 32–4, 50–53, 57, 71, 75. 10 Ibid., p.56. 11 See Benedetto Croce, ‘Historical Determinism and the Philosophy of History, in Patrick Gardiner (ed.), Theories of History (The Free Press, Glencoe Illinois, 1959), pp.233–41.The essay is part of chapter IV of Croce’s History – Its Theory and Practice (1917). 12 Berlin, Historical Inevitability, p.43. 13 Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1984), p.272. 14 Ibid., pp.200–1. 15 Benedetto Croce, ‘History and Chronicle’, from History: Its Theory and Practice, reprinted in Hans Meyerhoff (ed.), The Philosophy of History in Our Time (Doubleday Anchor, New York, 1959), p.46;Walter Benjamin, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’,VI, Illuminations, ed. and introd. by Hannah Arendt (Schocken Books, New York, 1969), p.255. 16 Hannah Arendt, ‘The Concept of History’, ch.2, Between Past and Future (1954; Faber and Faber, London, 1961), pp.52–3, 78, 89–90. 17 Ibid., p.51. 18 Ibid., pp.48–50, 86, 230 notes 12 and 14. 19 Ibid., pp.53–4. 20 See Robert C.Tucker (ed.), The Marx–Engels Reader (W.W. Norton, New York, 1972). 21 For another categorisation of Marx’s theory of history, see Walter L. Adamson, ‘Marx’s Four Histories: An Approach to his Intellectual Development’, History and Theory, vol.20, 1981, pp.379–402. 22 Mikhail Bakhtin, ‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in History’, The Dialogic Imagination, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (University of Texas Press, Austin, 1981). Cf. Dominick LaCapra, ‘Bakhtin, Marxism, and the Carnivalesque’, Rethinking Intellectual History:Texts, Contexts, Language (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1983), ch.9. 23 See Tucker (ed.), The Marx–Engels Reader, pp.3–6. For a detailed philosophical analysis, see G.A. Cohen, Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978). 24 Tucker (ed.), The Marx–Engels Reader, p.335. 25 See, for example, LaCapra, ‘Reading Marx:The Case of The Eighteenth Brumaire’, Rethinking Intellectual History, ch.8. Georg G. Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge (Wesleyan University Press, Hanover, 1997), p.86, convicts The Eighteenth Brumaire of various kinds of snobbishness and elitism. 26 Tucker (ed.), The Marx–Engels Reader, p.436. Edward W. Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (1984;Vintage, London, 1991), pp.124–5, argues that The Eighteenth Brumaire reveals how much ‘repetition’ can unsettle meanings, bring forth ironies, enable multi-

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Notes to pages 124–30

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27

28

29 30

31 32

33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

43 44 45 46 47

ple perspectives on an historical situation. Said’s notion of repetition as destabilising can perhaps be compared to recent theories of mimesis; see, for example, Michael Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses (Routledge, London, 1993), Barbara Fuchs, Mimesis and Empire:The New World, Islam, and European Identities (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001), and Serge Gruzinski, The Mestizo Mind, trans. Deke Dusinberre (Routledge, New York, 2002). See LaCapra, Rethinking Intellectual History, p.288, commenting that Marx creates the French society of the time as a ‘carnival of dunces’; also p.283 re ‘topsy-turvy’. See also John Docker, Postmodernism and Popular Culture (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994), chs13 and 14. Tucker (ed.), The Marx–Engels Reader, pp.441, 479–80.The verbal energy of Marx’s evocation of the Paris lumenproletariat drew the attention of Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (1986; Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1995), p.129. Tucker (ed.), The Marx–Engels Reader, p.480; also 513. Willie Thompson et al. (eds), Historiography and the British Marxist Historians (Pluto Press, London, 1995); Harvey J. Kaye, The British Marxist Historians: An Introductory Analysis (Polity Press, New York, 1984). See also the moving tributes and appreciations entitled Raphael Samuel 1934–1996 (London, 1996). See comments on Marx in Edward W. Said, Orientalism (1978; Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1980), pp.153–7, 206. For critique of Eurocentrism in European history generally, see Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2000). Peter Burke, The French Historical Revolution:The Annales School 1929–1989 (Polity Press, Cambridge, 1990). Ibid., p.97. Fernand Braudel, ‘History and the Social Sciences’, in On History (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1980), p. 51. Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, vol.1 (1949;William Collins and Sons, London, 1972), pp.19, 21. Braudel, ‘History and the Social Sciences’, p.47. Ibid., p.33. Ibid., p.48 Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (1931; G. Bell and Sons, London, 1950), pp.131–2. Cf. Ann Curthoys and John Docker, ‘The Two Histories: Metaphor in English Historiographical Writing’, Rethinking History, vol.1, no.3, 1997, pp.259–73. Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays (1955; Methuen, London, 1962). Gertrude Himmelfarb, The New History and the Old (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1987), pp.171–84, has noted the important place of sexual metaphors in this pessimistic account of the historical enterprise. Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays, p.160. Ibid., p.164. Ibid., p.159. Ibid, pp.166–7. E.H. Carr, ‘An Autobiography’, in Michael Cox (ed.), E.H. Carr: A Critical Appraisal (Palgrave, London, 2000), pp.xiii–xxii.

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48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58

59 60 61 62

63 64 65 66

67

Carr, What is History? (1961; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1965), pp.7, 10, 20–1. Ibid., pp.7–9, 16. Ibid., p.9. Ibid., p.23. Ibid., pp.19–21. Ibid., pp.22, 30. Ibid., pp.23, 26–7. Ibid., pp.26–7, 30. Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (HarperCollins, London, 1995). Cf. David Simpson, Romanticism, Nationalism, and the Revolt Against Theory (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1993), pp.126–31. Rider H. Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines (1885; Puffin, Harmondsworth, 1975), pp.73–80; John Docker, The Nervous Nineties (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1991), pp.189–91; Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Conquest (Routledge, London, 1995), pp.242–3. Berlin, Historical Inevitability, p.23. Carr, What is History?, p.29. Ibid. Novick, That Noble Dream, p.26. See also Roger Wines (ed.), Leopold von Ranke:The Secret of World History (Fordham University Press, New York, 1981),Wines’ ‘Introduction’, p.16. Iggers, ‘The Image of Ranke in American and German Historical Thought’, pp.18, 29–36. Ibid., pp.18–21, 25. Cf. Novick, That Noble Dream, pp.26–31. Iggers, ‘The Image of Ranke…’, p.38. See Iggers’ introduction to Leopold von Ranke, The Theory and Practice of History, ed. Georg Iggers and Konrad von Moltke (Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, 1973), pp.xix–xx; Novick, That Noble Dream, p.28. See, for example, Leonard Krieger, Ranke:The Meaning of History (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1977), pp.ix, 8, 101, 334; John A. Moses, ‘Ranke Revisited: The “Dubious” Values of a Universal Historian’, Journal of Religious History, vol.14, no.2, 1986, p.178; Felix Gilbert, ‘Ranke as the Teacher of Jacob Burckhardt’, in Georg G. Iggers and James M. Powell (eds), Leopold von Ranke and the Shaping of the Historical Discipline (Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY, 1990), pp.82–8; Iggers, ‘The Crisis of the Rankean Paradigm in the Nineteenth Century’, in Iggers and Powell (eds), Leopold von Ranke, p.172; Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century, pp.2–3, 143; also Peter Burke, ‘Ranke the Reactionary’, in Iggers and Powell (eds), Leopold von Ranke, pp.37–42.

CHAPTER 7
1 Walter Kaufmann (ed.), ‘On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense’ (1873), The Portable Nietzsche (Penguin, London, 1982), p.46. 2 Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (1972; University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1986), p.213. 3 Ibid., p.258. 4 Arthur C. Danto, ‘The Decline and Fall of the Analytical Philosophy of History’, in Frank Ankersmit and Hans Kellner (eds), A New Philosophy of History (Reaktion

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Notes to pages 139–47

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Books, London, 1995), pp.70–8, 85. 5 Richard T.Vann, ‘Turning Linguistic: History and Theory and History and Theory, 1960–1975’, in Ankersmit and Kellner (eds), A New Philosophy of History, pp.40–1, 43, 46, 48, 61, 69, 249 note 32. 6 E.P.Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1963; Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1968), pp.9–10, 13. 7 Ibid., p.13. 8 Ibid. 9 E.P.Thompson, ‘Time,Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism’, Past and Present, no.38, 1967, pp.56–97. 10 See E.P.Thompson, The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays (Merlin Press, London, 1978); Ann Curthoys, ‘Labour History and Cultural Studies’, Labour History, no.67, November 1994, pp.12–22. 11 Anders Stephanson, ‘The Lessons of What is History?’, in Michael Cox (ed.), E.H. Carr: A Critical Appraisal (Palgrave, London, 2000), p.286. 12 See J.H. Hexter’s Reappraisals in History (1961; Longmans, Green, and Co., London, 1967), for well-known essays like ‘The Myth of the Middle Class in Tudor England’, pp.71–116. 13 See Peter Novick, That Noble Dream (1988; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995), p.394. 14 Vann, ‘Turning Linguistic’, pp.52–6; also Novick, That Noble Dream, pp.622–4. 15 Thompson, The Poverty of Theory, p.387 note 37, says that Hexter’s reality rule is ‘helpful’, though he adds that Hexter uses it oppose any Marxist history. 16 J.H. Hexter, Doing History (George Allen and Unwin, London, 1971), pp.21, 54–8. 17 Hexter, ‘The Rhetoric of History’, Doing History, pp.19, 21, 24, 29. 18 Ibid., pp.17–19, 26, 52–3, 66, 69–71. 19 Ibid., pp.47–8. 20 Ibid., p.22. 21 Ibid., pp.27–30, 71. 22 Ibid., pp.30–1, 40, 42. 23 Ibid., pp.68, 75–6. 24 Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (1962;Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1966), pp. 217–69, especially pp. 232–6, 249, 257, 262. Lévi-Strauss’s own writing like Tristes Tropiques influenced the break in anthropology towards considering ethnographic texts as literary. See Marc Manganaro (ed.), Modernist Anthropology: From Fieldwork to Text (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1990), Introduction, p.16. For a more extended discussion of Lévi-Strauss, see Robert Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (Routledge, London, 1990), pp. 41–7. 25 Roland Barthes, Mythologies (1957; Granada, London, 1979); see also John Docker, Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994), pp.52–5. 26 Roland Barthes, ‘Historical Discourse’, in Michael Lane (ed.), Introduction to Structuralism (Basic Books, New York, 1970), pp.145–55. See also Vann, ‘Turning Linguistic’, pp.56–9. 27 Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (1967; University of Chicago Press, 1978), ch.10, pp.278–93. 28 A point made by Barbara Johnson: see Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, trans. and introd. Barbara Johnson (Athlone, London, 1981), Introduction, p.xiv; cf. Docker,

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Notes to pages 147–58

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Postmodernism and Popular Culture, pp.132–3. 29 Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1967; Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1976), pp.3, 10–13, 16, 20, 70, 97, 102, 112. Cf. Docker, Postmodernism and Popular Culture, pp.135–7. 30 Derrida, Of Grammatology, pp.3, 9, 68, 87, 89, 129. 31 Ibid., pp.7–8, 60–2, 65–6, 68, 73, 89, 106, 109–12, 127–8. 32 Ibid., p.158. 33 Ibid., pp.157–9. See also Barbara Johnson’s discussion of ‘There is nothing outside the text [il n’y a pas de hors-texte]’ in her introduction to Derrida, Dissemination, pp.xiii–xv. 34 Derrida, Of Grammatology, pp.157–9. 35 Derrida, Dissemination, pp.63–4.We would like to acknowledge the value of discussions on Derrida we’ve had with Ned Curthoys. 36 Ibid., pp.66–7, 69. 37 Ibid., pp.70–2. 38 Ibid., pp.67–9. 39 Jacques Derrida, ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’, pp. 207–1. 40 Ibid., pp.258–64.

CHAPTER 8
1 Mary R. Beard, Woman as Force in History:A Study in Traditions and Realities (1946; Collier Books, New York, 1973), p.282. 2 Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, trans. H.M. Parshley (1949; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1975), p.96. 3 Bonnie G. Smith, The Gender of History: Men,Women and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998), p.1; also Smith, ‘Gender and the Practices of Scientific History:The Seminar and Archival Research in the Nineteenth Century,’ American Historical Review, vol.100, no.4., 1995, pp.1150–76. 4 Smith, The Gender of History, p.6. 5 Ibid., pp. 121 (re Collier), 239 (re AHA). 6 Mary Spongberg, Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave, London, 2002), pp.1–2, 6, 9–10, 63, 68, 70, 74–9, 107. 7 Spongberg, Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance, pp.65, 75–6, 80–86, 101–3. See also Devoney Looser, British Women Writers and the Writing of History, 1670–1820 (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2000), which has chapters on Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Catherine Macaulay, and Jane Austen. Concerning Germaine de Staël as exile, foreigner, pariah, stranger, see Smith, The Gender of History, pp.30–4. 8 Cf. Julie Des Jardins, Women and the Historical Enterprise in America, 1880 to 1945 (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London, 2003). 9 Alice Clark, Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century (1919; Routledge, London, 1992); Ivy Pinchbeck, Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution 1750–1850 (1930; Frank Cass, London, 1968). 10 Beard, Woman as Force in History, p.11. 11 Information in this paragraph comes mainly from Nancy Cott, A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard through her Letters (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1991), pp.1–62. 12 Mary Beard, On Understanding Women (Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1931), quote at <http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAWritter.htm>.

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Notes to pages 159–64

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Beard to Publisher, 10 November 1944, in Cott, A Woman Making History, p.254. Beard, Woman as Force in History, pp.63–4, 68, 282. Ibid., pp.88, 132, 214. Ibid., pp.105, 110–14, 158. Ibid., pp.48, 282, 288. Ibid., pp.245, 257, 295, 317–18, 333–4. Ibid., p.318. Following the uses of ‘gender’ emerging in sexology and psychoanalysis in the 1960s, in the work of Robert Stoller, Sex and Gender: On the Development of Masculinity and Femininity (Science House, New York, 1968), and Alex Comfort, Sex in Society (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1964). 21 Both Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex and Betty Freidan’s earlier and very important The Feminine Mystique (1963) were dedicated to de Beauvoir, while Kate Millett later wrote: ‘I owe a great debt to The Second Sex. I couldn’t have written Sexual Politics without it.’ See Penny Forster and Imogen Sutton, Daughters of de Beauvoir (Women’s Press, London, 1989), p.22. 22 Kate Weigand, Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women’s Liberation (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2001), p.144; see also Ellen C. Dubois, ‘Eleanor Flexner and the History of American Feminism’, Gender and History, vol.3, no.1, 1991, pp.81–90. 23 Weigand, Red Feminism, p.142, and passim. 24 Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle:The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States (1959; Belknap, Boston, 1996); Aileen Kraditor, The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement 1890–1920 (Anchor, New York, 1965);Weigand, Red Feminism, p.147. 25 Kate Millett, Sexual Politics (1970; Abacus, London, 1971). Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex (William Morrow and Co., New York, 1970), pp.27–33. 26 See the use of the notion of ‘second wave feminism’ in Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex, p.16, and Millett, Sexual Politics, p.363. 27. See Karen Offen, Ruth Roach Pierson and Jane Rendall (eds), Writing Women’s History: International Perspectives (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1991), which despite its title is organised almost entirely along national lines. 28 Gerda Lerner, Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 2003);Weigand, Red Feminism; interview with Gerda Lerner in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3 May 2002, on the Temple University Press website, <http://www.temple.edu/tempress/authors/1635_qa.html>. See also Gerda Lerner, No Farewell, A Novel (Associated Authors, New York, 1955). Eleanor Flexner reviewed for the Daily Worker in April 1951 a musical by Gerda Lerner and Eve Merriam, Singing of Women, at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City; see Weigand, Red Feminism, p.114. 29 Jennifer Scanlon and Shaaron Cosner, American Women Historians, 1700s–1990s: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood Press,Westport, CT, 1996), pp.144–6. 30 Ibid.; Gerda Lerner, ‘Women among the Professors of History’, in Eileen Boris and Nupur Chaudhuri (eds), Voices of Women Historians:The Personal, the Political, the Professional (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1999), pp.1–2. 31 Gerda Lerner, The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina: Rebels against Slavery (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1967). 32 Scanlon and Cosner, American Women Historians, 1700s–1990s, p.144. 33 Boris and Chaudhuri (eds), Voices of Women Historians, pp.3–10. Gerda Lerner, The

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

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Notes to pages 164–71

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34 35 36 37

38 39 40 41 42 43

44 45 46 47

48 49 50 51 52 53

54 55 56 57

Woman in American History (Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., Menlo Park, CA, 1971); Lerner, Black Women in White America; A Documentary History (Pantheon Books, New York, 1972). Joan Kelly, Women, History and Theory:The Essays of Joan Kelly (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1984), p.xii. Ibid., p.xiii. Natalie Zemon Davis, A Life of Learning (American Council of Learned Societies, New York, 1997), pp.4–13. Gerda Lerner, ‘New Approaches to the Study of Women in American History’, reprinted in Berenice Carroll (ed.), Liberating Women’s History:Theoretical and Critical Essays (University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1976), pp.26–41. Susan Brownmiller, In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution (Dial Press, New York, 1999), p.23. Lois Banner, Finding Fran: History and Memory in the Lives of Two Women (Columbia University Press, New York, 1998), p.152. Ibid., p.154. Lois Banner, ‘On Writing Women’s History’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol.2, no.2, 1971, p.350. See Micheline Wandor, Once a Feminist: Stories of a Generation (Virago, London, 1990), pp.22, 60, 77, 87–92. Anna Davin, ‘Having Men as History Teachers’, in Luisa Passerini and Polymeris Voglis (eds), Gender in the Production of History (EUI Working Paper HEC Bo, 99/2, European University Institute, Florence, 1999), pp.78–9. Barbara Winslow, ‘Activism and the Academy’, in Boris and Chaudhuri (eds), Voices of Women Historians, pp.224–5. Ibid., pp.224–5. Davin, ‘Having Men as History Teachers’, p.82. Davin, ‘Women and History’, in Micheline Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic:Women’s Liberation in Great Britain, 1969–1972 (Women’s Liberation Workshop, London, 1972), quotes on pp.216, 217, and 224. Interview with Sheila Rowbotham, in MARHO (The Radical Historians Organization) (ed.), Visions of History (Pantheon Books, New York, 1983), pp.49–69. Sheila Rowbotham, Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties (Verso, London, 2001), p.75. Sheila Rowbotham, Women, Resistance and Revolution (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1972). Interview with Rowbotham, in MARHO, Visions of History, p.54. Rowbotham, Women, Resistance and Revolution, pp.11–12. Ann Curthoys, ‘Historiography and Women’s Liberation’, Arena, 21, 1970, pp.35–40. For a discussion of the importance of history to Australian feminism in the 1970s, see Jill Matthews, ‘Writing Women’s History’, in Refracting Voices: Feminist Perspectives from Refractory Girl (Refractory Girl, Sydney, 1993), pp.47–60. Banner, Finding Fran, pp.158–9. See, for example, Carroll Smith Rosenberg, ‘The New Woman and the New History’, Feminist Studies, vol.3, nos.1–2, 1975, pp.171–98. Gerda Lerner, ‘Placing Women in History’ (1975), reprinted in Carroll (ed.), Liberating Women’s History, pp.358–9. Carroll Smith Rosenberg, ‘Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations between

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258

Notes to pages 171–5

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Women in Nineteenth-Century America’, Signs, vol.1, no.1, 1975, pp.1–30. 58 Gayle Rubin, ‘The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economy of Sex’, in Rayna Reiter (ed.), Toward an Anthropology of Women (Monthly Review Press, New York, 1975), pp.157–210. 59 Natalie Zemon Davis, ‘“Women’s History”’ in Transition:The European Case’, Feminist Studies, vol.3, 1976, p.90. 60 Joan Kelly, ‘The Social Relation of the Sexes: Methodological Implications of Women’s History’ in Joan Kelly, Women, History and Theory:The Essays of Joan Kelly (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1985), pp.1–18. Originally appeared in Signs, vol.1, no.4, Summer 1976, pp.809–23. 61 Davis, ‘“Women’s History” in Transition’, pp.83–103. 62 Natalie Zemon Davis, ‘Women on Top: Symbolic Sexual Inversion and Political Disorder in Early Modern Europe’, in Barbara A. Babcock (ed.), The Reversible World: Symbolic Inversion in Art and Society (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1978), pp.147–90.The essay is printed as ‘Women on Top’ in Natalie Zemon Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1975), ch.5. See also John Docker, Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1994), pp.194–5. 63 Kelly, ‘The Social Relation of the Sexes’; Kelly, ‘Did Women Have a Renaissance?’ in Renate Bridenthal and Claudia Koonz (eds), Becoming Visible:Women in European History (Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston, 1977), pp.137–61. 64 Kelly, ‘The Social Relation of the Sexes’, p.2. 65 Sally Alexander and Anna Davin, ‘Editorial’, History Workshop Journal, vol.1, no.1, 1976, pp.4–6. 66 Sheila Rowbotham, ‘The Trouble with “Patriarchy”’, and Sally Alexander and Barbara Taylor, ‘In Defence of “Patriarchy”’, in Raphael Samuel (ed.), People’s History and Socialist Theory (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1981), pp.364–9, 370–4. 67 Rowbotham, ‘The Trouble with “Patriarchy”’, pp.365–6. 68 Alexander and Taylor, ‘In Defence of “Patriarchy”’, p.371. 69 Moira Gatens, ‘A Critique of the Sex/Gender Distinction’, in Judith Allen and Paul Patton (eds), Beyond Marxism? Interventions after Marx (Intervention Publications, Sydney, 1983), pp.3–20. 70 Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies:Toward a Corporeal Feminism (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1994). 71 ‘Elizabeth Ann Fox-Genovese’, in Scanlon and Cosner, American Women Historians, 1700s–1990s, p.80; Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, The Origins of Physiocracy: Economic and Social Order in Eighteenth Century France (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1976). 72 Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, ‘Placing Women’s History in History’, New Left Review, no.33, 1982, p.28. 73 Pat O’Shane, ‘Is there any Relevance in the Women’s Movement for Aboriginal Women?’ Refractory Girl, no.12, September 1976, pp.31–4. 74 bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism (South End Press, Boston, 1981).There is some doubt about the exact wording of the speech, as it was not recorded in detail at the time. Frances D. Gage, an abolitionist and president of the Convention, wrote an account twelve years later, in 1863, the text of which appears in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage (eds), History of Woman Suffrage, vol.I (Susan B. Anthony and Charles Mann, Rochester, NY, 1881), pp.114–17. 75 Bonnie Thornton Dill, ‘Race, Class, and Gender: Prospects for an All-Inclusive

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259

Notes to pages 175–81

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Sisterhood’, Feminist Studies, vol.9, no.1, 1983, pp.131–50. 76 See Ann Curthoys, ‘The Three Body Problem: Feminism and Chaos Theory’, Hecate, vol.17, no.1, 1991, pp.14–21. 77 ‘Joan Wallach Scott’, Scanlon and Cosner, American Women Historians, 1700s–1990s, pp.203–4. 78 Joan Wallach Scott, ‘Women’s History’, Past and Present: A Journal of Historical Studies, no.101, 1983, pp.141–57, reprinted in Joan Wallach Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (Columbia University Press, New York, 1988), pp.15–27. 79 Joan Wallach Scott, ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’, in Scott, Gender and the Politics of History, pp.28–50. Originally published in American Historical Review, vol.91, no.5, 1986. 80 Ibid., pp.46, 48–9. 81 Teresa De Lauretis, ‘Eccentric Subjects: Feminist Theory and Historical Consciousness’, Feminist Studies, vol.16, Spring 1990, pp.115–150, quotes on pp. 134 and 137. 82 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge, New York, 1990), pp.24–5, 140–2. 83 Ibid., pp.35–6. 84 Marilyn Lake, ‘The Politics of Respectability: Identifying the Masculinist Context’, Historical Studies, vol.22, no.86, 1986, pp.116–31. 85 Jill Matthews, ‘New Challenges for Feminist History’, Lilith: A Feminist History Journal, no.12, 2003, pp.4–5. 86 Scott, Gender and the Politics of History, p.2. 87 Joan Wallach Scott, ‘The Evidence of Experience’, in Terence J. McDonald (ed.), The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1996), pp.379–406 (first published in Critical Inquiry, vol.17, 1991, pp.773–97). 88 Joan Wallach Scott, Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996), p.16. 89 Judith P. Zinsser, ‘“Much more is at stake here…”: A response to “The Construction of History”’, Journal of Women’s History, vol.9, no.3, 1997, pp.132–40. See also Martin Bunzl, ‘The Construction of History’, Journal of Women’s History, vol.9, no.3, 1997, pp.119–31; Linda Gordon, ‘Review of Gender and the Politics of History’, Signs, vol.15, no.4, 1990, pp.853–8; Claudia Koonz, ‘Review of Gender and the Politics of History’, Women’s Review of Books, vol.6, no.4, 1989, pp.19–20; Catherine Hall, ‘Review of Gender and the Politics of History’, Gender and History, vol.3, no.2, 1991, pp.204–10.

CHAPTER 9
1 Hayden White, ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’, Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (1978; Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, 1986), ch.3, p.95. 2 See the classic essay by Andreas Huyssen, ‘Mass Culture as Woman: Modernism’s Other’, in Tania Modleski (ed.), Studies in Entertainment (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1986). 3 Cf. Cornell West, ‘Black Culture and Postmodernism’, in Barbara Kruger and Phil Mariani (eds), Remaking History (Bay Press, Seattle, 1989), pp.88, 92. 4 See John Docker, Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994), pp.143–5; also Ann Curthoys and John Docker, ‘Popular Romance in the Postmodern Age’, Continuum, vol.4, no.1, 1990, pp.22–36.

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Notes to pages 182–7

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5 Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith (1969; Harper Colophon, New York, 1972), Introduction, pp.15–16. 6 Ibid., pp.3–6. 7 Ibid., pp.7–9. 8 Ibid., pp.9–10, 12. 9 Ibid., pp.12–13, 17. 10 Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, Appendix, ‘The Discourse of Language’, pp.216–20, 227–32. 11 Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, ed. and introd. Donald F. Bouchard (1977; Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1986), pp.152, 155–6, 158. 12 Ibid., pp.153, 155. 13 Ibid., pp.153–6, 159–60. In the first part of ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’, pp.140–4, referring to the use of Ursprung in Nietzsche, Foucault writes that genealogy opposes itself to the illusory search for an origin as if it is the essence of a unified, continuous and coherent historical process that is held to follow; as if an origin is a ‘timeless and essential secret’, whereas we should recognise that at the beginning of any historical process is ‘dissension’ and ‘disparity’. Foucault’s dislike of origin as chimera (p.144) can be compared to Derrida’s similar dislike in Of Grammatology of origin, which we discussed in chapter 7; and also to Walter Benjamin’s notion that origins are fluid and fractured: see Samuel Weber, ‘Genealogy of Modernity: History, Myth, and Allegory in Benjamin’s Origin of the German Mourning Play’, MLN, vol.106, 1999, pp.468–73. Hannah Arendt, in her dissatisfaction with the title of her The Origins of Totalitarianism was also suspicious of the search for origins, arguing that the historian should trace ‘backwards’ the history of an event: ‘The event illuminates its own past, but it can never be deduced from it.’ See Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1982), pp.200, 203. In chapter 6 we noticed Oakeshott’s suspicion of the notion of origin when it becomes the basis of a teleological view of history. 14 Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, pp.160–2. 15 Ibid., pp.157, 162–3. 16 Cf. Alan Sheridan, Michel Foucault:The Will to Truth (1980;Tavistock, London, 1984), p.90. 17 Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–1977, ed. Colin Gordon (Harvester Wheatsheaf, London, 1980), p.114. See also the translation by Meaghan Morris and Paul Patton (eds), ‘Truth and Power’, Michel Foucault: Power,Truth, Strategy (Feral Publications, Sydney, 1979), pp.29–48 (this is where we first read the interview). 18 Foucault, ‘Truth and Power’ in Power/Knowledge, pp.131–2. 19 Ibid., pp.114–15. 20 See Frank Lentricchia, ‘Foucault’s Legacy: A New Historicism?’ in H. Aram Veeser (ed.), The New Historicism (Routledge, New York, 1989), p.235. 21 Michel de Certeau, Heterologies: Discourse on the Other (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1989), pp.186–92. And indeed, it is hard to miss the certainty of Foucault’s narrative, the taking of aims and intentions for a realised prison system. Historically the Benthamite prison has turned out to be harsh yet not necessarily subject to total control. Prison officials have frequently had to cede powers to the prisoners for the running of the prison.We are reminded that prisons, as well as places of

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261

Notes to pages 187–94

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22 23 24 25 26 27

28 29 30 31

32

33 34 35 36 37

38

severe punishment, humiliation, illness, and privation, did not cease over the centuries to be places of debate, arenas of mixing and discussion. In Iain McCalman’s evocation of Newgate Prison in the late eighteenth century in England, where Lord George Gordon was incarcerated for having insulted the Queen of France, the prison emerges as a kind of lively debating society: Iain McCalman, ‘New Jerusalems: Prophecy, Dissent and Radical Culture in England, 1786–1830’, in Knud Haakanssen (ed.), Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996), p.321. In his autobiography Nelson Mandela says that the prisoners came to exercise a great deal of control even at Robben Island, which he likens at certain times to a ‘university’ in the range and intensity of its discussions and educative activity: Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (1994; Abacus, 1996), pp.556–7. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, trans. Robert Hurley (1976; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1987), pp.3–13. Ibid., pp.17–20. Carl G. Hempel, ‘The Function of General Laws in History’, in Patrick Gardiner (ed.), Theories of History (The Free Press, Glencoe, Illinois, 1959), p.349. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, pp.20–2. Ibid., pp.25–6, 32–3. Ibid., pp.23–4, 33–4. For Foucault and gender, see Lynn Hunt, ‘Foucault’s Subject in The History of Sexuality’, in Domna C. Stanton (ed.), Discourses of Sexuality: From Aristotle to AIDS (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1992), pp.78–93. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, pp.20, 22–4, 27, 32, 35. Ibid., pp.20–2, 25, 29. Ibid., pp.31–2.. On the panoptic narrative strategies of the later volumes of The History of Sexuality, in The Use of Pleasure (1984) and The Care of the Self (1984), see Simon Goldhill, Foucault’s Virginity: Ancient Erotic Fiction and the History of Sexuality (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995), pp.44–5. White, ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’, pp.81–100; also in Robert H. Canary and Henry Kozicki (eds), The Writing of History: Literary Form and Historical Understanding (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1978), pp.41–62. White, ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’, pp.83–6, 88, 92–4, 97, 99. Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (1957; Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1973), pp.43, 54, 243. White, ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’, p.83. Cf. Frank Lentricchia, ‘The Place of Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism’, After the New Criticism (Athlone Press, London, 1980), ch.1, pp.2–26. Henry James, ‘The Art of Fiction’, in Henry James, Representative Selections, ed. L. N. Richardson (University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1966), p.77, quoted in Nancy Partner, ‘Making Up Lost Time:Writing on the writing of history’, Speculum, vol.6, no.1, 1986, p.94. See, for example, Albert Cook, History/Writing (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989); Ann Rigney, The Rhetoric of Historical Representation:Three Narrative Histories of the French Revolution (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990); Anthony Easthope, ‘Romancing the Stone: History-writing and Rhetoric’, Social History, vol.XVIII, 1993, pp.235–49; Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr, Beyond the Great Story: History as Text and Discourse (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995).

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39 See Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist, Mikhail Bakhtin (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1984). 40 Cf. Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, p.71. 41 Dominick LaCapra, Rethinking Intellectual History:Texts, Contexts, Language (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1983), pp.76–81. 42 Ibid., pp.269–70, 281–4, 288–9; also ch.9, ‘Bakhtin, Marxism, and the Carnivalesque’, and LaCapra, ‘Up against the Ear of the Other: Marx after Derrida’, Soundings in Critical Theory (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1989), ch.6, pp.156–9. 43 Edward W. Said, Orientalism (1978; Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1980), pp.3–4, 23–4, 118–19. Cf. Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, essay on ‘What is an Author?’. 44 In Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, Appendix, ‘The Discourse on Language’, p.225, Foucault says that one of the ‘great myths of European culture’ is an opposition between the ‘monopolistic, secret knowledge of oriental tyranny’ and Europe’s supposed ‘universal communication of knowledge and the infinitely free exchange of discourse’; but such seems a rare moment. Cf. Cornell West, ‘Black Culture and Postmodernism’, pp.88–9, 92, and Ann Laura Stoler (ed.), Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Duke University Press, Durham, 1995). 45 Cf. John Docker, ‘The Enlightenment and Genocide’, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, vol.33, no.3, 2003, pp.292–314. 46 Said, Orientalism, pp.118–19, 179–90. 47 Edward W. Said, The World, the Text and the Critic (1983;Vintage, London, 1991), pp.250–3. 48 See interview with Said in Michael Sprinker (ed.), Edward Said: A Reader (Blackwell, Cambridge, MA, 1992), pp.240–1. 49 Dipesh Chakrabarty, Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2002), pp.7–9. 50 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, translator of Derrida’s Of Grammatology (1974), also had an impact on the group. 51 Gyan Prakash, ‘Writing Post-Orientalist Histories of the Third World: Perspectives from Indian Historiography’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol.32, no.2, 1990, p.406. 52 Gyanendra Pandey, ‘In Defense of the Fragment:Writing about Hindu-Muslim Riots in India Today’, Representations, no.37,Winter 1992, pp.29, 40–1, 50–1. 53 Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History:Who Speaks for “Indian” Pasts?’, Representations, no.37,Winter 1992, pp.1–2, 19. 54 Ibid., p.23. 55 Gossman, ‘History and Literature: Reproduction or Signification’, in Canary and Kozicki (eds), The Writing of History, pp.32, 36, 39. Cf. Hayden White, ‘The Burden of History’, Tropics of Discourse, ch.1, p.43. 56 Peter Burke (ed.), New Perspectives on Historical Writing (Polity Press, London, 1991), pp.238–9. 57 Ibid., p.241. See Clifford Geertz, Interpretation of Cultures (Basic Books, New York, 1973), pp.3–31, Carlo M. Cipolla, Cristofano and the Plague: A Study of the History of Public Health in the Age of Galileo (University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1973), and Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1983).

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58 Carlo Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms:The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller (1976; Penguin, London, 1992), and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Montaillou:The Promised Land of Error (1978; G. Braziller, New York, 1978). See also Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (Vintage, New York, 1985); LaCapra, History and Criticism (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1985), pp.45–69. 59 Burke, New Perspectives on Historical Writing, pp.240–6. Cf. Ann Curthoys, ‘Sex and Racism in Australia in the 1960s’, in Jane Long, Jan Gothard, and Helen Brash (eds), Forging Identities: Bodies, Gender and Feminist History (University of Western Australia Press, Perth, 1997). 60 John Demos, The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story From Early America (Knopf, New York, 1995), pp.237–41. 61 Burke, New Perspectives on Historical Writing, p.245; Donald Richie (ed.), Rashomon (1987; Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 1994). 62 See Donald Richie (ed.), Focus on Rashomon (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1972). 63 Richard Price, Alabi’s World (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1990), pp.xvi–xviii. 64 Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, pp.5–7, 14–17, 69–73, 111–37. 65 Cf. Rosenstone, ‘Confessions of a Postmodern (?) Historian’, Rethinking History, vol.8, no.1, 2004, pp.158–60. Rosenstone confides, p.160, that until the reviews came out in 1989 referring to Mirror in the Shrine as a work of postmodern history, ‘I had hardly ever encountered the word post-modern before’. 66 Robert A. Rosenstone, Mirror in the Shrine: American Encounters with Meiji Japan (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1988), pp.xii–xiii, 112, 137, 202–3. Cf. Brian Matthews, Louisa (1987; Penguin, Melbourne, 1988). 67 Rosenstone, Mirror in the Shrine, p.272. 68 Burke, New Perspectives on Historical Writing, p.238. 69 Demos, The Unredeemed Captive, p.75. See also Simon Schama, Dead Certainties (Unwanted Speculations) (Knopf, New York, 1991), and John Rickard, A Family Romance: The Deakins at Home (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1996).

CHAPTER 10
1 Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith (1969; Harper Colophon, New York, 1972), p.14. 2 Bryan Palmer, Descent into Discourse:The Reification of Language and the Writing of Social History (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1990), pp.xiv, 199. 3 Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth about History (W.W. Norton, New York, 1994). 4 Cf. Lynn Hunt (ed.), The New Cultural History (University of California Press, Berkeley and London, 1989). 5 Richard J. Evans, In Defence of History (Granta Books, London, 1997). 6 Deborah E. Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust.The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (The Free Press/Macmillan, New York, 1991), p.18. 7 See Perez Zagorin, ‘History, the Reference, and Narrative: Reflections on Postmodernism Now’, History and Theory, vol.38, no.1, 1999, pp.1–24; Michael Dintenfass, ‘Truth’s Other: Ethics, the History of the Holocaust, and Historiographical

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Theory after the Linguistic Turn’, History and Theory, vol.39, no.1, 2000, pp.1–20. 8 Saul Friedländer (ed.), Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1992). 9 Hayden White, ‘Historical Emplotment and the Problem of Truth’, in Friedländer (ed.), Probing the Limits of Representation, pp.37–53, here p.41. 10 Martin Jay, ‘Of Plots,Witnesses, and Judgments’, in Friedländer (ed.), Probing the Limits of Representation, pp.98, 104, 105. 11 LaCapra, ‘Representing the Holocaust: Reflections on the Historians’ Debate’, in Friedländer (ed.), Probing the Limits of Representation, pp.110–11, 118. 12 Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust, p.181. 13 Ibid., pp.220–2. 14 Richard Evans, Telling Lies about Hitler:The Holocaust, History and the David Irving Trial (Verso, London, 2002); also ‘History, Memory, and the Law:The Historian as Expert Witness’, History and Theory, vol.41, October 2002, pp.326–45. 15 A point Irving himself later commented on. In The Nation in May 2004, Irving wrote: ‘Describing me, he refers to my shoddy suit and badly scuffed shoes. In fact the pinstripe suit, purchased for the trial just a week before it began, had cost £2,700 (pounds, not dollars) at Gieves & Hawkes, while the black shoes (£410 from Church’s) were even newer.’ 16 See E.H. Carr, What is History? (1961; Penguin, London, 1965), pp.26–7. 17 Keith Jenkins, Re-thinking History (Routledge, London and New York, 1991). (The Magritte is not on the cover of the 2003 Routledge Classics edition of Re-thinking History.) 18 Dintenfass, ‘Truth’s Other’, p.20. 19 Dan Stone, Constructing the Holocaust: A Study in Historiography (Vallentine Mitchell, London and Portland, 2003). 20 Stone refers to Steven Aschheim, Culture and Catastrophe (Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1996), pp.13 and 193 note 9. 21 Appleby, Hunt, and Jacob, Telling the Truth about History, p.7. 22 See also Dan Stone, ‘Nazism as Modern Magic: Bronislaw Malinowski’s Political Anthropology’, History and Anthropology, vol.14, no.3, 2003, pp.205, 207, 212–14, and ‘Genocide as Transgression’, European Journal of Social Theory, vol.7, no.1, 2004, pp.46–9, 52–9.

CHAPTER 11
1 Tessa Morris-Suzuki, English manuscript, unpublished. A version in Japanese is found in Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Hihanteki Souzouryoku no Tameni: Guro-baruka Jidai no Nippon [For Critical Imaginations: Japan in the Era of Globalisation], Heibon-sha, 2002, pp.57–8. Quoted by Minoru Hokari in ‘Globalising Aboriginal Reconciliation: Indigenous Australians and Asian (Japanese) Migrants’, Cultural Studies Review, vol.9, no.2, 2003, pp.84–101. 2 See Gary B. Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and Ross E. Dunn, History on Trial (Vintage Books, New York, 2000), pp.124–7. 3 On the script revision, see Nash, Crabtree, and Dunn, History on Trial, pp.124–7; on the historians’ objections, see Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz (eds), ‘Introduction’, Hiroshima’s Shadow:Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy (Pampleteer’s Press, Stony Creek, CT, 1998), p.xxxiv; on the Senate vote, see J. Samuel

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Notes to pages 222–8

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4

5

6 7 8 9

10 11 12 13 14 15 16

17 18

19 20

Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction:Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1997), p.107. Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–1977, ed. Colin Gordon (Harvester Wheatsheaf, London, 1980), p.132; <http://www.historians.org/ press/MuseumS.cfm>. Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction, p.102. See a selection from the book which appears as P.M.S. Blackett, ‘The Decision to Use the Bombs’, in Bird and Lifschultz (eds), Hiroshima’s Shadow, pp.78–89, this quote on p. 87. See also Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell, Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial (G.P. Putnam, New York, 1995), p.271. Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction, p.105; Lifton and Mitchell, Hiroshima in America, p.274. Dennis D.Wainstock, The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb (Praeger,Westport, CT., 1996), pp.124–32. Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction, pp.105–6. John.W. Dower, ‘Three Narratives of our Humanity’, in Edward T. Linenthal and Tom Engelhardt (eds), History Wars:The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past (Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1996), pp. 63–96, this quote on p.80. For a discussion of further historical research, see Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction, p. 108. Recent defences of the traditional view appear in Robert P. Newman, Enola Gay and the Court of History (Peter Lang Publishing, New York, 2004), and Robert P. Newman, ‘Remember the Smithsonian’s Atomic Bomb Exhibit? You Only Think You Know the Truth’, History News Network, 2 August 2004, <http://hnn.us/articles/6597.html>. For recent developments, see Timothy W. Luke, ‘Displaying the Enola Gay, Hiding Hiroshima’, Arena Journal no.22, 2004, pp.73–81. Daqing Yang, ‘A Sino-Japanese Controversy:The Nanjing Atrocity as History’, SinoJapanese Studies, vol.3, no.1, November 1990, pp.14–35, this quote on page 14. Ibid., p.16. Later, the History Department at Nanjing University conducted detailed research. Ibid., pp.18–9. Ibid., pp.19, 22–3. Ibid., reference to Croce on p.28, and to the Rashomon effect on p.29. Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking:The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (BasicBooks, New York, 1997), reference to Rashomon effect on p. 14. Hata Ikuhiko, ‘The Nanking Atrocities: Fact and Fable’, Japan Echo, vol.25, no.4, 1998, pp. 47–57, Ikuhiko quote on p.55; Joshua A. Fogel, ‘Review of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, by Iris Chang’, Journal of Asian Studies, vol.57, no.3, 1998, pp. 818–19; Daqing Yang, ‘Convergence or Divergence? Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing’, American Historical Review, vol.104, no.3, 1999, pp.842–65, this reference p.862. Yang, ‘Convergence or Divergence?’, quotes on pp. 851 and 865. Daqing Yang, ‘The Challenges of the Nanjing Massacre’, in Joshua. A. Fogel (ed.), The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000), p.161. Ibid., p.166. See also Daqing Yang, ‘Challenges of Trans-National History: historians and the Nanjing Atrocity’, SAIS Review, vol.19, no.2 (Summer–Fall), 1999, pp.133–47; Daqing Yang, ‘The Malleable and the Contested:The Nanjing Massacre in Postwar Japan and

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Notes to pages 229–34

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21 22

23 24

25 26 27 28

29

30

31 32

33

34

China’, in T. Fujitani et al., Perilous Memories:The Asia-Pacific War(s) (Duke University Press, Durham, 2001). San Francisco Chronicle, 20 November 2004, <http://www.sfgate.com>; <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_Chang> Keith Windschuttle, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History:Volume One.Van Diemen’s Land, 1803–1847 (Macleay Press, Sydney, 2002). See Ann Curthoys, ‘The Killing of History and the History of Killing’, in Antoinette Burton (ed.), Archive Stories (Duke University Press, Durham, 2005). Stuart Macintyre and Anna Clark, The History Wars (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2003). Lyndall Ryan, The Aboriginal Tasmanians, 2nd edition (1981; Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1996), especially chs 12 and 13; Henry Reynolds, The Fate of a Free People (Penguin, Melbourne, 1995). Geoffrey Blainey,‘Native Fiction’, a review of Windschuttle in The New Criterion, vol.21, no.8, April 2003, <http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/21/apr03/blainey.htm>. Eve Vincent and Clare Land, ‘Silenced Voices’, Arena Magazine, no. 67, October–November 2003, p.19. Robert Manne, Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Aboriginal History (Black Inc. Agenda, Melbourne, 2003); Macintyre, The History Wars, pp.161–70. Macintyre, History Wars, p.164; Bain Attwood, ‘Historiography on the Australian Frontier’, in Bain Attwood and Stephen Foster (eds), Frontier Conflict:The Australian Experience (National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2003), pp.169–84. Lyndall Ryan, ‘Who is the Fabricator?’, in Manne, Whitewash, pp.230–57. Keith Windschuttle, ‘Whitewash Confirms the Fabrication of Aboriginal History’, Quadrant, October 2003, pp.14–15; ‘Historical Error versus Historical Invention: A Reply to Stuart Macintyre and Patricia Grimshaw on The Fabrication of Aboriginal History’, Australian Historical Studies, vol.36, no.124, October 2004, pp.375–82. See also the arguments presented by Boyce,Tardif, Hansen, Pybus, and McFarlane in Manne (ed.), Whitewash. In an unpublished chapter of his planned book on the history of genocide, Raphaël Lemkin discussed at length the ways the British colonisation of Tasmania constitutes genocide in terms of his definition: the incoming British destroyed the foundations of life of Tasmanian Aboriginal society, so that it could no longer function as a society, and replaced it with another, the British-settler society. See ‘Lemkin on Tasmania’, ed. and introd. by Ann Curthoys, Patterns of Prejudice, vol.39, no.2, 2005, pp.162–96. Ann Curthoys, ‘Constructing National Histories’, in Attwood and Foster (eds), Frontier Conflict, pp.185–200. Cf. Hal Wootten, ‘Conflicting Imperatives: Pursuing Truth in the Courts’, in Iain McCalman and Ann McGrath (eds), Proof and Truth:The Humanist as Expert (The Australian Academy of the Humanities, Canberra, 2003), p.29. For critiques of Windschuttle, see Robert Manne, ‘Blind to Truth, and Blind to History’, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 December 2002; Stuart Macintyre, ‘History, Politics and the Philosophy of History’, Australian Historical Studies, vol.35, no.123, April 2004, p.136. For Windschuttle’s reply, apropos the need to be ‘dispassionate’, see transcript of debate on ‘Lateline’, ABC Radio National, 3 September 2003, <http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2003/s938399.htm>. Alan Atkinson, ‘Do Good Historians have Feelings?’, in Stuart Macintyre (ed.), The Historian’s Conscience (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2004), pp.23, 26;Tessa

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Notes to pages 234–6

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Morris-Suzuki, quoted in Hokari, ‘Globalising Aboriginal Reconciliation’. 35 For debates over Israel/Palestine, see Avi Shlaim and Eugene Rogan (eds), The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001); Ilan Pappé (ed.), The Israel/Palestine Question: Rewriting Histories (Routledge, London and New York, 1999); and Pappé, A History of Modern Palestine: One Land,Two Peoples (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004). 36 Bonnie G. Smith, The Gender of History: Men,Women and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1998), ch.4. 37 See Ann Curthoys, ‘Cultural history and the nation’, in Hsu-Ming Teo and Richard White (eds), Cultural History in Australia (UNSW Press, Sydney, 2003), pp.22–37. 38 For US debates, see The Nation and Beyond:Transnational Perspectives on United States History, special issue, The Journal of American History, vol.86, no.3, 1999; David Thelen, ‘Of Audiences, Borderlands and Comparisons:Toward the Internationalisation of American History’, Journal of American History, vol.79, no.2, 1992, pp.432–62; Thomas Bender (ed.), Rethinking American History in a Global Age (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2002). For England, see A.G. Hopkins, ‘Back to the Future: From National History to Imperial History’, Past and Present, no.164, 1999, pp.198–243. 39 See Marilyn Lake, ‘White Man’s Country:The Trans-National History of a National Project’, Australian Historical Studies, vol.34, no.122, October 2003, pp.346–63. 40 Minoru Hokari, ‘Anti-Minorities History: Perspectives on Aboriginal-Asian Relations’, in Penny Edwards and Shen Yuanfang (eds), Lost in the Whitewash: From Federation to Reconciliation (Humanities Research Centre, Canberra, 2003); Hokari, ‘Globalising Aboriginal Reconciliation’, pp.84–101.

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index

Page numbers in bold print refer to main entries. Aboriginal people, see Australian Aboriginal people; indigenous peoples absolutism, see autocracy accidents, see catastrophe; chance activism 100–101, 158, 163, 165–67, 169 Acton, Lord 10, 70–71, 76–82, 84, 89, 91–92, 119 actuality (White) 191 see also Ranke, Leopold von: wie es eigentlich gewesen Aeschylus 86 Africa 18–19, 25, 27, 59, 64, 66, 114, 132–33 African Americans 7–8, 72 agency 179, 199 Akutasawa, Ryunosuke 203 Albigensian heresy 73 Alcibiades 45, 125 Alexander, Sally 172 Alexander (or Paris) 20 alienation 93, 120

allegory 2, 31, 55, 94–95 Alperovitz, Gar 223 alterity of the past 119, 140, 183 alternative endings 202–3 Althusser, Louis 140 amateur historians 154–57 Amazons 19, 23–24, 30, 172 ambiguity 142, 151–52 America (continent) 27, 57, 60 see also North America; South America American Historical Association 96, 101, 115, 134, 156, 164 American Jewish Historical Society 112 American Legion 223 American Woman Suffrage Association 158 analogies, see metaphors analysis, see historical analysis analytical philosophy Hempel 109–10 Hexter 141–42, 144, 151 Vann 141 ancient history, see classical antiquity Anderson, Perry 167 androcentrism, see masculinity

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269

Index

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Anglo-American culture, see English-speaking world Anglo-Germanic people (Ranke) 60 Anglophone world, see English-speaking world Annales school 126, 182 anthropology 141, 144–47, 162, 171 antiquarianism Nietzsche 74, 76 women’s writing 68, 156 antiquity, see classical antiquity anti-semitism, see Jews apocalyptic views 10, 93, 108 Appleby, Joyce, see Telling the Truth about History (1994) Arabs 12–13, 59 archaeology 55, 103, 147, 151 archetypes 192–93 arche-writing (Derrida) 148 archives gendered metaphors 99, 155 history wars 233 subaltern studies 199 transnational history 236 women’s research 156, 178–79 Arena 169 Arendt, Hannah 17, 37, 42, 47, 111–12, 119–22, 136 Benjamin and 10, 106–9, 112, 120 art, history as 71, 75–76, 83, 85–86, 98, 122, 135 art history 71, 84, 94–95 Arthur, king 61 Asad,Talal 9 Aschheim, Steven 217 Asia 4, 22, 24, 26, 28, 57, 145 Athenaeum Fragments 31 Athenians Derrida on Socrates 150 Herodotus’ account 12, 14–16, 24, 26, 28, 30 Thucydides’ account 9, 33–34, 36–49, 85–86, 125 Atkinson, Alan 234 Auerbach, Erich 17, 112 Australia 27, 163–64, 169, 172, 175, 177–78 history wars 4, 220–21, 229–32, 236

Australian Aboriginal people 1, 8, 27, 169, 174–75, 229–31, 236 authoritative writing Foucault 183, 187, 191, 196, 201 postmodernism 204 Price 204 Thucydides 36–37, 183 see also author-narrators; omniscient style author-narrators late 20th century 205 Orientalism 197 Thucydides 36–37 White 193 see also authoritative writing; omniscient style autocracy anti-postmodernism 208 Herodotus 26 Marx 125 Babylon 13, 22 backwards, writing history 203, 210 Baconian science 81, 90 Bakhtin, Mikhail 14, 17, 63, 122, 170–71, 194–96, 202, 204, 212 Menippean writing 31, 65 monologic & polyphonic 31, 37–38, 63, 194–96 Baldwin, James 7–8 Baltic states 59–60, 130 Banner, Lois 10, 166, 170 barbarism Burckhardt 72–73, 134 Croce 92–93 early 20th century 91 Herodotus 14, 17, 29, 34, 121 baroque period 31, 55, 94–95 Barthes, Roland 145–46, 210 baseball analogies 139, 142–44 Beard, Charles A. 76, 100–105, 135, 158, 164 Beard, Mary Ritter 10, 100–101, 154, 158–63, 165, 170, 172, 174 Beauvoir, Simone de 154, 161–62 Bebel, August 160 Becker, Carl L. 76, 96–98, 100, 103–4, 121, 135 Belgian revolution (1830) 53

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Bellamy, Sue 169 below, history from, see history from below Benjamin, Dora 106 Benjamin,Walter 10, 14, 31, 76, 93–95, 106–9, 112–13, 120 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians 170 Berlin, Isaiah 117–19, 129, 133, 136, 184, 233 Bible 51, 61, 77 biographies 18th century 51 late 20th century 204–5 women writers 156–57 Black Dwarf 168 Blackett, P.M.S. 223 Blackstone, Sir William 159–60 Bloch, Marc 126 Blücher, Heinrich 109 Boleyn, Anne 88 Bonaparte, Louis 124–25 Bonwick, James 229 Borges, Jorge Luis 30 Braudel, Fernand 126–28 British Empire 27, 55, 62, 197–99, 229–30, 232, 236 see also Australia British historians 50, 70–71, 76–93, 125–26, 140, 199, 209, 214, 236 see also Acton; Berlin; Bury; Butterfield; Carr; Collingwood British history 58–59, 62–64, 112, 125, 236 British history wars 220, 223 British novels 62–64, 68, 96 British women historians 156–59, 163–64, 166–67, 169, 172, 175–76 Burckhardt, Jacob 71–73, 75, 81, 134 Burke, Edmund 81, 234 Burke, Peter 202–5, 210 Bury, J.B. 10, 82–89, 93, 95, 98 Butler, Judith 177 Butler, Marilyn 68 Butterfield, Herbert 10, 98–101, 128, 140 Byron, Lord 67 Caesar, Julius 96, 104, 109 Calvino, Italo 205 Cambridge Modern History 81–82, 91

Cambridge University 70, 76, 78–79, 82, 84–85, 98, 129, 198 Canada 164–65, 175, 236 capitalism anti-postmodernism 208 Marx 122–23, 125 Thompson 140 women historians 157, 160, 173 Carlyle,Thomas 76, 85 carnivalesque mode Bakhtin 195–96 Herodotus 21 Marx 124–25, 184, 196 carnivals Bakhtin 195 women’s history 171–72 Carr, E.H. 1, 10, 119, 129–34, 136, 141, 144, 152, 209, 216 Carthaginians 18, 45 Casablanca (film) 1–2 catastrophe 9 20th century 90–91, 93, 103, 106, 108, 116, 121–22 Benjamin 94 Bury 83 Geyl 116 Herodotus 25 Marx 125 Ranke 116 Thucydides 43–47, 49 see also chance; genocide Catholics 62, 64, 76–78, 81, 188–89 Catt, Carrie Chapman 160 causal laws Beard (CA) 101 Benjamin 95 Bury 87–88 Carr 130 early 20th century 91 European notions 2 history wars 222 Marx 123 Oakeshott 129 postmodernism 182 Trevelyan 84 Vann 138–39 Celan, Paul 115 censorship

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271

Index

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Acton 77 Foucault 187 history wars 222, 227 Certeau, Michel de 187 Chadwick, Owen 76–80 Chakrabarty, Dipesh 8–9, 199–201 Champollion, Jean François 55 chance Bury 83, 87–88 Carr 130 postmodernism 183–84 see also catastrophe Chang, Iris 226–29 characterisation Bakhtin 195–96 Hexter 143–44, 151 Ranke 70 Scott’s novels 68 Thucydides 37 White 191–92 see also individuals Charlemagne 58, 61, 112–13 China 4, 30, 135, 200, 202, 224–29 chivalry Ranke 61 Scott’s novels 50, 62–65 Christianity 9, 51, 55, 57–61, 64–65, 72–73, 112–13, 120, 188–90, 230 chronicle Croce 92–93, 108, 131 White 192 chronology 203, 210 chronotope 195 Cicero 13 Cipolla, Carlo 202 civilisation Burckhardt 72–73 Collingwood 103 Croce 92–93 early 20th century 91 Geyl 117 Lemkin 113 Lévi-Strauss 145 Ranke 72–73 civil rights movement 163, 165, 169 Clark, Alice 157 class anti-postmodernism 207

Beard (CA) 102–3, 110 feminism and 162–63, 168, 175–77 Marx 123–25 Thompson 139 classical antiquity 18th century 51 Acton 81 Arendt 120–21 Barthes 145 Benjamin 94 Bury & Cornford 82, 85–87 Carr 129 Nietzsche 73 Ranke 52, 54–56, 66 Scott’s novels 63 Stone and 219 Western heritage 9 White 193 women’s education 160 see also Greece; Herodotus; Roman history;Thucydides classification 145, 183 Cleon 40–41, 125 Cleopatra’s nose 69, 87–88 Clio 100, 128 Cohen, Sande 209 cold war 7, 116, 130, 181, 206, 222–23 Collier, Frances 156 Collingwood, R.G. 76, 90, 103–5, 121, 131–32, 209 Collins,Wilkie 30 colonisation European 116, 157 feminist historians 177 genocide and 112, 114 Herodotus 25, 27–28 history wars 4, 221, 229–32, 234–35 Holocaust denial 8 Orientalism 197 Ranke 58–61 Thucydides 45 colourlessness Bury 89 Ranke 70, 78–80 Columbia University 100–101, 158, 164, 166 Columbus, Christopher 221 comedy

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272

Index

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Herodotus 21 White 192–93 communism 116, 123, 162, 164, 208, 222–23 Comte, Auguste 118 concepts 7 Derrida 150–52 Nietzsche 137 connotation (Hexter) 142–44, 151–52 Conrad, Joseph 30, 143 conservatism anti-postmodernism 206 Fox-Genovese 174 history wars 4, 230, 232, 234 Ranke 52–53, 80, 102, 117 contemporary history 18th century 51 Beard (CA) 101 Carr 131 Croce 93, 225 history wars 225 Thucydides 33–34, 36, 48, 216 contexts Foucault 7 New Criticism 192 contingency (Bury) 87–89, 233 continuity and discontinuity Benjamin 95, 107–8 postmodernism 182, 186–87, 201, 206 controversies, see history wars; Holocaust Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Profession 164 Cornford, Francis Macdonald 10, 85–87 cosmopolitanism, see transnationalism cricket analogies 138–39 critical history (Nietzsche) 74, 76 critical theory, see cultural theory critical thinking, see judgement Croce, Benedetto 10, 76, 91–93 Arendt and 120 Beard (CA & Mary) and 101, 103–4, 158 Becker and 96, 103–4 Benjamin and 108, 113, 120 Berlin and 119 Carr and 129–31, 209 Collingwood and 103–4, 209 Derrida and 149 Foucault and 182, 185–86

Said and 198 Telling the Truth about History and 208–9 Yang and 225 Cromwell, Oliver 85 Crusades 50, 57–61, 81 cultural criticism, see cultural theory cultural history Annales school 126 anti-postmodernism 208 Bakhtin 194 Barthes 145–46 Burckhardt 71–72 Derrida 137 Herodotus 3, 23, 30, 35, 47, 146, 179, 181 late 20th century 180, 182 Lemkin 111–12 Orientalism 198 Ranke 135 Thompson 140 women writers 156, 179 cultural studies, see cultural theory cultural theory anti-postmodernism 207 Bakhtin 194 Barthes 145 Benjamin 107 Carr 141 feminism 176 Herodotus 14, 30, 66 history and fiction 5–6 late 20th century 180 literary modernism 93 Marx 124 Ranke 61 Thompson 140 Curthoys, Ann 27, 169 cynicism Burckhardt 72 Carr 130–31 Herodotus 86 Thucydides 86 Cyrus, king of Persia 22–23 Dada 217 Danes 60 Danto, Arthur C. 138, 142 Darius, king of Persia 15, 26, 28 Darnton, Robert 209

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273

Index

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data (White) 192 Davies, Norman 203 Davin, Anna 10, 125, 167–69, 172 Davis, Natalie Zemon 10, 165, 170, 172, 209 The Return of Martin Guerre 202–3 deconstruction, see poststructuralism Deleuze, Gilles 10 Delphic oracle 19, 22 democracy Arendt 120 Beard (CA) 101, 106 Beard (Mary) 161 Bury 88 Croce 91 Herodotus’ discussion 25–26 Marx 124–25 Thucydides’ description 33, 36, 41–42, 45–47 demography Annales school 126 feminist history 171 population (Foucault) 188 Demos, John 203, 205 denotative language (Hexter) 143–44, 151 Derrida, Jacques 14, 128, 137, 143, 146–52, 176, 178, 185, 199, 208, 211 ‘There is nothing outside the text’ 148 truth 150 Descartes, René 87 description 6, 180, 204 detail Bury 89 faithfulness to (Ranke) 54–56 history wars 231 particulars (Ranke) 56 women’s writing 68 determinism (inevitability) Annales school 127 anti-postmodernism 206–9 Beard (CA) 102 Berlin 117–19 Carr 130 Croce 119 Derrida 151 feminism 162 Foucault 184 Frye 193

Herodotus 21 dialectic Benjamin 95 feminism 163 Hegel 95 dialogic exchange 195, 212–13 Dickens, Charles 30 differences Foucault 183, 185, 206 Jenkins 5 poststructuralism 181 between women 174 digression (Herodotus) 15, 32 Dill, Bonnie Thornton 175 Dintenfass, Michael 217 Diodotus 40–41, 44 Dionysius of Halicarnassus 34 diplomatic history Herodotus 3, 30, 47 history wars 223, 225 masculinity 155, 179 postmodernism 181 Ranke 70 Thucydides 3 disaster, see catastrophe discipline of history, see profession of history discontinuity, see continuity and discontinuity discourse 10 anti-postmodernism 207–8 late 20th century 201 postmodernism 183, 186–91 Said 197–98 disinterestedness, see impartiality Dobb, Maurice 125 documents 4–5 Acton 81 Benjamin 107 Carr 131, 141 Collingwood 104 Croce 92–93, 108, 186 Evans 210 gendered metaphors 99 history wars 225, 227, 229, 231–32 Holocaust denial 212, 216–17 Ranke 53, 70, 78, 81 Scott’s novels 66 subaltern studies 199

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274

Index

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Thucydides 36 Döllinger, Father 77 Dostoevsky, Fyodor 31, 37, 130, 194 doubleness of history 11 Carr 131 Herodotus & Thucydides 13, 30–31, 48, 71 profession of history 71 Western historical writing 116 Dower, John W. 223 drama Acton 79 Benjamin 93–95 Burckhardt 72 Bury 85 Herodotus 13, 25 Lerner 164 Scott 62 Thucydides 85 Durdin, F.Tillman 224 East and West, see Orientalism Eastern Europe 113 economic history Annales school 126–27 Carr 130 Herodotus 30 Lemkin 111–12 Marx 123–24, 208 postmodernism 185 transnational 235 women historians 157, 160–61, 166 Edgeworth, Maria 68 education Beard (CA & Mary) 100–101 Holocaust denial 213 women 155, 160, 167–68 Edwardian culture 91 Egypt 9, 12–13, 15, 18–23, 26–27, 29–30, 55, 104, 147 Egyptology 51, 54–55, 75 Eliot, George 77 Eliot,T.S. 93, 120 elites Herodotus 26 subaltern studies 198–99 Elton, Geoffrey 209 émigrés, see refugee historians

emotion (Trevelyan) 85 empiricism 102, 109–10, 122, 134, 182, 186, 206, 212, 229–30 see also research Engels, Friedrich 122, 160 England, see British English-speaking world 110, 126, 135, 159, 161, 163, 170, 194, 224 Enlightenment 30, 54, 108, 160, 190, 197–98 Enola Gay, see Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing environmental history 177 epic genre (White) 192 epic poetry 20–21, 49, 85 epochs, see periodicity Ermarth, Elizabeth Deeds 209 erotic history, see sexual history errors 4, 226–27, 229 see also lies and fabrication ethics, see morality; research ethics ethnicity, see race & ethnicity ethnography Carr 141 Foucault 183 Herodotus 19–20 Price 204 women’s writing 68 Europe colonisation & imperialism 4, 27, 114, 116, 230 community of nations 117 feminism 161–62 history as discipline & profession 50–52, 55, 83 literature 31, 51, 62, 181 medieval & Renaissance history 50, 60–65, 71–73, 79, 81, 104, 126, 160, 171 modern history 47, 76–79, 91–93, 95, 103, 121, 124–26, 141, 191–93, see also Holocaust nationalism 116 non-European cultures compared 1–2, 28, 144–45, 197–200 non-European relations 8–9, 26, 57–61, 64–65, 132–33, 135, 145, 200 refugees from, see refugee historians Evans, Richard J. 152, 209–11, 214–17,

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229, 236 events 20th century historians 136 Annales school 127 Becker 96–98 Berlin 119 Collingwood 105 Hempel 109–10, 138 history wars 226, 233 Holocaust denial 212 Lévi-Strauss 145 Marx 125 postmodernism 182–85 Ranke 56 White 180 everyday history Herodotus 3, 35, 48, 66 women’s writing 68 see also working people evidence 2 Carr 132 Collingwood 104–5 early 20th century 91 Evans 211 Foucault 187 Hexter 142 history wars 224–25, 227–28, 232 Holocaust denial 213–15, 217–18 late 20th century 205 Scott’s novels 62 subaltern studies 199 Thucydides 49 Trevelyan 84 evolution Benjamin 95 Bury 83, 88 Croce 93 Marx 122 postmodernism 186 Trevelyan 85 experience (feminist historians) 178–79 experimentation, literary 204–6, 209, 233 explanation Bury 88 Derrida 152 feminist historians 178 Hempel 109–11, 138, 188 Hexter 143–44, 151–52

late 20th century 201 Lévi-Strauss 145 Marx 125 New Criticism 192 eye-witnesses Ranke 70 women’s writing 68 see also contemporary history fabrication, see lies and fabrication facts 6 Beard (Mary) 158 Becker 96–97 Bury 83 Butterfield 98–99 Carr 1, 130–33 Collingwood 105 Evans 210 feminist historians 178 Foucault 187 history wars 4, 227 Holocaust denial 212 Marx 124 Nietzsche 92 Ranke 57, 70, 135 Thucydides 36, 86 Trevelyan 84–85 White 192 women’s writing 68 faith Beard (CA) 101–2, 106 falsification, see lies and fabrication falsity, see truth family history 68, 156–57, 160–61, 172, 176 fantasy, see wonders farce Marx 124–25 White 192 fascism 91, 106–7, 116, 211 Faulkner,William 203 Febvre, Henri 126 feminism historical writing 154–79 literary criticism 67–68 see also women’s movement feminist historians 153, 164–79, 206 Ferris, Ina 67

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Fichte, J.G. 54, 135 fiction, see literature films 6, 203–4 Rashomon effect 183, 203–4, 224, 226–27, 233 Finns 59 Firestone, Shulamith 162–63 first-person narratives, see ‘I’ voice fish metaphor (Carr) 131–33, 141 Flaubert, Gustave 23, 198 Flemish 59 Flexner, Eleanor 162–63 fluency (Thompson) 140 Fogel, Joshua 226–27 footnotes Evans 210 Hexter 142 history wars 227, 229, 231 Holocaust denial 214 Formalism, Russian 194 forms 2–3 history wars 233 late 20th century 201–3 White 193 Foucault, Michel 10, 76, 181–91, 196, 222 critiques of 206, 208–11 double character of discourse 183 genealogy defined 184–85 methodology 7 Orientalism and 197–98 philosophy of event 183 politics of science 138 poststructuralism 128, 176, 185–86, 199 subaltern studies and 199–200 truth 183–84, 186 ‘Truth and Power’ 185–86 Fowles, John 203 Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth 174–75 fragmentation Foucault 187 late 20th century 201–2, 204 fragments Benjamin 95, 106–7, 113 Herodotus 31–32 Hexter 143 subaltern studies 199 France historical & scholarly writing 126,

144–46, 160, 165, 178, 182, 194, 202, 236 history 53, 57–58, 62, 64–65, 76, 82, 124–25, 169–70, 176, 197 travellers & refugees in 91, 106–7, 109, 112 see also French Revolution Franks 112–13 freedom of speech 213–14 Freemasons 55 free will, see determinism French Revolution 84, 98, 102, 160 Freud, Sigmund 112, 163, 194 Friedan, Betty 162 Friedländer, Saul 212 Friedrich Wilhelm IV, king of Prussia 53 Frohschammer. Jakob 77 frontier, see colonisation Frye, Northrop 192–95 future, see prediction Gandhi, Mahatma 25, 47–48, 107–8 Gatens, Moira 172 Geertz, Clifford 202 gender Butterfield 99–100 feminist writing 162, 166, 171, 173–79 Foucault 190 Herodotus 3, 21–25, 47 historical reflection 128–29, 132–33 historical writing 3, 154–61, 180 Ranke 52 Smith (Bonnie) 99 see also women’s history genealogy Foucault 184–85 Nietzsche 184 postmodernism 184–86, 201 women’s writing 68, 157 general laws 20th century historians 136 Annales school 126–27 Berlin 118 Hempel 109–10, 138 Marxists 125 Oakeshott 128 Thompson 139 genocide

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Burckhardt 73 history wars 227, 231–32 Lemkin 17, 45, 60, 111–14 Ranke 60, 73 Thucydides 39, 45, 47 World War II 116 genres Bakhtin 195 Herodotus 21, 30, 48 historical reflection 128 late 20th century 201–2 modernist hierarchy 180 postmodernism 181 Scott’s novels 63, 67 Thucydides 48 Vann 139 White 192–94 women writers 156–57, 179 geography, see place; space George III, king 87 German Idealism 54, 134–35 Germany historians 70, 73, 75–78, 83, 91, 109, 134–35, 236 see also Ranke medieval history 57–60, 64 modern history 7, 82, 106, 114, 127, 130, 226–27 see also Holocaust see also Prussia; Romano-German culture; Trauerspiel Geyl, Pieter 116–17, 119, 135 Gibbon, Edward 89 Gilman, Charlotte Perkins 160 Ginzburg, Carlo 202 Gladstone, Miss 79 globalisation, see transnationalism God, see religion Goethe, J.W. von 135 Gossman, Lionel 51, 201 government Acton 77–78 Becker 97 Croce 91 Herodotus’ discussion of forms 25–26 historians and 235 history wars 222, 226, 228, 230 Ranke 52–53, 66, 70, 117

see also democracy; monarchy; oligarchy; states Graeco-Roman world, see classical antiquity Granville, Lord 76 Graves-Perceval, Clarissa 53 Greece, ancient 55, 92, 120–21 Herodotus’ account 12–30, 85–87 Thucydides’ account 33–49, 85–87, 89 Greek language 111 Griffis,William Elliot 205 Grimshaw, Patricia 169 Guattari, Felix 10 Guha, Ranajit 198–99 Gypsies 50, 64–66, 100 Haggard, Rider 132 Halicarnassus 14, 85 Hall, Stuart 167 Handlin, Oscar 143 Hartmann, Mary 170 Hartog, François 13, 27 Harvard University 87, 174, 224 Harwit, Martin 222 Hawaii 4 Hegel, G.W.F. 52, 75, 87, 91, 93, 95, 118, 124, 133, 154 Heisenberg,Werner 121 Hempel, Carl G. 109–10, 138, 142, 188 Herodotus 12–32 allegory 31, 95 colonisation 27–28 cosmopolitan mode 13–17, 29, 112 doubleness of history 13, 30–31, 48, 71 government 25–26 ‘I’ voice 19–20, 49, 146 multiple storytelling 18, 21, 30, 48, 125, 183, 233 postmodernism 6, 19, 31, 194, 201, 206, 210 present 129 prose form 20–21 Thucydides compared 3, 9, 12–13, 16, 33–37, 46–49, 85–87, 156, 179–81, 183 truth 17–20 war 3, 16, 22–28, 30 Western historical writing 10, 30–32, 46–49, 66, 71, 120–21, 140, 194, 197–98, 219, 237

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women 21–25, 68, 154, 156, 179–81 heteroglossia (multivocality) 31, 195, 202 Hexter, J.H. 10, 141–44, 151–53, 192, 195 Heyman, I. Michael 222 Hill, Christopher 125, 199 hindsight (Thompson) 140 Hippocrates 83 Hirohito, Emperor 223 Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing 4, 116, 122, 221, 232–33 Historia 128 historical analysis Hexter 144 Yang 227, 232 historical contingency (Bury) 87–89, 233 historical fiction, see historical novels historical laws, see general laws historical necessity, see determinism historical novels late 20th century 202 Scott 61–68, 70, 103, 203 women writers 67–68, 70, 155–56 historical practice, see methodology historical understanding, see understanding historiography, see profession of history History and Theory 138–39 history from below Annales school 126 Marx 125 subaltern studies 198–99 Thompson 140 history of ideas 10 Acton 80 anti-postmodernism 207 Berlin 118 Collingwood 104 Novick 8 postmodernism 182 women 170–71 history wars 4, 220–37 History Workshop Journal 125, 172 History Workshop movement 167–68, 172 Hitler, Adolf 106, 116, 213, 215 Hobsbawm, Eric 125, 168, 199 Hokari, Minoru 236 Holocaust 7–8, 111–13, 116, 211–13, 217–20, 231 holy hieroglyph (Ranke) 54–55, 71

Homer: Iliad 20–21, 49, 63, 65, 120 Honda, Katsuichi 225 hooks, bell 175 Hopkins, A.G. 236 Horkheimer, Max 106 hubris 19th century historical writing 131 Bury 89 Herodotus 22–23, 25, 27–28 Orientalism 197 Thucydides 44, 46 Hughes, H. Stuart 91 Hungarians 57, 59, 203 Hunt, Lynn, see Telling the Truth about History Huxley, Aldous 203 Icelandic sagas 61 idealism anti-postmodernism 207 German 54, 134–35 ideas, see history of ideas ideology 5 20th century 116, 122 Barthes 145 Beard (CA) 103 Holocaust denial 7, 213 Marx 123 Orientalism 197 postmodernism 185 women’s history 168 Iggers, Georg G. 115, 134–35 Ikuhiko, Hata 226 imagery, see metaphors imagination 2 20th century 122 anti-postmodernism 209 Butterfield 98 Collingwood 105–6 Geyl 117 Hempel 110 Holocaust denial 218 late 20th century 201 Orientalism 197 Ranke 71 Trevelyan 85 impartiality Acton 81–82, 91–92 Arendt 120–21

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Bury 89 Geyl 117 historians and governments 235 Ranke 117 Thucydides 121 imperialism Arendt 120 Carr 132 feminist historians 177 Herodotus 25, 27–28, 30 Lemkin 114 Orientalism 197 subaltern studies 201 Thucydides 33–34, 39–47, 86 transnationalism and 201, 236 Western historical writing 48 impersonality Acton 80–82, 91 Foucault 191 implication (Morris-Suzuki) 234 incompleteness Hempel 109–10 Hexter 144 India 9, 30, 107, 135, 198–200, 236 indigenous peoples Herodotus 27–28 history wars 4 see also Australian Aboriginal people individuals 10 Annales school 127 Arendt 120 Bakhtin 196 Berlin 118–19 Bury 87–88 Carr 130 Evans 209 Hexter 143 Marx 123–25 Ranke 70 see also characterisation Indo-European mythology 137 inevitability, see determinism internationalism, see transnationalism international law genocide 113 Herodotus 14 Thucydides 38 interpretation 1–2, 4, 6

Beard (Mary) 158, 165 Bury & Cornford 85 Carr 1, 130–33, 141 Collingwood 106 Derrida 148–49, 151 Evans 210 Herodotus 19, 21, 48 history wars 222, 224, 228, 231–33 Holocaust denial 214, 217–19 late 20th century 201 Lerner 165 multiple, see Rashomon effect Nietzsche 75 postmodernism 183, 186 Thucydides 48 White 180 investigation, see research Ionia 14, 16, 19 Ireland 60, 67–68 Irigaray, Luce 176 irony Herodotus 21 Scott’s novels 66 Thucydides 87 White 192–93 Irving, David 212–16, 229 Islam, see religion Israel 220, 234 Istanbul 112 Italy 50, 53, 57–58, 76, 91–92, 106, 202, 236 ancient 14, 45 Iversen, Erik 51, 55 ‘I’ voice Barthes 146 Herodotus 19–20, 49, 146 late 20th century 146, 204 Scott’s novels 66 Thucydides 48–49, 146 Jacob, Margaret, see Telling the Truth about History James, Henry 193, 204–5 Japan 4, 111, 203, 205, 220–21, 223–29, 232–34, 236 Jaspers, Karl 17 Jay, Martin 212 Jena Romanticism 31

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Jenkins, Keith 5–6, 209, 217 Jews 7, 9, 64–66, 81, 106, 120, 193, 213, 215, 227 see also Holocaust Joyce, James 30, 93, 96, 203 Joyce, Patrick 209 Judeo-Christian heritage 9, 193 judgement (critical thinking) Acton 80–81, 119 Berlin 118–19 Bury 85 Butterfield 99 Collingwood 105 Croce 92 Herodotus 18 history wars 4, 222, 233 Holocaust denial 212 Oakeshott 128 Ranke 70, 78, 116–17, 134 Scott’s novels 65 Thucydides 42–43, 85–86 Jungian terms 193 justice Hempel 110 Nietzsche 73–74 Keegan, Sir John 215 Kelly-Gadol, Joan 164–65, 169–70, 172 Kingston, Beverley 169 Klemperer,Victor 106 Knights, see chivalry knowledge 20th century 136 American historians 135 anti-postmodernism 208 Bacon 90 Barthes 146 Beard (CA) 101 Becker 97 Berlin 119 Bury 88 Carr 132 Collingwood 104 Croce 92, 186 Evans 211 feminist historians 178 Hexter 143–44 history wars 222, 227, 233

postmodernism 184, 187, 190 Kraditor, Aileen 162–63 Kuchuk Hanem 23 Kuhn,Thomas 138 Kundera, Milan 205 Kurosawa, Akira 183, 203 labour history Marxist 207 women 156–57, 167–69, 172–73, 176 Lacan, Jacques 176 LaCapra, Dominick 196, 212 Lacedaemonians, see Spartans Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe 31 Ladurie, Emmanuel Le Roy 202 Lake, Marilyn 169, 177 Lamprecht, Karl 134 language, see linguistic turn La Rochefoucauld 31 Latin-German culture, see RomanoGerman culture Latin language 104, 111 Lauretis,Teresa de 176–77 Lawrence, D.H. 93 laws, see general laws lawsuits 212–16 left-wing historians 226, 233–34 Leibniz, G.W. 108 Lemkin, Raphaël 10, 17, 45, 60, 111–13, 219, 231–32 Lerner, Gerda 10, 106, 164–65, 169–70 letters 18th century 51 women’s writing 157 Lévi-Strauss, Claude 8, 144–47, 200 Lewis, Jane 172 liberalism Asad 9 Acton 77–78 anti-postmodernism 208 Carr 129 Ranke 52–53 lies and fabrication Herodotus 13 history wars 4, 221–22, 225, 229, 231 Holocaust denial 4213–216 life anti-postmodernism 207

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Croce 92–93 Nietzsche 73–74, 92 Lincoln, Abraham 96–97 linguistic turn 1, 5–6, 137–53 anti-postmodernism 207–9, 211 Bakhtin 194 feminist historians 178–79 late 20th century 201 postmodernism 181, 183, 185–87 subaltern studies 199 White 191 see also metaphors Lipstadt, Deborah 212–14, 216, 229 literary experimentation 204–6, 209, 233 literary form, see forms; genres literary modernism 91, 93, 120, 201, 203, 205 genres 180–81 literature 1–7, 11 18th century 50–51 19th century 50–51, 69 20th century 122, 124 Bakhtin 194–96 Barthes 145–46 Bury 82–85, 89 Carr 141 Cornford 86 Derrida 146, 148, 150, 153 Herodotus 13–14, 20–21, 30–31, 37, 48, 85 Hexter 143–44, 151–53, 192 history wars 233 late 20th century 202–3 Orientalism 198 postmodernism 180–82, 188–89 Ranke 52, 54–56, 71, 79, 135 Thucydides 37, 41, 48, 86, 180 Vann 139 Western historical writing 116 White 191–94 women’s historical writing 154, 164 see also drama; genres; literary modernism; novel writing; poetry; prose writing Lithuanians 57 Llosa, Mario Vargas 205 local histories 68, 156–57 logical positivism 118, 136, 138 logocentrism (phonocentrism) (Derrida)

147 London School of Economics 157 long-term patterns, see periodicity Louis XI, king of France 62–64 Luce,T.J. 13 Lukács, Georg 62, 67–68, 203 Lutheranism 52, 81, 135 Macaulay, Catherine Sawbridge 157 Macaulay, Lord 76, 84, 89 Macintyre, Stuart 231 Magarey, Susan 169 Magritte, René 217 Maitland, F.W. 210 Manne, Robert 231 Mannheim, Karl 130 Mardonius 16–17, 25–26 Marquez, Gabriel 205 marvels, see wonders Marx, Karl 118, 123, 126, 130, 133, 183 The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon 124–25, 184, 192, 196 Marxism (Soviet Union) 194 Marxist historians anti-postmodernism 206–9 Berlin and 118 British 125–26, 139–40 Carr and 130 feminism and 160, 163, 167, 169, 174 Foucault and 186 profession of history 116, 122, 182 subaltern studies 198–99 masculinity Acton 81 Beard (Mary) 161 Butterfield 99–100 feminist historians 170–71, 177 Herodotus 21 Hexter 142–44 historical reflection 128, 154–55 historical writing 159, 181 Scott’s novels 67 Smith (Bonnie) 99 materialism 207 Matsui, General 225 Matthews, Jill 169, 172, 178 meaning Bakhtin 196

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Carr 132 Derrida 147–48, 150–51 early 20th century historians 20, 93–97, 120 Evans 210–11 Hexter 144 history wars 222 Holocaust denial 212, 218–19 Jenkins 6 metaphors 152 postmodernism 181 transnational history 237 White 193 Mediterranean societies 14, 27, 45, 59, 127 Meiggs, Russell 85–87 Meinecke, Friedrich 134 Melian Dialogue (Thucydides) 16, 41, 44–45, 47 Menippean modes 31, 65 Mesopotamia 27, 104 messianic power 9–10, 94, 107–8, 113 metaphors 2 Butterfield 99–100 Carr 131–34, 141 Celan 115 Derrida 137, 149–52 Evans 152–53 games 138–39 gendered 99–100, 128–29 Hempel 110–11 historical reflection 128–29 Nietzsche 50 postmodernism 181, 186–89, 191–93 Thompson 140 see also baseball analogies; cricket analogies; fish metaphor; mountain metaphor metaphysics Berlin 118 Derrida 137 Frye 193 methodology 6–7, 10 academic history 155 Acton 81 anti-postmodernism 207 Beard (CA) 101 Benjamin 95 Berlin 118 Burckhardt 72

Bury 83, 85, 89 Comte 118 Derrida 147–48 Foucault 191 Hempel 110, 138 Herodotus 14, 18–19, 85 Hexter’s rules 142 history wars 227–29, 233 Holocaust denial 212, 216 Lévi-Strauss 145 mid-20th century 136 Ranke 52, 81, 83 subaltern studies 200 Thucydides 34, 36–37, 48 transnational history 236 Trevelyan 85 women’s history 179 micro-histories 180, 201–2 Middle Ages 50, 60–65, 71–73, 79, 81, 104, 126, 160 migrations Burckhardt 72 indigenous peoples and 4 Ranke 58–59, 61 military history, see warfare Mill, John Stuart 160 Millett, Kate 162, 166 misogyny (Butterfield) 99 misrepresentation, see lies and fabrication Mitchell, Juliet 167 modernity 9 anti-postmodernism 208 Arendt 120–21 Herodotus and 14, 31, 49, 85 Lemkin 219 Nietzsche 80, 83 Ranke 57–58, 66 subaltern studies 200 Thucydides and 49, 85–86 see also literary modernism Mommsen,Theodor 89 monads 108 monarchy Benjamin 94, 107 Herodotus’ discussion 25–26 Ranke 53, 57 Thucydides’ description 33 Western historical writing 48

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monologic texts Bakhtin 37–38, 194, 196 Foucault 201 history wars 233 Thucydides 37–38 montage 31, 202–3 Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley 157 Montaigne, Michel de 31 monumental history (Nietzsche) 73–74, 76 morality 4–5 Acton 77, 80, 119 Berlin 118–19 Burckhardt 72–73 Bury 83, 85 Carr 1 Derrida 148 Evans 211 forms of writing 31 Foucault 184, 191 Geyl 117, 119 Herodotus 26, 71 history wars 221, 232–34 Holocaust denial 217–18 Lemkin 112 Oakeshott 128 Orientalism 197 Ranke 70 Scott’s novels 65 Thompson 140 Thucydides 26, 41, 44–47, 71, 85–86 see also research ethics Morris-Suzuki,Tessa 220, 234 mountain metaphor (Carr) 132–34, 141, 152–53, 216–17 Berlin 133 Evans 216–17 multinationalism, see transnationalism multiple narratives 6 Carr 141 Foucault 189 Herodotus 18, 21, 30, 48, 125, 183 late 20th century 201 White 194 see also polyphonic texts; Rashomon effect multivocality (heteroglossia) 31, 195, 202 Murnane, Mary 169 Mussolini, Benito 116 My Secret Life 189–90

Mysteries 18 mysticism Benjamin 107 Nietzsche 75 Ranke 54–55, 117 myths 9–10 Barthes 145 Benjamin 94 Derrida 137, 150, 152 Herodotus 19, 22 history wars 4, 225 Thucydides 86–87 White 192–93 women’s writing 68 Mytilenian Debate (Thucydides) 40–41, 44 Nancy, Jean-Luc 31 Nanjing massacre 4, 221, 224–29, 232–33 Napoleon 28, 55, 87, 124 narratives 1–4 Acton 80 Annales school 126 anti-postmodernism 208 Australian Aborigines 27 Bakhtin 195 Barthes 146 Benjamin 95 Berlin 119 Collingwood 105 Croce 92, 119 Derrida 150, 152 Evans 210 Foucault 187, 189–90 Herodotus 12–15, 17–21, 23–25, 29–31, 37, 48, 201 Hexter 142–44, 151–52 history wars 232–33 Holocaust denial 212, 217–19 late 20th century 201–5 Lemkin 112 postmodernism 181, 183 profession of history 71 Ranke 56, 60, 66–67, 70 Scott’s novels 62–63, 66 Thucydides 42, 44, 85 Trevelyan 85 Vann 138–39 White 143, 191–92, 194

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see also author-narrators; ‘I’ voice; multiple narratives; national narratives nationalism 20th century 116 Acton 77–78, 82 anti-postmodernism 208 Bury 83 history wars 4, 226 Nazism and 112 Smith (Bonnie) 155 subaltern studies 198 see also transnationalism national narratives 10 Bury 88 Cambridge Modern History 82, 91 history wars 4, 220–23, 226, 228, 231–32, 234 Lemkin 111 Ranke 117 Smith (Bonnie) 155 subaltern studies 198–201 transnationalism and 234–37 women’s history 164 women’s writing 68 nations, see states Native Americans 7, 72 natural science, see science Nazism 60, 106, 120, 127, 130, 164 genocide 111, 114, 116, 213, 218, 227 necessity, see determinism (inevitability) Nelson, Lord 104 Nerval, Gérard de 198 Netherlands 57, 82 neutrality Acton 77–78 Foucault 184, 186 New Criticism 192 New Left 116, 168 New Left Review 167 Newman, J.H. 77 Newton, Sir Isaac 51 New Zealand 167 Nietzsche, Friedrich 31, 50, 69, 73, 74–76, 80, 83, 92, 132, 137, 183–84, 198 nomads Butterfield 100 Herodotus 27–28 non-Europeans, see Europe

Normans 59 North America 7, 192 see also Canada; United States novel writing Bakhtin 195 Becker 96 Collingwood 105 Herodotus 14, 25 Hexter 143 late 20th century 203–5 Ranke and Sir Walter Scott 56, 61–68, 70 White 193 women 164 Novick, Peter 7–8, 100, 115 Oakeshott, Michael 128–29 objectivity 2, 5–6 academic history 155 Acton 78 anti-postmodernism 206–9, 211 Arendt 121 Barthes 146 Beard (CA) 102 Berlin 118 Burckhardt 72 Butterfield 98 Carr 130, 132–33, 141 Derrida 150 early 20th century 91 Holocaust denial 215, 217 mid-20th century 122, 136 Nietzsche 75 postmodernism 186 Ranke 70, 135 Smith (Bonnie) 99 Thucydides 38, 42 oligarchy Herodotus’ discussion 25–26 Thucydides’ description 33, 36, 46–47 Olympia 15, 39 omniscient style 183, 208, 210, 233 optimism Burckhardt 71–72 Bury 88, 93, 95 Carr 129–30 Ranke 65, 71 oracles 16, 19, 22 oral history

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Thucydides 36 women’s writing 68 oratory (Thucydides’ set speeches) 37–40, 42–44, 46, 48, 81, 121, 205 Organisation of American Historians (OAH) 164 Orientalism 18, 26, 28, 64, 66, 86, 133, 197–99 origins 128–29 see also causal laws Osgood, Herbert L. 115 O’Shane, Pat 174 Other 64, 66, 183 outsiders Acton 77 Bakhtin 195 Carr 129 Herodotus & Thucydides 34 Nietzsche 73 Said 197–98 Scott’s novels 63–65 see also refugee historians Oxford University 76, 100–101, 117, 167–68, 172 Palmer, Brian 207 Pandey, Gyanendra 199, 201 Pankhurst, Emmeline, Christabel and Sylvia 158 Papacy 53, 60, 66, 77 paradigms 138–39, 144, 152 partiality, see impartiality participation, see contemporary history particulars (Ranke) 56 see also detail Pascal, Blaise 31, 69 past 1–3, 6, 8 anti-postmodernism 208 Arendt 120 Barthes 146 Benjamin 108, 120 Berlin 119 Butterfield 98–101 Carr 1, 130, 132–33 Collingwood 104–6 Croce, see Croce Davin 168 Evans 168

Fichte 54 gendered reflection 128–29, 155 Herodotus 18, 36 history wars 220–21, 234 Holocaust denial 213, 218–19 Lemkin 60 Nietzsche 75, 92 postmodernism 183 Ranke 56, see also Ranke, Leopold von: wie es eigentlich gewesen (what actually happened) Scott’s novels 61 Thucydides 48 White 191–92 see also alterity of the past; present pastiche 31 patriarchy 162, 170–71, 173–75, 177 Peloponnesian war 12, 33–36, 38–49, 86, 130 Pensky, Max 94 Pericles 36, 40, 42–44, 47, 125 periodicity 3 Geyl 117 Marx 122–23 postmodernism 182 Ranke 80–81, 117 subaltern studies 199 time spans (Annales school) 126–28 women’s history 171–72 Persia Herodotus’ account 12, 14–17, 19, 22–28, 30, 86, 130 Thucydides’ account 34, 36, 39, 46 personal Becker 97 Bury 89 Croce 92 Thucydides 86 women’s writing 68, 70, 157 persons, see individuals pessimism Becker 97 Burckhardt 134 Holocaust denial 219 Stone 219 subaltern studies 201 Philip II, king of Spain 127 philosophy 10

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18th century 50 Acton 77 Arendt 120 Bakhtin 194 Berlin 117–19 Bury 83–84 Carr 141 Collingwood 103 Croce 92 Derrida 137, 146–47, 150–53 early 20th century 91, 93 feminist 161–62, 173 French 144 Herodotus 13–14, 31–32 Marx 122 Nietzsche 73 postmodernism 6, 182 Ranke 52, 54, 78, 134–35 see also analytical philosophy; logical positivism philosophy of history Carr 131 Collingwood 104–5 Hegel 52 Hexter 141 Marx 123 Vann 139, 141 philosophy of science 109, 138, 142, 188 phonocentrism (logocentrism) (Derrida) 147 Pinchbeck, Ivy 157 Pisan, Christine de 157, 160 Pius IX, Pope 77 place 8 women’s writing 68 see also space Plato 87, 92, 135, 149–50, 186 play 149, 152, 181 plotting, see narratives plurality Bakhtin 195 Herodotus 14, 66 postmodernism 183 Plutarch 17, 34 poetry Acton 80 Herodotus 85 Homeric epic 20–21, 49, 85

medieval 61 Romantic 57 subaltern studies 200 White 191–92 points of view Bakhtin 196 history wars 233 late 20th century 201–4 Ranke 57 White 193 Poland 17, 60, 111, 203 political correctness 221 political history Acton 80 Annales school 126–27 Beard (CA) 101 Beard (Mary) 160–61 Burckhardt 71–72 Bury 83 Carr 130 feminism 163, 166, 169, 172, 176, 179 Herodotus 30, 85 Lemkin 111 masculinity 154–55 Nietzsche 75 Orientalism 197 postmodernism 181, 185, 188 Ranke 57, 61, 67, 75, 78, 80, 83, 135 Scott’s novels 65 subaltern studies 199 Thucydides 3, 35, 46–47 women’s writing 68, 156, 160–61, 169 politics anti-postmodernism 207 Arendt 120 Becker 97 Berlin 118–19 Bury 83 Derrida 150 early 20th century 91 Evans 211 feminism 162–63, 165, 168–69, 174, 176–77, 179 Foucault 138 Geyl 117 history wars 221–23, 225, 228, 230–33, 235 Holocaust denial 7, 216

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Marx 122–26 professional history 9 Ranke 52–53, 70, 117 see also history wars polyphonic texts Bakhtin 31, 195–96 Herodotus 37 see also multiple narratives Pontecorvo, Gillo: The Battle of Algiers 203 popular culture 181 population (Foucault) 188 see also demography positivism Acton & George Eliot 77 anti-postmodernism 206, 209 history wars 220, 233 Holocaust denial 212 Lamprecht & Ranke 134 see also logical positivism post-colonial histories 4, 177, 180, 197, 201, 235 postmodernism 5–7, 180–81 critiques of 206–12, 217–18 Derrida and 153 Herodotus 6, 19, 31, 194, 201, 206, 210 Hexter and 143, 153 history wars 232 late 20th century 201, 204–5 poststructuralism 5, 7, 180–81, 212 anti-postmodernism 207, 210 Derrida 146–51, 152, 185 Europe 144 feminism 175–76, 178–79 Hexter and 143–44 subaltern studies 198–99 view of origins 128–29 White 193 Pound, Ezra 93, 120 power Acton 81 anti-postmodernism 208 Arendt 122 Bacon 90 Beard (Mary) 160–61 Berlin 119 Braudel 127 Burckhardt 72–73, 81, 134 Herodotus 181

history wars 222–23 Marx 123 postmodernism 185–91, 211 Ranke 66, 70, 81, 125 subaltern studies 199 Prakash, Gyan 199 prediction 8, 10 Beard (CA) 101 Becker 97 Berlin 118 Carr 130 Hempel 109–11, 138 Marx 123 Ranke 56 Trevelyan 84 Vann 138 present 3, 6, 8 anti-postmodernism 208 Arendt 120 Beard (CA & Mary) 102, 158 Becker 97 Benjamin 108, 120 Berlin 119, 129 Braudel 128 Butterfield 99 Carr 130, 132 Collingwood 104–5 Davin 168 history wars 220, 231, 234 Holocaust denial 216, 219 Nietzsche 76, 92 Oakeshott 128–29 postmodernism 183 Ranke 56 Thucydides 216 writing history of, see contemporary history see also Croce, Benedetto Price, Richard 204 Priestley, Joseph 51 profession of history 18th century 51 19th century 52, 69–71, 179 20th century 5, 9, 90–91, 93, 116, 122, 134–35, 179 Acton 81 anti-postmodernism 207, 210–11 Barthes 145

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Index

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Bury 82 Herodotus 17–18, 30 Hexter 142 history wars 222–23 Ranke 56, 66, 69–71 White 194 women 154–60, 163–79 progress Acton 80 anti-postmodernism 208 Becker 98 Benjamin 95, 108 Burckhardt 72 Bury 88 early 20th century 91 Herodotus & Thucydides 17, 21, 219 Lemkin 112 Ranke 59–60, 108 women’s history 172 propaganda 216 prophecy, see prediction prose writing (Herodotus) 14, 20–21 protagonists, see individuals Protestantism 53, 76–77 Proust, Marcel 203 Prussia 52–54, 116–17 psychoanalysis 91, 183, 213 Purkiss, Diane 209 purpose 6 Becker 97 Ranke 57 quotations 142, 210, 216 Rabe, John 226–27 Rabelais, François 196 race & ethnicity anti-postmodernism 211 Arendt 120 Burckhardt 72–73 feminism and 162–66, 169, 174–76 Hempel 110 Holocaust denial 8 Ranke 57–60, 135 Scott’s novels 62, 64–65 see also genocide Radcliffe, Ann 67 radicalism

feminism and 162–63, 169 see also activism Rambler 77 Ranke, Leopold von 10, 52–67 Acton’s views 70–71, 76–82, 89 American views 101–3, 115, 134–35, 142, 144 Arendt’s views 121 Benjamin’s views 107–8 Bury’s views 83, 89, 98 Butterfield’s views 98 Carr’s views 131 Collingwood’s views 105 gendered metaphors 50, 99, 128 Lemkin’s views 60, 112 life and work 52–54 Marxists and 116, 125 modern historical practice 52, 54, 56, 66, 69–73, 116–17, 128, 179, 198, 206 Nietzsche’s views 75 religion 52, 54–55, 57–58, 66, 70, 78, 82, 117, 134 Romano-German culture 50, 57, 58–61, 65–67, 72, 81 Scott’s historical novels 61–68, 104, 156 Ranke, Leopold von: wie es eigentlich gewesen (what actually happened) 56–58, 69 American views 101–3, 134–35 Benjamin 107 Bury 83 Butterfield 98 Carr 131 Collingwood 105 Hexter 142, 144 history wars 223 Iggers 135 modern historical practice 3 Nietzsche 75 Rashomon effect 204 Thompson 139 Rashomon effect 183, 203–4, 224, 226–27, 233 rationality Berlin 118 Collingwood 104–5 Comte 118 Derrida 137 Foucault 191

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289

Index

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Herodotus 29 Holocaust denial 213, 218 Ranke 54, 117 Western historical writing 9 reading (Derrida) 149–50 realism Bakhtin 195 Evans 217 late 20th century 201 postmodernism 181 White 191, 193–94 reality anti-postmodernism 208 Holocaust denial 213, 218 Ranke 69 see also Ranke, Leopold von: wie es eigentlich gewesen (what actually happened) reality effect (Barthes) 210 Reality rule 142 reason, see rationality records 2 Becker 97 fiction writers’ use of 202 Hexter 151 history wars 232 Ranke 78 White 191, 211 referentiality (White) 191 Reformation 57 refugee historians 17, 106, 109, 111–12, 119, 135, 164 regions, see space relationships Thompson 139–40 White 192 relativism 5–6 anti-postmodernism 208, 211, 218 Beard (CA) 101–2 Carr 130 history wars 232–33 religion 18th century 51 Acton 76–78, 80, 82 Benjamin 107–8 Berlin 108 Burckhardt 72–73 Bury 84, 87

Croce 92 Gandhi 107 Herodotus 3, 18, 22, 25, 30, 47, 49, 66, 86, 181 Hexter 143 Lemkin 111–12 Nietzsche 75 Ranke 52, 54–55, 57–58, 66, 70, 78, 82, 117, 134 scientific history and 9–10 Scott’s novels 62, 64–66 Thucydides 49, 86 reminiscences 228 Renaissance 55, 71, 92, 94, 156, 165 representation 2 anti-postmodernism 208 Carr and Stephanson 141 Evans 217 Foucault 189 history wars 224 Holocaust denial 218 research 2, 5 Acton 77, 81 Beard (CA) 102 Becker 97–98 Bury 83, 88 Butterfield 99 Collingwood 104 Croce 186 Hempel 109–10 Herodotus 15, 18–20, 30 historians and governments 235 history wars 224–25, 227–28, 233 Ranke 53, 70–71, 135 Smith (Bonnie) 99 Thucydides 36 women historians 156 see also empiricism research ethics Herodotus 18 history wars 228, 231 Restoration 92 Return of Martin Guerre,The (film) 202–3 revolution 80, 102 Revolution of 1848 53, 124, 161 Reynolds, Henry 229, 231 rhetoric 2 Acton 81

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290

Index

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Barthes 146 Benjamin 95 Bury 83 Carr 141 Derrida 137, 150–53 feminist historians 178 Foucault 187–91 Hexter 142–44, 152–53 Marx 196 postmodernism 181, 185, 187–89, 191 subaltern studies 200 Thucydides 48, see also oratory Rights of Man 80 right wing, see conservatism Ripa, Cesare 94 Roe, Jill 169 romances mountain metaphors 132 Scott’s novels 61–63 subaltern studies 199 White 192–93 women’s writing 68, 157 Roman history 13, 58, 92, 96, 104, 113 Romano-German culture (Ranke) 50, 57, 58–61, 65–67, 72, 81 Romanticism 51, 92 Jena 31 see also romances Rome Congregation of the Index 77 Rose, Deborah Bird 1, 8 Rosebery, Lord 78 Rosenberg, Carroll Smith 170 Rosenstone, Robert 204–5 Rosetta stone 55 Rosicrucians 55 Rousseau, J.J. 81, 148, 159 Rowbotham, Sheila 10, 168–69, 172 Rubicon 96 Rubin, Gayle 170 Ruskin College (earlier, Ruskin Hall) 100–101, 167, 172 Russia 28, 57, 236 Soviet Union 130, 194, 222–23 Russian Formalism 194 Russian Revolution 130 Ryan, Lyndall 169, 229, 231 Sade, Marquis de 188–89

Said, Edward W. 10, 17, 197–99 see also Orientalism Samuel, Raphael 125, 167 San Francisco earthquake (1906) 109 satire Herodotus 31 Marx 124–25 Menippean modes 31, 65 Scott 65 Thucydides 86 White 192–93 women’s writing 68, 156 Saunders, Kay 169 Saxons 112–13 Scandinavia 58–59, 111 scepticism 5 American historians 135 Bakhtin 195 Burckhardt 71 Carr 131–32 Croce 93 French scholars 144 Herodotus 18 Holocaust denial 212 Scott’s novels 65 Thucydides 49, 86 Schama, Simon 132, 209 Schlesinger, Arthur Meier 159 scholarship, see profession of history science anti-postmodernism 208 history of 51, 81, 90, 103, 182 Orientalism 197 scientific history 2, 5, 9 academic history 155 Acton 81 Arendt 121 Beard (CA) 101–2 Becker 97–98 Berlin 118–19 Burckhardt 71–72 Bury 82–84, 86–89 Croce 119 Derrida 150 French scholars 144 Hempel 109–10, 138 Hexter 141–43, 151 Nietzsche 75

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291

Index

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profession of history 2, 70–72, 76, 91, 122, 128, 136 Ranke 70, 79, 83, 134–36 Smith (Bonnie) 99 Thucydides 86, 89 Trevelyan 84–85 Vann 141 scientific method, see empiricism Scots 62–63, 67 Scott, Joan 10, 175–79 Scott, Sir Walter 10, 61–63, 68, 70, 155–56, 203 Ivanhoe 62, 64, 66, 70, 156, 204 Quentin Durward 50, 62, 64–66, 70, 103, 156 Waverley novels 67 Scudéry, Madeleine de 67, 157 Scythians 19, 22–30 secularism 9–10 Arendt 120 Herodotus & Thucydides 1, 49 selection Arendt 121 Carr 132 Croce 186 Foucault 187 Holocaust denial 215 self-consciousness academic history 155 anti-postmodernism 206, 209 Barthes 146 Derrida 147 Evans 210 feminist historians 178 postmodernism 184, 191 White 192 self-reflexivity Derrida 147 Foucault 191 Herodotus 19 women writers 157 seminars 70, 99, 179 semiotics 145 Seneca Falls statement (1848) 159 set speeches, see oratory settlers, see colonisation Seven Years’War (1756–63) 80 sexual history

feminists 162, 171–72, 176 Foucault 187–91 Herodotus 3, 30, 181 late 20th century 180 Orientalism 197 sexual metaphors 6, 99, 128 Shaftesbury, 3rd Earl 31 Sicily, ancient 41, 45–46 slavery holocaust denial 8 Thucydides 36, 39 women and 154, 166, 175 Slavs 57, 59–60 Smith, Adam 81 Smith, Bonnie 99, 155–57, 235 Smithsonian Institute,Washington DC 221–23 social history Annales school 126–28 anti-postmodernism 207 Bury 84, 88 Herodotus 3, 19, 30, 35, 47, 66, 179, 181 Lemkin 111–12 Marx 122–24 women writers 156, 159, 167, 171, 173, 176, 179 socialism Marx 123 women 158, 163, 167–69 social reformers 100–101, 158, 163, 165–67, 169 Socinians 77 Socrates 87, 149–50 Sophist philosophy 37–38, 40, 42, 81, 120 sources 6 Becker 97 Burckhardt 72 Bury 83 Evans 210–11 Herodotus 20, 37 history wars 224–25, 227–28, 232–33 Holocaust denial 214–15, 217 Ranke 52, 134 Scott’s novels 66 subaltern studies 199 Thucydides 37 Western historical writing 116 South Africa 4

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292

Index

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South America 204–5 Soviet Union 130, 194, 222–23 space 9 Annales school 126–27 Bakhtin 122, 195 Collingwood 105 Marx 122 see also place Spain and Spanish empire 27, 57–60, 64, 91, 107 Spartans Herodotus’ account 12, 15, 19–20, 24, 26 Thucydides’ account 9, 33, 36, 38–39, 41–44, 46, 49 speech Derrida 147, 149 Foucault 188 speeches, see oratory Spence, Jonathan 202 Spengler, Oswald 118 Spinoza, Benedict 54–55, 87 Spitzer, Leo 17, 112 Spongberg, Mary 63, 79, 156–57 Staël, Germaine de 157 Stalin 116 states 3, 10 Acton 80 Beard (Mary) 160–61 Benjamin 94 Burckhardt 72–73, 134 Bury 83 Nietzsche 75 Orientalism 198 Ranke 57, 66, 70, 72, 75, 80, 83, 116–17 subaltern studies 198–200 Thucydides 181 transnationalism and 236 see also government Stephanson, Anders 141 Stimson, Henry L. 223 Stoker, Bram: Dracula 204 Stone, Dan 217–19 storytelling, see narratives stream of consciousness 205 structures anti-postmodernism 207 Bakhtin 195 Derrida 146, 151

European structuralism 144 feminism and 175 poststructuralist critique 181–82, 186 Thompson 139–40 White 193 see also poststructuralism subaltern studies 180, 198–99 subjectivity anti-postmodernism 208 Arendt 120–21 Beard (CA) 102 Carr 130, 133 Holocaust denial 217 late 20th century 201 success, history of, see victors Summers, Anne 169 Suzuki, Akira 225 Sweden 59, 111 Swift, Jonathan 103 symbolism Becker 96 Lévi-Strauss 144–45 White 193 Syracuse, ancient 45–46 Syracuse University 115 Tacitus 89 Tanaka, Masaaki 225 Tasmania 221, 229–32, 234 Taylor, Barbara 172 Taylor, Harriet 160 Telling the Truth about History (1994) 207–9, 218, 236 Teutonic culture, see Romano-German culture texts Barthes 145 Carr 141 Derrida 148–52 Evans 211 feminist historians 178 Holocaust denial 218 Orientalism 197 postmodernism 181 subaltern studies 199 White 191, 193 Themistocles 16 theology, see religion

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293

Index

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third world 199–200 Thirty Years War 94 Thomas, Edith 169 Thompson, Dorothy 168 Thompson, E.P. 125, 139–40, 167–68, 199 Thousand and One Nights,The 30–31 Thucydides 10, 33–39 contemporary history 33–34, 36, 48, 216 Cornford 85–87 doubleness of history 13, 30–31, 48 Foucault and 183, 191 Herodotus compared 3, 9, 12–13, 16, 33–37, 46–49, 85–87, 156, 179–81, 183 ‘I’ voice 48–49, 146 Melian dialogue 16, 41, 44–45, 47 Mytilenian debate 39–41, 44 Ranke and 66–67, 84, 179 set speeches 37–41, 42–44, 46, 48, 81, 121, 205 tragic form 41–47, 86–87, 89 Western historical writing 9, 12–13, 47–49, 120, 125, 156, 194, 197–98, 219, 237 Tilley, Louise 176 time Acton 80–81 Bakhtin 122, 195 Benjamin 107 Collingwood 105 European notions 2, 9–10 Evans 210 Marx 122 see also periodicity Titanic 91 Tokyo War Crimes Trial (1946–48) 224–25 Toland, John 55 toleration 5, 80 Tolstoy, Leo 37 Tomio, Hora 225 total history anti-postmodernism 207 Foucault 182, 186–87, 189 totalitarianism 47, 222 totemism (Lévi-Strauss) 144 traces anti-postmodernism 208 Derrida 148, 151–52 White 191

tragedy Baldwin 8 Benjamin 94 Bury 89 Butterfield 99 Carr 132 Hegel 124 Herodotus 13, 23 Homer 21 Marx 124 modernist worldview 180 postmodernism 181 Thucydides 41–47, 48, 86–87, 89 White 192–93 transnationalism Burckhardt’s world history 72 Cambridge Modern History 82, 91 Derrida 150 émigré historians 112 feminist historians 177 Herodotus’ cosmopolitanism & world history 13–15, 17, 21–22, 24–25, 27–30, 49, 112 history 234–37 history wars 228–29 Lemkin 111–12 Marxists 125 Nietzsche 74–75 Ranke’s universal history 54, 79, 107, 134–35 subaltern studies 200 Thucydides 49 universalism 9 see also international law Trauerspiel 93–95 travellers Croce 91 Egyptology 55 Herodotus 14–16, 22, 29 Price 204 women historians 156 Trevelyan, George Macaulay 10, 84–85 Trojans 19–21, 51, 120 Truman government 221–23 Trumpener, Katie 68 truth 1–6 anti-postmodernism 206, 208 Barthes 146

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294

Index

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Beard (CA) 102 Bury 83 Carr 1, 132, 141 Celan 115 Collingwood 105 Croce 92, 149 Derrida 150 Egyptology 55 Evans 210–11 feminist history 179 Foucault 183–84 Gandhi 108 Herodotus 17–20, 32, 48 Hexter 143–44 history wars 220–22, 224, 226, 228–29, 232–34 Holocaust denial 213, 216, 218 Nietzsche 48, 73 postmodernism 183–86 Ranke 56, 67 Thucydides 48 transnational history 236–37 White 194 Truth, Sojourner (Isabella Baumfree) 175 Turks 57 uncertainty Evans 210 Herodotus & Thucydides 48, 67 Marx 196 Ranke 67 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide 113 understanding Derrida 152 Hexter 144, 151 history wars 232 Holocaust denial 219 United Kingdom, see British United States historians 70, 100–106, 110–12, 115, 134–35, 141–42, 156, 158, 191, 207, 213, 227, see also American Historical Association history 62, 72–73, 87, 110, 205, 221 history wars 4, 220–23, 230, 232–33 Holocaust concept 7–8

Iggers 134–35 immigrants & refugees from Europe 106, 109, 111, 119 women 79, 156, 158–70, 174–76 world power 116, 236 in World War II 7, 122 unity Benjamin 95 Berlin 118 Bury 83 Comte 118 postmodernism 182–83 Ranke 56–60 White 193 universal history, see transnationalism universities, see education; women utopianism Benjamin 95 Berlin 118 Bury 95 Carr 130 Collingwood 104–5 Herodotus 25 Marx 196 values, see morality Vann, Richard T. 138–39, 141 Varnhagen von Ense, Karl and Rahel 52 Vassar College 79 Venice 50, 53 Verifiability Principle 138 Vico, Giambattista 91 Victorian culture 91 victors (successful) Benjamin 107 Ranke 107 Thompson 139–40 Vietnam: American War 116, 163, 165, 167, 169 Voltaire 65 Walker, J. Samuel 223 war crimes 224–26 warfare (military history) Burckhardt 73 Bury 87 Herodotus 3, 16, 22–28, 30 history wars 4, 221, 225–26, 228, 234–35

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295

Index

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Homer 63 Lemkin 113 masculinity 155, 179 Orientalism 197 postmodernism 181, 186 Ranke 57–58, 61, 70 Scott’s novels 62–63, 65 Thucydides 3, 33–36, 38–49, 87 women and 68, 158, 160, 163 Waterloo 82 Whigs 81, 84, 98–99 White, Hayden 10–11, 143, 180, 191–94, 197, 203, 208, 210–12 White, Morton 142 wie es eigentlich gewesen, see Ranke, Leopold von: wie es eigentlich gewesen (what actually happened) William III, king 81 Windschuttle, Keith 5, 229–32, 234 Winslow, Barbara 167–68 Wollstonecraft, Mary 157, 159 The Woman Voter 158 women exclusion 159, 170 invisibility 169, 178 oppression 161, 168, 170–71, 173–74 subjection 158–63, 173–74, 176 university education 79, 154–56 victims 170 see also feminism Women’s Convention (1851) 175 women’s history feminism 163–79 Herodotus 21–25, 28, 35–36, 66, 68, 86, 154, 156, 179–81 Ranke 61 Scott’s novels 62–63, 65 Thucydides 35, 39

women’s movement 19th century 159–61 late 20th century 155, 157, 161–79 see also feminism women’s rights 158–59, 163, 175 Women’s Trade Union League 158 women’s work, see labour history women writers genres 68 history 68, 70, 154–61, 163–79 novels 67–68 philosophy & politics 161–63 wonders and fantasticality Herodotus 12–13, 18, 30–31 modern history 55, 69 Woolf,Virginia 203 Wordsworth,William 132 working historians 206 working people 139–40, 168 see also class; everyday history world history, see transnationalism World War I 87, 90–91, 97–98, 103, 121, 130, 158, 203 peace conference 103, 130 World War II 7, 90–91, 106–7, 114, 116, 127–28, 134–35, 163, 212–13, 221–29 writing Derrida 147–50 Foucault 188–89 Xerxes, king of Persia 15–17, 24–25 Yahoos 103 Yang, Daqing 10, 224–25, 227–29, 236–37 Yeats,W.B. 90–91, 93, 120 Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth 119 Yunupingu, Galarrwuy 27

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Is History Fiction? combines the formidable talents of Ann Curthoys and John Docker. They have produced a wonderfully lucid and wide-ranging discussion of the vexed problem of truth in history writing. Their sense of critical responsibility to interpretations of the past and their relation to the present makes this an incisive contribution to contemporary debates.
CATHERINE HALL, Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History, University College London

From its provocative title onward, this lively and insightful study commands the reader’s attention. The authors navigate with great skill through the intellectual channels of Western historiography, starting at its source with Herodotus and Thucydides and concluding with the ‘history wars’ that rage at present. For any one who wants to understand the enduring issues that have shaped the theory and practice of history and made it such a source of contention, this is the book to read.
DANE KENNEDY, Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History and International Affairs, George Washington University

Curthoys and Docker have produced an exposition of the history of historical writing that is at once elegant, passionate, erudite, and accessible. A must-read for all historians and indeed anyone with an interest in history.
MARY SPONGBERG, Associate Professor, Modern History, Macquarie University

The authors range fearlessly across time and space, rehearsing some of the most critical genealogies of the discipline. From Herodotus to the Holocaust via Ranke and Gandhi and Foucault, they engage questions of gender and genre, fact and fiction, politics and presentism. Accessible and provocative, audacious and imaginative . . .
ANTOINETTE BURTON, Professor of History and Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, The University of Illinois

UNSW PRESS

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