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.



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


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


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



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

. Carr in his influential text of that name. Ilsa: It’s about a girl who had just come to Paris from her home in Oslo … (Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. we are also seeking to explore Carr’s question. we ask about problems of historical truth. Yet we differ from Carr in our 1 .Introduction Ilsa: Can I tell you a story. don’t know what to remember and what to forget.H. and interpretation..White people. what to let go of and what to preserve. Maybe one’ll come to you as you go along. 1992)1 What is history? asked E. Casablanca) they [Australian Aboriginal people] believe European culture is in a state of epistemological chaos.. Our question is more limited: is history fiction? Yet in asking if history is fiction. the relationship between the historian and the past. Rick? Rick: Has it got a wild finish? Ilsa: I don’t know the finish yet. tell it. they say. value. what is history? Like him. and reprinted endlessly since. . Hidden Histories.. Rick: Go on. They don’t know how to link the past with the present… (Deborah Bird Rose. first published in 1961. and questions of fact.

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

.Introduction . The question ‘is history fiction?’. cultural. and extend over longer time periods than is usually encompassed by a focus on war and crisis? In the modern era. their divided and complex inheritance. I So. on processes that are everyday. we have found.The play of differences and similarities between Herodotus and Thucydides has implications for the gendering of historical writing. so formative for modern historical practice.3 Ranke’s views on how to write history. or history’s entrapment in the present. and have always markedly differed over how to achieve it. and also for the problem of what should be the proper focus of historical enquiry. the joint founding figures of Western historical writing. Such differences are evident in the great works of Herodotus and Thucydides. One of the aims of this book is to show how historians have always pondered the problem of historical truth. they ask us not to sit on the fence. that are social. to speak up for history’s truth. Should historical investigation focus on the sphere of the political. we will consider in chapter 3. we think. in The Histories and History of the Peloponnesian War. has been argued over ever since. and the actions of states? Or should historical research cast its gaze much more widely. from antiquity to the present. 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. a touchstone for such debates is Leopold von Ranke’s famous manifesto-like endlessly influential phrase coined in the 1820s: historians. must seek to show the past ‘as it actually/essentially was’ – wie es eigentlich gewesen. military and diplomatic. with. it?’ When we say. and how true their histories are. he declared.. religious. historians are not and have never been united about how history ought to be written. erotic. attracts considerable . For us.. 3 ..... well ‘yes and no’. and it will take us a book to answer it. the question is extremely complex. so that their meaning derives from their form rather than the past itself? These are hardly new questions. surprising results. or history’s literary qualities..

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

as the title of one book putting this case. indicates. that the historical project is impossible.We find. No one – including us – would do history. Recognising this way of interpreting postmodernism as endangering history’s continued existence and survival as a profession. If we cannot see a historical account as true. and that history cannot but live by its own fictions. Jenkins ascribes an ideological importance to moral relativism and epistemological scepticism as the ‘basis for social toleration and the positive recognition of differences’. that the temptation to declare that the historian can objectively establish the truth about the past is to be resisted. The Killing of History. status for one’s findings. indeed of the ability of language itself to refer straightforwardly to a world external to it. sense of convulsive death to the West.. a fatal betrayal.. unless she and he thought they could arrive. would pursue historical research..We think. they ask.. It is this paradox – the necessity for and difficulty of finding truth in history – that we explore in this book. In ReThinking History (1991). II We should make it clear from the outset that we do indeed believe in truth and in the search for truth. however provisionally.. we will suggest – that the past can never be recovered. In their radical questioning of Western historical discourse. some cultural theorists’ discussions of history and fiction do indeed come perilously close to denying the value of the discipline of history altogether. 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.5 They seem to induce epistemological vertigo. however. for example.Introduction . Yet Jenkins’ metaphors for the .. its quixotic belief in its own truth. There always has to be a question mark hovering over any claim to have attained an objective. let alone scientific. 5 .. at some kind of truth about the past. the work of the postmodern historical thinker Keith Jenkins to be very problematic in this respect. many historians attack it as ahistorical. shortness of intellectual breath.. 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. poststructuralism and postmodernism have been taken to suggest in an absolute way – wrongly.

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

as we argue in chapter 10 – of removing the grounds for opposing Holocaust denialism.Introduction . with a capital ‘H’.. 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. its own context and conditions of coming into being. 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. 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.9 A methodological principle of Michel Foucault was to suggest that any notion or concept has its own history. to notice the political and historical specificity of histories of the Holocaust. now an ally. 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.. 7 . he suggests that in the late 1940s.. because he is an American. Peter Novick’s The Holocaust and Collective Memory: The American Experience outlines a postwar history for the Holocaust as a concept.. 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. It isn’t. 1950s. and he is never despised. and not now. as the Negro is.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.The Jewish . In particular. rather than to catastrophes that occurred as well in North America.. here.. and one knows that it isn’t from the very tone in which he assures you that it is… It is not here. that the Jew is being slaughtered. III In debates on the question of history. Poststructuralist and postmodernist historians are accused – wrongly.. in its history as a settler-colony. 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.

. is not essential to our humanity. In his Provincializing Europe (2000). but itself has a history. The Western-ness of history poses problems for writing the history of non-western peoples and societies. the idea of a past separate from the present. surely the Holocaust is it. But America is the house of bondage for the Negro. This is not the case in all cultures. past and present are linked indissolubly through place and belonging. In this powerful passage. we cannot think without or beyond distinctions between future. present. build a society. and race relations. to be understood in terms other than those of the present..12 In Western societies historical thinking is inescapable. lies deep in Western culture... historical representations. 8 .. Dipesh Chakrabarty investigates the problem of trying to write the history .11 IV The act of remembrance through history. slavery. For many Aboriginal peoples. prosper. and attempt to dominate the world. They cannot bear. Novick’s historiographical point is that the Holocaust as an idea in American life can never be a given. as Claude LéviStrauss remarked: historical thinking is not necessary thinking. travail occurred across the sea and America rescued him from the house of bondage.13 The anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose tells us (see our second epigraph) that Australian Aboriginal people find Westerners’ sense of the past very odd.Is history fiction? . 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. an agreed understanding. and past.. more likely to be open to a range of interpretations.10 If ever there was an event. that is. or series of events. to possess – as Baldwin does – a tragic consciousness. the originary horror by which they exist. and no country can rescue him. shaped in part by the United States’ own riven traumatic history of colonialism. the desire to impose ‘form on formless time’. is strange indeed. metaphoric and figurative understandings. White Americans cannot bear to confront the horror of what their forebears have done in their name.. Baldwin suggests that white Americans are performing an act of displacement.

to modernity and especially liberalism. Herodotus considered that the gods intervened in historical happenings (The Histories. Thucydides in History of the Peloponnesian War wonders if the terrible plague that descended on the Athenians and the Athenians alone. 9 . Islam.. and universalist. 2. Modernity (2003) when he links secularism and its rationalist and universalist assumptions to a specific phase in Western history. His argument carries the danger of homogenising Western historical writing from Herodotus and Thucydides onwards.Yet. sacred. flight through the desert and revelation on Mt Sinai. 9. are conceived as historical. unrelated to previous patterns of events. for the very idea of historicising carries with it some peculiarly European assumptions about disenchanted space. In this book. dread. and mythic elements.. and hope. In the classical heritage there is an unresolved tension between secular and sacred/mythic conceptions of history. the stories of Christ’s suffering.. may occur at any moment. history is unpredictable.17 Modern scientific history may attempt to present history as secular. and the millennium recurrently intensify the salience of Western calendrical time. Notions of the centurial. secular time. in pointing to history’s inescapable Europeanness... crucifixion and resurrection are conceived as historical. Judaic narratives. he argues. the basis of Western calendrical time. Yet European historical approaches remain essential and inescapable if we wish to understand history on a more global scale. rationalist. soon after the war began may have been a divine judgement (1. In Christianity. foreboding. European thought. is a European discourse. Talal Asad is more precise in his Formations of the Secular: Christianity.. ‘is both indispensable and inadequate in helping us to think through the various life practices that constitute the political and the historical in India’. the fin de siècle. and human sovereignty. he also oversimplifies it. in Judaic thought more generally..16 Historical thinking has been continuously influenced in profound ways by the West’s classical and Judeo-Christian heritage.. the messianic. especially in seeing it as necessarily and consistently secularist. not their enemies the Spartans. or catastrophic. as in the stories in Exodus of servitude in Egypt.23. then.15 Chakrabarty helps us see the specificity of professional history as a practice. but European and Western historical writing both past and present has many religious. of a country like India. with an accompanying abundance of visions of utopia and dystopia.100).54).14 Modern history.Introduction . we evoke in .

prophetic. contradictions. homogeneous. Benedetto Croce. Mary Beard. In the introduction to Orientalism.. Raphaël Lemkin. Said wished to modify Foucault’s approach to the history of ideas.B. Sheila Rowbotham. Lois Banner. vignette.. 10 . Secular time is as if a line. But time is also as if a substance – sacred. Gerda Lerner. or figures in a tapestry. their passions. Thucydides. millennial...18 V A note on our working method in this book.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. Hexter.We are interested in their commitments and obsessions. anecdote. Natalie Zemon Davis. Bury. even their dress. continuous. messianic. Carr.We are interested in historians’ dreams and nightmares. Joan Scott. Sir Walter Scott. Anna Davin. George Macaulay Trevelyan. Foucault. nostalgic. unbroken.. Ranke. Hayden White. . ‘postsecularist’ fashion the Western experience and phenomenology of time as double.... Lord Acton. apocalyptic. especially their frequent desire to play an important advisory role in the Western nation-state. J. mythic. So we investigate what historians say they do. J. Herbert Butterfield. Names like Herodotus. and social genealogy. and what they do. We are interested in their bodies. Hannah Arendt. miraculous. 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’. their inevitable eccentricities and idiosyncrasies.Is history fiction? . Said would focus on the contribution to the making of ideas and discourses by particular intellectual personalities. Daqing Yang will be somewhat like characters in a historical novel. Francis Cornford. To the contrary.H. as secular yet also sacred and mythic. the late Edward W. This will be our approach. how they wish to appear to the world. or the ways Arendt in Men in Dark Times discussed thinkers in terms of biography. Walter Benjamin. and quirkiness that ‘grain’ intellectual history and make it so interesting. which was to focus on a kind of impersonal discourse as if it contained no particular authors.

has famously suggested. our love of. are part of history’s very nature. its research. sometimes amiable and cooperative. Given history’s doubleness. such differences and disputes are inevitable. often dramatic.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. our affection for.Introduction ..20 And perhaps this doubleness is the secret of history’s cunning as a continuing practice. 11 .. one of the writers who has most insisted on the fictive character of history. We also recognise that history’s doubleness.. . History cannot escape literature because it cannot escape itself: history presents the results of its enquiries.. but help explain what the historian in the present takes to be the meaning of past events and occurrences. VI The frequent opposition in modernity between history and literature has left many historians scarcely able to recognise history’s inescapably literary qualities. 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. It is a scene of differences and disputes. as Hayden White. means that it is also frequently at war with itself. disagreement. our fascination with. history. too. as narrative. History cannot escape literature.. self-transforming discipline. and always interesting: they. sometimes angry and bitter.. and creativity. its divided character from its very beginning... an inventive. and so necessarily enters into and partakes of the world of literary forms. Herein lies our enjoyment of.

established Western historical writing.The Arabians assert. Its wings are not feathered. (Herodotus. the historian of the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta later in the century. 2. and the Egyptians also admit.152) In the fifth century BCE Herodotus. but I am not obliged to believe it all alike – a remark which may be understood to apply to my whole History.. 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. 12 . but resemble very closely those of the bat. my duty is to report all that is said. (Herodotus. that with the spring the winged snakes come flying from Arabia towards Egypt. And thus I conclude the subject of the sacred animals. but are met in this gorge by the birds called ibises. and Thucydides. Yet the kind of history they inaugurated has .. recognised as such in the ancient world itself and for ever after...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. the historian of the wars between Persia and Greece. They are its undisputed foundational figures.75–6)1 For myself. who forbid their entrance and destroy them all. 7.

there is interchangeability between the Greek world and the world created in Herodotus’ book. but he was never the great traveller and first-hand observer of customs in many and diverse lands he claimed to be..J. Herodotus’ The Histories created for the continuing future of historical writing a cosmopolitan international mode of world history. engaged in narrative. yet the austere temper of his history too has frequently been discussed in terms of its possible relations to Greek tragedy. he set that world within the ‘context of Greek knowledge’ and hence ‘constructed for the Greeks a representation of their own recent past’. and pre-Socratic philosophy.. always been in dispute. Luce tells us that the Roman statesman Cicero cited Herodotus as the Father of History. introduces The Mirror of Herodotus (1988) by claiming that through Herodotus we can discover how the Greeks of the classical period saw nonGreeks. especially in his stories of the wonders of Arabia. history as literary.5 I We will begin with the earlier historian. and speeches. Babylon. we argue to the contrary. and a reputation as the Great Liar has continued: not only was he a Great Liar in his frequent fantastical storytelling and apparent gullibility. was accused of being the Father of Lies. For Hartog.2 In his The Greek Historians (1997).3 Thucydides has always been held to be a far more focussed and disciplined historian than Herodotus. T. history as drama.Towards the end of the nineteenth century. 13 . but almost in the same breath referred to him as a purveyor of countless tall tales.. characters. for example. for as Herodotus travelled the world and told of it. François Hartog. In our view. 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. Herodotus. he never went to places like Lower Egypt. in how they conceived the historical enterprise. does not assume the centrality of .. engaged in the creation of scenes..6 The Histories. 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. how Greece saw its others. and the Black Sea..H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . medical theories of diagnosis...4 These varied readings indicate a foundational ambiguity in Herodotus and Thucydides themselves.

Herodotus claimed to have spent most of his life travelling. He was born in Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum. fantastical ethnography. a city that in his earliest years was part of the Persian Empire. Sometimes extended stories in The Histories read like novellas.. in Athens. probably in the panhellenic Greek city of Thurii in southern Italy. Since The Histories appeared near the beginning of the Greek prose tradition. possibly in 484 BCE. and Jacques Derrida.. in terms of created characters.7 In The Histories. Greek culture and history. of the Persian Empire. Mikhail Bakhtin. Halicarnassus was a city on the margins. sustenance and kindness to travellers. On his father’s side. especially if we think of three of modernity’s greatest literary philosophers: Walter Benjamin. and the effect of the whole. of Ionia. and in part was an outsider to Greekness itself. travel was frequent by itinerant philosophers and thinkers. it would appear that Herodotus was not Greek but Carian. and elsewhere in Greece as well as extensively in eastern and Mediterranean societies. neither Greeks nor Persians are to lose ‘their due meed of glory’. 14 . haven. the Carians being the native people in the hinterland of Halicarnassus. We see Herodotus as a kind of outsider figure in relation to any settled ethnic or national identity. with extended stays on the island of Samos. As we shall see. supplicants. The Histories reveals a sophisticated methodology that at once creates and disperses meanings and interpretations.Is history fiction? . and died soon after 430 BCE. Herodotus makes it clear that offering hospitality. Herodotus announcing in his very opening sentence that he wishes to preserve from decay ‘the great and wonderful actions of the Greeks and Barbarians’. reported actions. and of the non-Greek hinterland. we can say that the birth of history is in effect coincident with the birth of prose. dramatic speeches..... the enemy of such wisdom was always the hubris of rulers. free to be as critical – or admiring – of any Greek society as of any other society in the worlds. He owed and professed in The Histories no fealty to any particular Greek nation-state. a pluralising methodology that anticipates contemporary literary and cultural theory. is novelistic. reading of dreams and omens and prophecies. who could arbitrate local differences and suggest alternatives. that he knew or knew of.The work is anti-nationalist and anti-ethnocentric. the stranger. 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. refugees and exiles was part . on the Aegean coast of Turkey). exploring of dilemmas. far and near.. In the Greece and wider world of his day..

137). Herodotus tells the story of the escape from Sparta of Demaratus.The Greeks were not blameless victims..73... 5.136). by killing the heralds. Kindness to messengers and ambassadors was also part of international law. who granted him exile and received him generously. fleeing his countrymen who were pursuing him.76). Demaratus.98. and presented himself before King Darius. who had come as ambassadors to Xerxes on this mission of apology.70. 7. ignorance. 9. had broken the laws which all men hold in common’ (7. A signal aspect of The Histories is the number of stories and digressions (logoi) that are highly critical of the Greek city-states. He relates the anger and contempt of the Persian king Xerxes who. 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. for example.. 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. recalling this ‘former outrage’. The narrator of The Histories suggests that manifest here in such retribution might be ‘the hand of Heaven’ (7. 100). many years later the sons of the two Lacedaemonians.H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . 6.104. and betrayal. of international law that stretched at least from Egypt and Persia to Greece (1. cruelty. were put to death by the Athenians. The Histories refers to a story where the Persians express astonishment at what they see as the almost incomprehensible levels of . treachery. giving him both lands and cities (6.8).51. who. not sparing even democratic Athens from stories of prejudice.. 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. made his way by sea to Asia. Of a story that Heracles only just escaped being sacrificed in Egypt.70). As it turned out. said ‘with true greatness of soul’ to some heralds of the Lacedaemonians (Spartans) who had come to apologise.. King Xerxes felt that it was necessary to wreak vengeance upon the Athenians for they had made unprovoked attacks upon the Persians (7. 15 . Herodotus refers to the Greeks frequently telling ‘many tales without due investigation’. with some Greek states looking to rewards from the Persians and ready to ‘betray’ their country (6. 2. that ‘he would not act like the Lacedaemonians.133)... 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. that the Egyptians engaged in human sacrifices.45).115.

and successful.Is history fiction? . 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 cursed with two unprofitable gods. secretive (receiving money without telling the other captains). while the conquered are ‘destroyed altogether’ (7.. The episode anticipates the famous Melian Dialogue of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. who always dwelt with them and would never quit their island. and willing to betray his fellow Greeks for his own safety and gain if the occasion required it (8. To Themistocles’ declaration that the money must needs be paid. thou shalt destroy the offspring of women’. and thereby to secure himself a rich reward from the king’ (8. Unheeding. the Athenians then laid siege to Andros. comments:‘these very Greeks are wont to wage wars against one another in the most foolish way. cunning. . In the decisive sea battle won by the Greeks. demanding large sums from islanders like the Carystians and the Parians.. and the Persians had fled the scene of battle and sped towards the Hellespont.10). internecine violence and warfare among the Greeks. And in war he was resourceful. Themistocles distinguished himself in these rapacious actions. resisted paying. an action which perhaps prefigured the imperial arrogance in the Athenian empire that developed after the defeat of Persia. The inhabitants of the isle of Andros. as the Athenians had brought with them two mighty gods.111–12). with the conquerors usually departing with great losses. But Themistocles was also a war profiteer. Instead of interchanging heralds and messengers and making up their differences ‘by any means rather than battle’. the Athenian commanders like Themistocles were not above corruption and bribery (8. 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..4–5). Persuasian and Necessity. the Andrians replied that they were wretchedly poor.9). through sheer perversity and doltishness’... Certainly he was clever. however. 16 . the Greeks (in this case the Athenians) immediately laid siege to their fellow Greeks in the vicinity. who gave it to them out of fear. Mardonius. the Greeks attempt to destroy each other. stinted for land.111–12).141–3). one of Xerxes’ chief military commanders. namely Poverty and Helplessness (8. 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. to wit. Once the Greek fleet had won..

H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . 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. and jurists like Hannah Arendt. Herodotus wishes his historia to be a disciplined . 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.. when the Athenian women heard about Lycidas. malicious towards his fellow Greeks.10 Herodotus also anticipates the thought of Lemkin in not positing history as a delusory or comforting narrative of progress. the great Polish-Jewish jurist who formulated the notion of genocide in his 1944 Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. they flocked to Lycidas’ house.9 Raphaël Lemkin.While Xerxes returned to Persia. where they stoned to death his wife and children (9.. 17 . literary critics. stoned him to death. Mardonius despatched a Hellespontine Greek to the Athenians to offer them terms. world history.. his general Mardonius decided to attack the city of Athens again. but found it empty. when Lycidas... and a desire to record stories even where truth is impossible to ascertain. Bakhtin.Auerbach.9). world literature. Spitzer.11 As Herodotus wrote in The Histories. or rather the oneness of the world.8 Far from expressing or reflecting Greek consciousness. Lemkin. one of the Athenian councillors. Herodotus remains detached. gave his opinion that the Persian proposals be heard by the council and also be submitted to an assembly of the people. II Herodotus pursues a double desire in The Histories: a desire to find truth if he can. either could occur at any moment. The Greeks could commit extraordinary cruelties. too fond of foreigners and the viewpoints of foreigners. surrounding Lycidas. the Athenians having withdrawn to their ships or to Salamis:‘he only gained possession of a deserted town’. the Athenians became enraged and. world culture. ‘nothing is impossible in the long lapse of ages’ (5. Edward Said – as world thought.. adopting in antiquity what we might refer to now – if we think of twentieth-century philosophers. Jaspers. In terms of the first desire.. then. and such could include the very worst as well as the very best of human possibilities.3–5)..

says Herodotus. 82. Cyraunis.86). where there is a lake ‘from which the young maidens of the country draw up gold-dust. that as someone who had been initiated into the Mysteries by the Egyptian priests. Herodotus tells stories of African societies and regions that are far beyond Egypt..195.3. also 2. Herodotus’ characteristic method in The Histories is to proceed by assembling more than one story. or if he can decide that one account rather than another is to be believed as ‘the truth of this matter’ (3.. Hoping for truth but unsure on so many occasions that he will with any certainty reach it (6. tales often wondrous. 170–1.103). based on research. then. 160. fantastical. also 5. 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. with stories often differing because told by different groups in a conflict. I propose to myself throughout my whole work faithfully to record the traditions of the several nations’ (2. I know not.. marvellous.150). perhaps two or three or four.123). 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. 18 . enquiry. 124.The narrative effect is profusion close to incoherence and chaos. Yet often. 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. observation. for example. The Carthaginians report the existence of an island. 132. and the weighing and evaluating of different reports and viewpoints (5.46–7. by dipping into the mud birds’ feathers smeared with pitch. 61. about an event. The historian has a responsibility to his informants. I but write what is said’ (4. 86). especially if an event or happening or attitude can be corroborated (2..’ Herodotus continues:‘If this be true.83). creating contradictory viewpoints and complexity.. In this case. For my own part.8). 8. In this spirit of reporting what he has heard. know from our present researches. also. scepticism about information. indeed very often.. 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.. to find the truth of the past. 65. Here Herodotus refers to ancient stories that involve .2. He also believes that historical enquiry should observe protocols of research.. or he knew directly of it himself. he must maintain a scrupulous research ethics. The historian desires. yet possibly true: we can never.Is history fiction? .32. 45.14. also 8. 5. apropos the holy orgies of the Epidaurians.

marvels. or Medea and Persia. through the hubris of wanting to believe that history will fulfill their dreams of greatness (as with kings and empires). the history of any event. or Athens or Sparta. who receive a riddling answer in verse (deploying metaphors always needing to be ‘read’) from the Pythia. the choice of women to pursue a love that goes beyond the borders of peoples and groups. for such.The remainder of The Histories. or Egypt. or the Massagetae. claims). resentments. In postmodern terms. and the historian is always discussing their interpretations as they bear on this or that situation. about past acts of violence. cycles of revenge. 19 . logoi that are often incompatible. maintained by different people and peoples.. then. or the Thracians. that live fatally on into the present.And if they misinterpret. For Herodotus. frequently. or make war. 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. or people wanting to found a colony. Phoenicians. Rather. traditions of interpretation. sustains that opening richness of storytelling. The opening pages suggest that history. Greeks. fables. omens. which is taken back to the community. Herodotus frequently uses the ‘I’ voice. Often the stories involve a party in a dispute. every act involves interpretation. or Libya and Africa. the opening pages are a kind of allegory for the method of the rest of The Histories. opinions. dreams. the history of any event begins with a kind of surplus or excess of stories about that event.1–5). their meaning continuously disputed by Persians. prodigies... intervening to tell the reader what his research protocols are. we would say that he is highly selfreflexive in making clear to the reader at all times what he is doing. from another point of view.The consequences of such events reverberate through the generations. begins with logoi (myths.. or.. The participants in history are always attempting to interpret oracles.. whose leading people then have to interpret – or.Trojans (1. he feels. as it explores in terms of social history and ethnography Lydia. wonders.H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . sending envoys to Delphi (or another oracle somewhere else). misinterpret – what they think it means.. the capture of women. prophecies. In Herodotus’ view. then disaster and destruction will follow. In terms of such self-reflexivity. What is methodologically interesting about The Histories is how explicit Herodotus is about these processes. bitterness.. is not possible. as he says. or the Scythians and Amazons. rumours. whether or not . sacrifices. or Ionia.

III Why did Herodotus write The Histories in prose.. and recovered all his treasures’ (2. where. received Helen back unharmed. Where epic poetry like The Iliad will rigidly pursue narratives that might be highly improbable. Herodotus suggests that poetry brings with it a kind of iron determinism.119). prose is more flexible. however. who was met ‘with the utmost hospitality. Priam and Alexander’s older brother .... 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. Herodotus in any case thinks it highly unlikely. prose can entertain all sorts of possibilities and play stories one against the others – Herodotus’ characteristic method in The Histories.Is history fiction? . the book devoted to exploring the ethnography and customs of pharaonic Egypt. that after her abduction Alexander came with Helen from Sparta to Egypt (they were taking refuge from a storm). In The Iliad there is never any doubt that Helen came with Alexander to Troy.. 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. 20 . more worldly. where she takes up residence with his family. 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. even if Helen had reached Troy with Alexander. Herodotus establishes the ‘I’ voice at the beginning of Western history. Helen is detained by the Egyptian ruler. in the case of epic poetry the completion of punishment. such and such a claim might be true.. asks the Egyptian priests what they know of a quite different story concerning Helen. later to be joined by her husband Menelaus. it demands completion. 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. the ruling family of the city. contrary to what occurs in The Iliad. or the source of a story.. and indeed makes a powerful and moving speech as catastrophe looms for the Trojans..

ironic. Let’s take the power of women in history. Nor are women idealised nor held to be incapable of violence and cruelty. From its . a relishing that goes very close to self-parody in telling stories that are frequently extreme or extravagant or wildly improbable. enduring..12 Where The Iliad is composed in a single tragic key. it does not assume that women recede from view. challenges and overturns what he sees as the rigidity of poetry with a kind of carnivalesque gusto.. but the Greeks would not believe what they said’ (2.. Herodotus says Homer knew the story of Helen not leaving Egypt with Alexander.. like the many stories he tells..120). and their city.. Herodotus constructs The Histories in terms of a free-wheeling multiplicity of genres. world history itself.13 IV In its interplay of multiple storytelling and adventures of interpretation. and so they told the Greeks. which. by contrast. or permanent features of human history. play off against each other. Herodotus. it is prose and only prose that can give such freedom to historical writing. that is. world history is the exploration of what might prove to be the salient. comic. so that the notion of historical necessity is always open to question. sometimes tragic. merely that Alexander might possess Helen’ (2. a flood of genres and tones. The Histories creates its true subject. 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. but discounted it because he wished his epic to show the harsh divine retribution that necessarily follows when great wrongs are done (2. Hector and the Trojans would have given Helen up to the Greeks:‘For surely neither Priam. 21 . chooses a procedure where he permits multiple stories to surround an event. In this view.116). their children.. from melancholy to wry humour to a relishing of storytelling itself. for in The Histories world history is not androcentric..H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . For Herodotus. nor his family. could have been so infatuated as to endanger their own persons.120). Herodotus.14 a history without any necessary progress for humanity. the Trojans ‘had no Helen to deliver. In The Histories.

the desire that one will be remembered in history for great deeds.g.15 The Histories. as mythological beings. partly Carian. In The Histories male hubris.. leaves great monuments to her reign (1. as performing sacred offices. not realising they foretell his death in the coming battle. some of the Scythians pillage the temple of Celestial Aphrodite.’ Troubled by visions and dreams. the god of prophecy (e. as perceived causes for outraged honour and ruthless war. one of whom. and bear to see us reign over the countries that are ours to govern.16 In the case of Tomyris. and manages by a stratagem to capture Tomyris’ son (who suicides in captivity). which he misinterprets. at this time king for twenty-five years. Nitocris. otherwise one’s society or empire might be regarded as sinking into mediocrity.104–5). the Massagetae at last . Returning through Ascalon in Syria.54–7). In expansionist mood. very beginning. thus losing his empire to the Persian king Cyrus. begins with an explosion of stories that refer to the power of women in history. they decide to invade Egypt. Cyrus presses ahead. 1.. a people living on a vast plain east of the Caspian Sea. but when they get to Palestine the Egyptians persuade them by gifts and prayers to advance no further. usually military.. Herodotus instates world history as gender-inflected.. is often met with female doubt and caution.184–7). Cyrus then makes preparations to invade..Is history fiction? . resistance to the hubris of the Persian king Cyrus is both eloquent and violent. 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. 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. in terms of their choices. but Tomyris knows that he really wants her kingdom. In the fierce fighting that follows.The Lycians.173). which still attaches to their posterity … travellers who visit Scythia can see what sort of a disease it is’ (1. the priestesses at Delphi and elsewhere who bring to supplicants the riddling advice of Apollo. Cyrus. we saw.91 refers to how the foolish king Croesus misinterprets the god’s oracle delivered by the Pythia.. also 2. whose customs are partly Cretan. There are two female sovereigns of Babylon.. the goddess punishes those who did the plundering by inflicting them ‘with the female sickness. as subjects of competing embittered interpretation. sends messengers to the queen desiring her hand in marriage. the Scythians in one period of their history defeat the Medes and become masters of Asia. queen of the Massagetae. 22 . Throughout The Histories we see the power of the Pythia..

while the men sit at home at the loom … the women likewise carry burthens upon their shoulders. Herodotus refers to famous Egyptian courtesans. 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). yet he has ruined her life in the death of her son.102).204–14. and Cyrus himself dies. who avenges the death of her brother.35). in terms of gender. Archidicé (2. Herodotus tells of powerful women in Egypt.. for a person in her condition’. Anticipating by well over two millennia Flaubert’s observations in his journey through Egypt in 1849–50 when he encounters the dancer Kuchuk Hanem.67). which she desecrates. originally a Thracian by birth and brought to Egypt as a slave. the king. Queen Tomyris has Cyrus’ body brought to her.‘or woman-like men’. Herodotus observes of gender relations in Egypt that they ‘exactly reverse the common practice of mankind’:‘The women attend the markets and trade....134–5). in this sad and tragic speech.‘as she was very beautiful.. that while she has defeated him in battle.100). mournfully she intones to the dead king. while the men carry them upon their heads’ (2. also 2. as did the name of another courtesan.18 Herodotus evokes the manner and customs of women who reject usual roles as women: the famous warrior women the Amazons. at the hands of his subjects by devising a cunning scheme to destroy a ‘vast number of Egyptians’ (2. after obtaining her freedom.H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . Interestingly. prevail. on the hubris of male rulers in pursuing the misery of war. the greater part of the army of the Persians is destroyed.. including Rhodôpis. becoming so celebrated that her name came to be familiar to all the Greeks.26). Some Amazon . who say Aphrodite taught them their techniques of divination (4. in wars of conquest that always put nations and peoples under threat of loss of liberty and death of loved ones (1. 23 . in part exploring stories about Scythia and its far-flung neighbours beyond the Black Sea. Here The Histories anticipates much later cultural histories of gender inversion and androgyny. among the Issedonians ‘their women have equal authority with the men’ (4. for example the fearsome queen Nitocris.. Tomyris makes comment.. dipping his head into a skin full of human blood.The Scythians refer in their stories told to the Greeks to soothsayers called the Enarees. amassed great wealth. Herodotus tells us of reports he has heard concerning the Issedonians.17 In book 4. she remained in Egypt and.

and later she advises him to return home to Persia rather than stay for any more battles (8. also cutting off the ‘breasts of their wives’ (4.50–1). a girl of eight or nine years old.. Herodotus tells many other stories of the power and resourcefulness of women as exemplars.When Aristagoras attempts to persuade Cleomenes the Spartan king to cross into Asia to make war on behalf of the Ionians. on the contrary.68–9)... who fights on the side of the Persians. who ask the Amazons to marry and stay with them in Scythia..146). who nailed some enemies to crosses round the walls of her city. where they seize horses and start plundering the Scythian lands (4.There is the fierce ruler Pheretima. Your women.114) The young Scythian men go to live with the Amazons in another land some six days north-east of where they are. and never go out to hunt.3).87–8). to hurl the javelin.Is history fiction? .The Amazons rise up against the crews and massacre them to a man. Cleomenes’ daughter Gorgo. Artemisia distinguishes herself. . wise advice that the king accepts (5. but stay at home in their waggons. for good or ill. women had been captured by the Greeks and were imprisoned on ships.The Amazons reply: We could not live with your women – our customs are quite different from theirs. engaged in womanish tasks.202)..When only one Athenian warrior survives an expedition and returns to Athens. there the women and men wear the same clothes. the women whose husbands have died surround and stab the man with the brooches by which their dresses are fastened (5. unsuccessfully. There are the Spartan wives who exchange clothes with their husbands to allow them to escape prison (4.87). To draw the bow. these are our arts – of womanly employments we know nothing. tries. the Amazons hunting on horseback and taking the field in war (4. or to do anything.. to the king’s admiration. Atossa (7.. (4. 24 . 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. wise and brave.116).110). in the sea battle even though it is lost by the Persians.19 There are still more stories. and finally land the ships in Scythian territory. do none of these things. in world history. his only child. to bestride the horse.20 Artemisia the Greek queen. warns him not to trust Aristagoras. There is the ‘all-powerful’ Persian queen.. Then follows a witty narration about the coming together of the Amazon women and young male warriors of the Scythians.

the Persian king and Greek queen as well as Mardonius the Persian general are created like characters. Otanes. In the scenes involving Xerxes and Artemisia. or colonising and empire-building. A Persian. have no weapon of war..23). including setting aside the laws of the land.. in The Histories touches of utopia. as necessary and inevitable. When their neighbours fall out. he is safe from all hurt’ (4.H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . who are pacifists. Megabyzus. bringing with them endless catastrophe. V The Histories do not see war.This is history as great novelistic and dramatic writing. says the failing of . a people bald from birth. But Herodotus also reports stories of peoples who eschew war and violence. or hubris for conquest.War and hubris are certainly created as common in world history. and subjecting ‘women to violence’. they make up the quarrel. There are. Beyond the Scythians are the gentle Argippæans. as natural for humanity.. and when one flies to them for refuge.80–3 refers to an interesting discussion about different forms of government that might be appropriate for world history. with Artemisia in particular given powerful speeches.. then. It takes place in Persia. commenting of monarchy that the rule of one man over all is ‘neither good nor pleasant’.. of Gandhians long before Gandhi. and do not know how to defend themselves’ (4. says he prefers democracy to oligarchy and monarchy. ‘who avoid all society or intercourse with their fellow-men. putting men to death without trial.100–3). for they are looked upon as sacred – they do not even possess any warlike weapons... with flat noses and very long chins:‘No one harms these people. while Xerxes’ inner feelings and thoughts are explored (8. VI The Histories 3. Herodotus also hears reports from the Libyans of a remote people in Africa called the Garamantians. often leading to ‘haughty tyranny’. Another Persian..174). 25 . both men and women.

and Greeks taking themselves into exile are wont in The Histories to be warmly received in Persia.. that Mardonius the Persian general. Finally. a single leader. Persians.137). ‘untaught. and with no natural sense of what is right and fit’. for example. particularly the Ionian. with close friendships formed by those engaged in them. As it turned out. government composed of the worthiest citizens of the society. were ruled by tyrants who preferred Persian protection (4. Furthermore.82).. when young and on an expedition for Darius. there will always be malpractices. Often. in the discussion of Mardonius’ defeated army.. there were interactions. looking down on citizens who practise trades (except in Corinth). Herodotus reminds those Greeks who would not believe that Otanes advised that Persia become a democracy.43). There could be values shared by Greeks.. Herodotus tells us that the Persians were not necessarily anti-democratic. Anticipating modern theories of elites. They and their kings are also praised as we have seen for many qualities: there is in The Histories no absolute distinction. They are perceived as pursuing luxury. for it permits government by ‘the very best man in the whole state’.167–8).. familiar from Orientalism. In what we might call now an anti-Orientalist spirit. 26 . until a man stands forth as champion of the commonalty against the evil-doers. in sumptuous food and clothing (for example. it was Darius who became king. and in lieu of them established democracies’ (6.‘put down all the despots through Ionia. 9. the Athenians making decisions through democratic assemblies. Darius comes forward. the Spartans being ruled by kings. says Herodotus (3. Megabyzus advocates oligarchy.. while especially honouring those who are ‘given wholly to war’ (2. he says. with violent quarrels often the outcome.. Egyptians and Scythians and other societies in the world explored by Herodotus. Darius says that in oligarchies fierce enmities arise between men. In democracy. declaring that monarchy surpasses both democracy and oligarchy. . usually leading to the eclipse of democracy and rise of monarchy.88–9). the ‘rude unbridled mob’.. between the Greeks as representing an essentialised democratic Europe and the Persians representing an essentialised autocratic Asia.Is history fiction? . Many Greek states. In general Herodotus is not dismissive in an absolutist Orientalist way of the Persians. democracy is that in calling ‘the people to power’ it leads to domination by ‘the unwieldly rabble’. each wishing to be leader. the Greeks were far from unified in their values and modes of governance.

. 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. Black Sea. however distant.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. from 1492 onwards. ‘never ceased to astonish the Greeks’. losing colonies.. establishing colonies. 27 . In world historical terms inspired by Herodotus. those who stay at home. conquering. while those inveterate wanderers. while the indigenous peoples they encounter. the ‘nomads’ who lived beyond the Black Sea and existed without houses. Australian Aboriginal spokespeople. being conquered themselves or resisting being conquered. who always belong wherever they go. invaded the lands of sedentary indigenous groups in the Americas and Australia. or ploughed fields. and who continue restlessly to roam and wander within the continent. Africa. are regarded as nomads. a characterisation they regard as a narrative reversal. the European colonists and immigrants who have crossed oceans and strayed far from their homelands. where agricultural societies like the Persian and Greek. The contemporary indigenous leader. restlessly roam.. he then asserts that ‘the nomad’ is Herodotus’ ‘primary subject’. 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. winning empires.. passionately resent being characterised as nomadic by their European colonisers. who yet don’t live in homes and towns or practise agriculture but who stay firmly on their own lands. Herodotus creates an ancient world of the Mediterranean. the nomads. towns. losing . the white colonisers/migrants coming from afar.21 In The Mirror of Herodotus François Hartog says that the Scythians. Egypt.H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . transferring populations into and out of conquered islands and lands.. warring. Mesopotamia. across the seas.. are named the settlers.. Galarrwuy Yunupingu.. once they feel powerful enough. as Ann Curthoys has pointed out. we can observe that the migratory nomadic societies of the Spanish and British empires.

101). In The Histories agricultural societies are revealed to be precarious in their fabled stability: because of ever-present warfare and the hubris of conquest. 28 . remarkably anticipating the invasion of Russia by Napoleon. Europe and Asia. fearing disaster and impelled by terror. 109).. though after a while the Scythians on horseback attacked the Persians at their mealtimes or at night. But Herodotus himself says that the ‘boundaries of Scythia extend on two sides to different seas.. is the greatest similarity between the Greeks and Persians. for example. enters Scythia with his vast host but the Scythians keep falling back and staying out of sight.145). this time against Libya (4.. Darius and his best troops. the cannibalistic Androphagi. Darius. The Scythians remain watchful to see when the Persian supplies might fail. cutting across distinctions of West and East. those free and high-born including women and children can at any instant move to slavery and servitude. or the Budini. those alive at one moment can be transferred by war and battle into death. expanding.103–5). Herodotus does refer to groups near the Scythians who are ‘nomads’. the supposedly settled are always becoming unsettled. 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. Some neighbouring nations pledge support for the Scythians. then.23 Nor were the Scythians nomadic in the sense of having no defined territory: on the very contrary. It is the supposedly settled and urbanised peoples who are the nomads of world history.Is history fiction? . Undeterred by this near-catastrophe. In Herodotus’ telling. empires.. and the other towards the east. more or less benignly.. the Persians decide to undertake another great expedition. far less.83–91. and that Scythia is ‘square in shape’ (4. one upon the south. perhaps. As it finally happens..106. as is also the case with Attica’. contracting. 118–42). take desperate flight to the Ister to escape by sea back to Asia (4. usually less. Here. It is. others refuse saying it is the Scythians’ own fault because they had once attacked the Persians (1.99. .. 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. the ‘aboriginal people of the country’ who ‘eat lice’ (4..

whose mother was Istrian. when he came to the Greek town of the Borysthenites.. in a word... not Scythian. the ‘Egyptians are averse to adopt Greek customs. 79.. narrowing one’s life. 158). the Scythians appear curiously rationalist compared to the Greeks.41.H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . . In their dislike of Greek Bacchic ‘madness’ (4.‘The Scythians’.38). a similar fate befell a man called Scylas. but he is espied in this activity and is killed by the Scythian king. a cosmopolitan ease with different cultures. Ister being a Greek colony. which earns disapproval throughout The Histories as something that always leads to prejudice and ignorance. or.76).76).When the Scythians happen to see Scylas engaged in a Greek ‘Bacchanal rage’. to which Herodotus’ whole history is yet opposed. particularly of those in use among the Greeks’ (4. On his return to Scythia.. and thus severely do they punish such as adopt foreign usages’ (4..78–80). 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 adopt no foreign usages’. ethnocentrism. 29 . in Herodotus’ view ‘because of his Grecian travels and adoption of the customs of foreigners’ (4. Becoming king of the Scythians. that The Histories prefers a mixing of and play with identities. Scylas’ life is placed in danger.24 Herodotus is also critical of the Egyptians for being ethnocentric. 91.. in woodland. even building a house there and taking a Grecian wife. to exchange his Scythian dress for Grecian garments. which he tries to do in secret. It is difficult not to conclude. they call by the name of barbarian all such as speak a language different from their own (2.‘have an extreme hatred of all foreign customs. and displayed wherever he went many proofs of wisdom’.Anacharsis wishes to continue celebrating the Mother of Gods. to ethnocentrism and its violence.. ethnocentrism it records as a universal characteristic of humanity (3. Herodotus instances the fate of one Anacharsis.79). says Herodotus. venerating their own purity above all other peoples:‘The Egyptians adhere to their own national customs. Later. and at night. VIII One more thing about the Scythians: they exhibit a quality. Scylas nevertheless liked. reading these stories of Anacharsis and Scylas the Scythians and such comments on Egypt. a Scythian who had ‘travelled over a great portion of the world. believing one’s own society’s stories. refusing to credit the stories of other societies. those of any other nation’. a custom of revelry and madness the Scythians dislike.

and so what launches Western historical writing. 30 . In the Enlightenment. famous courtesans in ancient Egypt or the evocation of how the Amazons join up with the Scythians. political.. curious. as cosmopolitan.. naval.. Conrad. the Nights influenced Dickens.25 . Borges. cultural. Wilkie Collins. IX Establishing historical writing as world history. Joyce. where the frame story concerning the perilous relationship between King Shahriyar. an enquiry. immediately set about creating an empire themselves. a discipline. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. the Nights influenced narrative towards a delight in decentredness and the mixing of heterogeneous genres.. followed by how the Athenians.Is history fiction? .. The Histories provides an exemplar of expansiveness and inclusiveness for future Western historical writing that historical narrative can be written in any genre. and his new wife Shahrazad. victorious at Salamis. for example. social. and transnational. Yet The Histories also tells a proliferating number of stories that record the everyday. military. how it came to invade Greece in the early part of the fifth century. internationalist.. exotic. how its attacks were finally repulsed. from early in the eighteenth century.The frame story of The Histories is a history of how the Persian empire came into being. religious. In its recognition of doubleness. What characterises The Histories as a project of historical writing. from the erotic to the cosmological. or variety of genres. fantastical. who lived in the lands of India and China.The effect is similar to what we can observe of the mode of storytelling in The Thousand and One Nights. Herodotus’ The Histories anticipates contemporary literary and cultural theory in many ways. sexual.. rather establishing historical writing as freely economic.. or marvellous. Herodotus does not confine history to any area or field or focus. diplomatic. combined with the interest in storytelling. 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. is its doubleness: the concern for history as a field. Herodotus’ The Histories we think is a truly remarkable and wonderful work. with associated research protocols.

For Bakhtin. of what it is and ever will be. with a constant movement from the serious to the humorous. it would freely display digressions. the Menippean novel explores the adventures of a philosophical idea in scenes high and low. used to illustrate or personify the idea or emblem. to Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin.. Shaftesbury and La Rochefoucauld to the literaryphilosophical modes of the Athenaeum Fragments of Jena Romanticism. of world history. that adventure. Menippean satire undermined any certainties of position and outlook. dated to Menippus of Gedara in the third century BCE. In The Literary Absolute.26 Both the narrativity of the Nights and the fragment look forward to cultural features of modernity and postmodernity like pastiche and montage. 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. Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy suggest a tension within the fragment. sometimes including dream journeys. that philosophical idea. nightmares. 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. In his Problems of Dostoevsky. comment on life and morals.. In its profusion of stories. polyphony and heteroglossia. totality and dispersal. utopias. as allegories.. that there is a constant tension between the apparent clarity of an idea or emblem.H e r o d o t u s a n d Wo r l d H i s t o r y . often almost chaotic...27 In Herodotus’ The Histories conceived as Menippean. report symposia. 31 . 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. is history itself. madness. its interest in the fantastic and marvellous. The Histories anticipates later Menippean modes of writing in antiquity. Bakhtin prizes the Menippean novel for its extraordinary freedom of plot. incorporate humour and fantasy. unlike other satirical writing which would criticise people and activities from a fixed standpoint. Benjamin argues of the kind of allegory that developed in the sixteenth century in baroque art and theatre..28 .. Herodotus establishes history as a mode of storytelling where the stories work emblematically as parables. of combination and dissolution. its philosophical invention. and the profusion of images. Menippean writing incorporated looseness of structure..

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

The Peloponnesian war broke out in 431 and was fought intermittently until 404.460–400 BCE) was younger by a generation than Herodotus. that I was banished from my country for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis. 1. 5. too..22)1 I lived through the whole of it [the Peloponnesian war]. because of my exile. but was done to last for ever.. particularly on the Peloponnesian side. when Athens . being of an age to understand what was happening. It happened... (Thucydides. (Thucydides.CHAPTER 2 Thucydides My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public. and monarchical Sparta and its league of allies.26) Thucydides (c. I saw what was being done on both sides. and I put my mind to the subject so as to get an accurate view of it. 33 . 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. often with oligarchic governments. and this leisure gave me rather exceptional facilities for looking into things.

1). In 424 he was appointed general.26). I Thucydides’ approach to historical writing in many ways clearly contrasts with Herodotus’ approach. the whole of mankind’ (1. or only like a man under compulsion’:‘In his malice... Thucydides reflects that the times before his own ‘were not great periods either in warfare or in anything else’ (1. Thucydides himself participated in the war.2 In this chapter we explore differences and similarities between Thucydides and Herodotus as the co-founders of history. I might almost say. which yet was over quickly after two . Dionysius adds that Thucydides ‘details’ Athens’ ‘misdeeds with the utmost exactitude. the historian should focus on a great historical period. season by season (5. was the Persian war. Thucydides was reproved in similar spirit by Dionysius of Halicarnassus.Is history fiction? . affecting also a large part of the non-Hellenic world. and indeed. carefully structured. The Peloponnesian war was. decisive.The History is the work of an exile. and highly analytic. he finds the overt causes of the war in the conduct of his own city’. If in antiquity Herodotus was accused by Plutarch of being philobarbaros. In Thucydides’ view. directed. he remained away for twenty years. and which had provided it with wealth and prosperity and a conviction of historical greatness. but was banished for what was perceived in Athens to be a military failure. deploying a strict chronological method where the recording of events can be organised year by year.. Thucydides writes. 34 . Thucydides’ History is fast moving.Western historical writing was inaugurated by two outsider figures. At the beginning of his introductory book 1. either he does not mention them at all. The greatest war in the past. then. 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.. precise. In Herodotus and Thucydides.. however. a period of war. ‘the greatest disturbance in the history of the Hellenes. but when things go right... 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’.. surrendered and lost its empire.1). and not long after he returned to Athens he died.

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. often in wonderful writing. an Athenian ally. the historian’s true subject is political and military history.127). were resettled with new inhabitants). and warriors. 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. military and naval battles. but brought with it ‘unprecedented suffering for Hellas’. 35 . whether by foreign armies or by the Hellenic powers themselves (some of these cities. effects when it is over for the participants. For Thucydides. led by the Spartan king Archidamus. besiege Plataea. closes his remarkable Funeral Oration on those who had already died.23) Thucydides does not glorify war.. frequently present in Herodotus as part of his social and cultural histories. ‘is not to be inferior to what God has made you... preparations for battles.. history in its oddities and eccentricities and remarkable surprising differences. the famed Athenian statesman and orator who convinces Athens to proceed to war against Sparta (1. Pericles. indeed the very reverse. Never before had so many cities been captured and then devastated. but almost excluded from Thucydides’ focus on male politicians. whether they are praising you or criticising you’ (2. Eventually. never had there been so many exiles. not as in Herodotus the history of the everyday as well as of crisis. we learn that while most residents had left the city for Athens. after capture. battles. encouraging speeches by generals.78). by advising the newly widowed in the crowd on their duties.All these calamities fell together upon the Hellenes after the outbreak of war. demagogues. but much of his History is devoted to evoking in detail.. Pericles tells the women. some 200 Plataeans and twenty-five . while the Peloponnesian war not only lasted a long time..3 Another contrast concerns the prominence or not of women in the narrative. 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.. and the greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men. consequences for the state of the nations at war..46). naval battles and two battles on land. then. When the Peloponnesians. (1.‘Your great glory’. Plataea surrendered. orators.Thucydides .

to acquire a really precise knowledge of the distant past or even of the history preceding our own period’ (1..5 Here intrudes a major difference between the two historians. joined in the work of building’ (5. then being appointed (4. Herodotus chose to write about a past event. history is largely oral history.When the democratic party in control of Argos. and slaves.. For Thucydides.. built long walls down to the coast. it appears that such was Thucydides’ preference for and reliance on oral communication and eyewitness reports that he neglected documentary research. out of fear of Spartan attack. women.82) That’s about it: such mentions of women are not only rare in Thucydides but occur incidentally. another priestess. also 4. were the usual result when a city lost a siege (3.48. 36 .. hurling down tiles from the roof-tops and standing up to the din of battle with a courage beyond their sex’ (3. one that involves the question of the stance of the author-narrator to his material and his readership. he does not see it as part of his method to tell his readers . Athenians were executed by the Spartans. and the ‘women were made slaves’: men of military age being put to death. By contrast Thucydides famously held in his book’s opening paragraph that he found it impossible. that the pro-democracy ‘women also joined in the fighting with great daring.There is mention of the temple of Hera at Argos being burnt down ‘through the negligence of the priestess Chrysis’.21–2). the Persian war. even when pertinent documents existed (though he does quote some documents). that the historian can write a history even of the recent past. 5. When civil war broke out in Corcyra between the democratic and oligarchic parties. Thucydides doubts. ‘because of its remoteness in time... and the enslaving of women and children. 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. With war came turmoil across Hellas. Indeed.32). from contemporaries who were participants in and observers of the war (1. almost with surprise.. men. then. Phaeinis.1).Is history fiction? . Thucydides reports. where ‘facts’ are established by comparing ‘reports’ from various ‘informants’.22).68.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’ (1.133). the ‘whole of the Argive people.74).4 Another difference concerns the question of the feasibility of histories of the past..

and then evaluates them. By contrast.6 The terms monologic and polyphonic immediately reprise the literary theory of Mikhail Bakhtin. the author gives to his characters a definitive. whereas by contrast Herodotus in The Histories is polyphonic. its great ‘set speeches’ (1. and we only know their views and reports as assimilated and analytically reworked by the historian. who his informants are. final meaning. Where Herodotus specifies the source of a story. the author.. Bakhtin feels.7 Here is Herodotus.. Standing above and outside the narrative. Bakhtin argues. the characters are not active subjects but become objects of his fixed authoritative gaze. His characters remain unfinalised and with strong rights as autonomous subjects in the narrative. The characters. 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. an organiser and participant in the dialogues. to consider what they think of the various narratives and interpretations. In Tolstoy’s monologic fiction... permitting readers more actively to become involved in the text. but without retaining for himself the final word. juxtaposes and contrasts them one to another. The Histories frequently presents a number of stories and explanations for events. that is. are denied anything like equal rights with their author. In Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics Bakhtin constructs a contrast between Tolstoy and Dostoevsky as two opposing kinds of author-narrators. in her essay ‘The Concept of History’ in Between Past and . view and counter-view.. the clashes of conflicting positions and voices. his all-encompassing field of vision. all-knowing and all-controlling. 37 . Tolstoy as author dominates his text. Here is Thucydides.. opinion and counter-opinion.There are remarkable speeches in Herodotus as part of the stories he relates.. The effect is that the History presents us with a magisterial and authoritative account.22). of energetic argument and counterargument.. Dostoevsky’s texts are polyphonic: the author acts as a kind of arranger.Thucydides . Thucydides’ informants remain largely unknown. constructs his characters.8 Hannah Arendt. Another difference concerns a famous aspect of Thucydides’ History. the author does not speak with but about them. in an Athenian and wider Hellenic public sphere of superb oratory. 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.

also send representatives to Athens: ‘An assembly was held and the arguments on both sides were put forward’ (1. from which comes [doxa]. to which correspond the most diverse points of view. the Greek learned to exchange his own viewpoint. as all the opposing set-speeches in the History tend to be. or ‘opinion’ – with those of his fellow citizens. and send representatives to Athens to put their case. After the two speeches the Athenians ‘discussed the matter at two assemblies’ and chose what to do (1.9 A superb example of set-speeches for and against a position arises during the early dispute over Corcyra. The Corinthians.. The speeches in the dispute over Corcyra are equally persuasive... diplomacy.31). 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. in an unvarying tone and style that is the historian’s brilliant own.10 Not all these set-speech contestations occur in Athens.They decide to join the Athenian league. 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.Is history fiction? . and now found itself at war with Corinth. 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 . though. Corcyra had not enrolled itself either in the Spartan or Athenian league. as the Sophists presented them to the citizenry of Athens. the ‘polis-life’ which ‘to an incredibly large extent consisted of citizens talking with one another’.. and international Hellenic law and custom. what is due to the past.. Greeks learned to understand – not to understand one another as individual persons.32–44). arbitration. in keeping with a monologic text.. but to look upon the same world from one another’s standpoint. his own ‘opinion’ – the way the world appeared and opened up to him [dokei moi]. There is the early debate at Sparta over whether or not to declare a general war against Athens. hearing of this. it is clear that all the speeches are written by Thucydides. to see the same in very different and frequently opposing aspects. Future (1954). ‘it appears to me’. not of the historical actors. alliances. In a sheer inexhaustible flow of arguments.The Corcyraean and Corinthian speakers discuss disputed issues of neutrality.. in Bakhtin’s terms. treaties. statecraft. 38 . Attempting to be neutral. relates the vigour and liveliness of the Athenian public sphere..

Thucydides .36). They ‘decided to put to death not only those now in their hands but also the entire male population of Mytilene.28). The Mytilenians.) After a siege the Mytilenians surrender to the Athenian forces. But when we saw that they were becoming less and less antagonistic to Persia and more and more interested in enslaving their own allies. The next day. There are also remarkable speeches made involving the fate of Mytilene. the Athenian general now in control of Mytilene. there was a sudden change of feeling and the Athenians ‘began to think how cruel and how unprecedented 39 .. not the subjugation of the Hellenes to Athens.62–78). ‘with orders to put the Mytilenians to death immediately’ (3. for revolts and attempts to secede became more and more common in the Ionian allied or subject states as the war went on.g. decided what to do about Mytilene and its population.The Athenian army enters the city.. its innovativeness and adventurousness. So long as the Athenians in their leadership respected our independence.10) The Mytilenians felt what they perceived as Athens’ imperial arrogance was becoming increasingly insufferable: as indeed did many in the empire. Back in Athens.. the Mytilenians choosing to revolt from Athens’ empire in 428. compared with Sparta’s slowness and caution. the chief city on the island of Lesbos. 1. ominously. . 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. (1.. (A motif of the History is to feature Athens’ characteristic speed of decision and action. having the ‘right to act as she saw fit with regard to the people of Mytilene’.8). Some ambassadors from Mytilene explain to the Spartans and their allies at Olympia that Mytilene had long chafed under the domination of Athens (3. and to make slaves of the women and children’ (3. underestimated Athens’ boldness and resourcefulness in situations of crisis (3.. disastrously failed. angry that the Mytilenians had revolted and had also attempted to ally themselves with Sparta and the Peloponnesians.118. (3.Thucydides tells us. however. e. however. the Athenians.3).. Accordingly. with Athens. The Mytilene revolt..36).. They chose to enact what in modern terms would be called genocide. 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. we followed them with enthusiasm. while the Mytilenians are permitted to send representatives to Athens to put their case (3. they sent a trireme to Paches. then we became frightened.

..’ 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’. what Diodotus proposes to his fellow citizens is also an argument where. some of them dangerous and contemptible demagogues in Thucydides’ view. a key episode in the History. He again argues that the Mytilenians should be spared. who in the previous assembly had vigorously opposed the motion to put the Mytilenians to death.. as an ‘example’ to the other allies who. who had been responsible for passing the original motion to put the Mytilenians to death. in observing the inevitable consequences. with various opinions ‘expressed on both sides’.‘for the violence of his character. not pity or compassion for the fate of subject peoples: ‘Do not be swayed too much by pity or by ordinary decent emotions.‘He was remarkable among the Athenians’. Yet. 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. as with Cleon. The first featured speaker is the demagogue Cleon.. but the entire population of a state’. wish you to be influenced by such emotions.. The representatives from Mytilene then suggest to the Athenians that they reopen the debate about what should happen to their people.. Now occurs the famous Mytilenian Debate. will be warned never to revolt (3.. In Sophist fashion. the primary thing is that Athens should continue to ‘hold power’: ‘The only alternative is to surrender your empire’.Is history fiction? . Pericles had died early in the war.’ 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’. imperial reason is put before concern for the Mytilenians themselves.The ‘rights and wrongs’ of the case are irrelevant.What matters is how to manage the empire. as Thucydides presents it.. He brings forth the analogy of the death .A new assembly is called at once. I. Thucydides chooses to focus on two speeches for and against destruction of the Mytilenians.37–40). so other leaders had come forward to be prominent speakers at assemblies.36). Cleon concludes that the Mytilenian revolt has to be punished by mass death as he had recommended before. such a decision was – to destroy not only the guilty.Thucydides comments. 40 . The opposing set-speech is given by Diodotus. no more than Cleon. and at this time he exercised far the greatest influence over the people’ (3.

As it turns out. 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’. with its chilling revelation of the self-interested morality and imperatives of empire. penalty for individuals. 41 . and sustained. the show of hands at the assembly is nearly equal. By such wise moderation will the empire be preserved. with Diodotus’ motion just passing. with its focus on how an empire should be secured. it will know that there is a possibility of repentance and the chance of ‘atoning as quickly as they can for what they did’. that of tragedy. a reversal.. managed. Early in the History.. Diodotus advises that ‘good administration’ of the empire should work by moderation. Such long sieges.11 In so doing. they can be persuaded now to support Athens and keep Mytilene within the empire.41–8). which.Thucydides . are also very expensive for Athens and at the end the besieged city will be in ruins... Thucydides appears completely to support Athens’ reasons for war with Sparta.. then it will hold out to the very end because it knows what the consequences of a revolt will invariably be. II The Mytilenian Debate.49). A trireme is immediately sent out to try and catch up with the first ship.. it anticipates the even more chilling Melian Dialogue of book 5. Diodotus points out.. as Thucydides phrases it. for ‘those who make wise decisions are more formidable to their enemies than those who rush madly into strong action’ (3. was fortunately ‘not hurrying on its distasteful mission’.. and the disastrous Athenian invasion of Sicily in books 6 and 7. and massive failure in the war for Athens. as the History moves towards its conclusions of disillusionment for the author. is a kind of peripeteia. The debate. and such support can be witnessed in his featur- . a turning point. for then if a state does rebel.The second arrives just in time to prevent ‘the massacre’: ‘So narrow had been the escape of Mytilene’ (3. is an inkling that Thucydides’ great work is shaped to a literary design. in the History as an unfolding drama. when Diodotus and Cleon’s motions are put forward. Diodotus warns of the folly of killing the democrats at Mytilene who had voluntarily given up the city to Athens.‘so that we lose the future revenue from it’. saying it should be opposed because it does not deter the breaking of laws.

Pericles’ speeches are great in the Sophist tradition.Their naval superiority will win the war. provides no counter-speech: Thucydides. some agreeing war was necessary. especially the gaining of an empire. with many having to crowd together between the Long Walls and in Piraeus itself (2. Sparta delivered an ultimatum to Athens.143–4. reports only Pericles’ set-speech. Athens.39). As war loomed. built on the ‘warlike deeds by which we acquired our power’. arriving in Athens to find there was not enough space for them in the city. of Athens’ superior seamanship and because through their naval operations the Athenians also are experienced at land fighting (1. or views contrary to Pericles’ unyielding prowar urgings and proposed military strategy and confidence in an easy Athenian victory. he notes. homes. and Thucydides says that many speakers came forward and ‘opinions were expressed on both sides’. it is a highly curious aspect of the History that Thucydides. nevertheless. Pericles delivers a paean to Athens’ greatness. says Pericles. Thucydides. also 2.13–14).. No speeches against the war.. Certainly. and temples. some urging peace (1..17): still no reported criticism of Pericles! During his Funeral Oration held for those men first to die in the war..142). 42 .. there seems to be nothing in the narrative that is not admiring of Pericles’ arguments for war and his attitude to empire.. protects Pericles from possible criticism and counter-opinion. are given on this or other occasions when Pericles addresses the Athenians at assemblies.. and quite quickly (1. 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. where he tells his fellow Athenians his reasons for thinking they should be confident of ultimate victory in the war: principally because. Thucydides reports the sadness and reluctance with which the Athenians elsewhere in Attica left their towns. view and counter-view..Is history fiction? . However. We have quoted before Hannah Arendt admiring Thucydides for his ‘objectivity’ in that he always deploys the Sophist method of speech and counter-speech. everyone is equal before the law. ing the set-speeches of Pericles. people can rise by ability alone.65). also 2. whenever Pericles makes one of his outstanding speeches.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). Before the war and in its early stages. there is a relaxed freedom and . The Athenians vote their agreement with Pericles (1.145. here dropping the Sophist method.

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. Still Thucydides offers no criticism of Pericles even though it would appear that sickness and disease.62). as the present age wonders at us now’.. There is the beauty and good taste of Athenian homes. Furthermore. During this speech. doing kindness to others out of friendship and not out of calculations of profit and loss. people dying through nursing others with it. including Athens’ own allies and subject states.. even if not anything as calamitous as plague. Future ages will wonder at us.. 43 . the gathering despair and hopelessness. Thucydides reports. could have been predicted as a consequence of Pericles’ strategy of crowding everyone into the city and between the Long Walls. regard as Athenian imperial arrogance. Athens in its greatness is history’s ideal society... Pericles urges his fellow Athenians to remember their ‘superiority’. Thucydides notes that in this ‘catastrophe’ matters were made much worse because of the removal of people from the country into the city.50). which then spread through Athens.35–42). and whose miseries Thucydides evokes with evident anguish: ‘Words indeed fail one when one tries to give a general picture of this disease’ (2. collapse of the law.Thucydides .59). and laws protect the oppressed. He describes people expiring in suffering and pain. says Pericles. desecration of ceremonial funeral practices. the courage and ‘intelligence that makes one able to look down on one’s opponent’ (2. 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. particularly affecting the newcomers (2.Athens shows its greatness by participating in its empire with a ‘free liberality’. tolerance in private life. ‘Mighty indeed’. and Athens as a city is open to the world.. the doctors dying through proximity to patients. for persuading them to go to war (2. For Pericles. He adds a personal note: ‘I had the disease myself and saw others suffering from it’ (2. Yet the very next section of the History records the plague. ‘are the marks and monuments of our empire which we have left. the first cases being among the population of Piraeus. and breakdown in honourable and virtuous behaviour. blaming him. Pericles himself reveals what those opposed to Athens in the war. failure to make laments for the dead.. Athens’ excellent education system. The Athenian citizens themselves become angry at Pericles..47–54). Pericles proclaims.48). He .

Thucydides does not report any anti-Pericles speeches associated with this persisting general illfeeling. between the Melians. including in the juxtaposition of episodes. In this remarkable conversation.Is history fiction? . (Pericles died two and a half years after the outbreak of the war. integrity and intelligence of Pericles and the rightness of his strategy. is a story of how disastrous was the war that Pericles did so much to bring about: indeed. Thucydides’ gathering disappointment.. the more it goes on.. and especially the evocation of the plague just after Pericles extols the greatness of Athens and her empire. he is surely echoing Pericles’ speech that what matters to Athens is its empire. is evident in his comments during the Mytilenian Debate. Thucydides notes that even after this speech there was still general illfeeling against Pericles. the disillusion with the hubris of Athens and the morality of empire. and he then goes on to record his own admiration for the wisdom. and dramatically present in the way he constructs the famous Melian Dialogue that occurred in the years 416–415 BCE (5. The Athenians insist that in this situation the only morality to consider is one of force and power. there is the ‘hatred which we have incurred in administering it’... reminds them that the ‘imperial dignity of Athens’ is the result of its empire. 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. Nevertheless. ‘is now like a tyranny: it may have been wrong to take it.. and he was fined.The Athenians tell the Melians that they . he now admits. 44 .84–116).63). in the History there is no one in Athens or Sparta who is as responsible for making the war occur as Pericles. Thucydides’ History.. Yet in many ways. Pericles adds. whatever feelings of resentment and hatred might be present from those subject to the empire. and that is all on the Athenian side. which they must not lose. only self-interest matters. the Athenian representatives say they will destroy Melos if the city does not surrender. later. and an invading force of Athenians. justice is irrelevant. especially of not adding to the empire during the course of the war. even though. it is certainly dangerous to let it go’ (2. a colony of Sparta who had tried to remain neutral in the war..) Thucydides says that in his view Athens eventually lost the war because Pericles’ strategy. was not carried through by the demagogues who afterwards dominated the assemblies (2.65). ‘Your empire’. When.

For reply.12 In the remainder of the History. when he writes in his 1944 Axis Rule in Occupied Europe that genocide involves an attack by an incoming people on another people.. The Athenians then ‘put to death all the men of military age whom they took. inspired by the demagogue Alcibiades. Thucydides suggests. cruel. led by intelligent capable individuals like Hermocrates. for the war and for Athens itself. and sold the women and children as slaves. until eventually the Melians surrender unconditionally.Thucydides . the reduction of their population. 45 . when Athens.87).84–116). ‘a general and necessary law of nature to rule whatever one can’. launched with such fanfare by the whole population of Athens.Thucydides tells of the consequences of such morality of empire. the Sicilian venture. The shocking story of the Athenian destruction of Melos conforms to the definition of genocide by Raphaël Lemkin. Melos itself they took over for themselves. the greatest Hellenic action that took place during the Peloponnesian war. its whole army there being almost wiped out or imprisoned in dreadful conditions and then sold into slavery (7. now have to come within the empire (‘it is for the good of our own empire that we are here’)... The battles on land and water in Sicily were. the Athenians lay siege to Melos. but also the Hellenes in Italy and then Carthage and its empire as well. characterised as one of history’s more remarkable schemers and intriguers whose only loyalty was to himself. ‘in my opinion. Such widespread Mediterranean conquest was part of Alcibiades’ aim for the expedition (6. After this conversation. the Athenians warn. As it turns out.. is a catastrophe for the Athenian navy and soldiers. 90). and that they cannot any longer stay neutral as this will be taken by the empire’s ‘subjects’ as a sign of weakness. says Thucydides. . and colonisation of the new territory... 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. The Melian Dialogue is immediately followed by books 6 and 7.. is that the Syracusans. It is. indeed. to the vanquished the most calamitous of defeats’ (7.15. sought to invade Sicily to the west. A major reason for the Athenian defeat in Sicily. merciless. with the eventual hope of conquering not only Sicily’s democratic cities like Syracuse.85–87).They invite the Athenians to make a treaty of friendship between Athens and Melos that will preserve their neutrality. and the Melians should not resist such rule because their nation is weak. the greatest action that we know of in Hellenic history – to the victors the most brilliant of successes. sending out later a colony of 500 men’ (5.. genocidal.

there is no contradiction between being a democracy and aggressive desire for war with all its cruelties. The hubris of the rulers of empire. leading invariably to disaster and catastrophe. (Hermocrates was also a formidable orator. for the fortunes of war can quickly change (4. was a leading motif of Herodotus’ The Histories. and such a view was certainly prominent among the Syracusans in their determined opposition to being made a subject people of Athens. 18).Is history fiction? . the Spartans warn the Athenians that true wisdom lies in refusing such hubris conceived at a time of success. so that after the Sicilian expedition Athens was – a key reason. When the Athenians. saying that Athens and Sparta should now make a treaty to end the war and that Sparta offers Athens peace..15.. flushed with this victory. refuse because they feel confident of more victories. than ever was cautious monarchical Sparta. Hermocrates pointing out that ‘what Athens wanted was to substitute her own empire for that of Persia’ (6..77). the Syracusans overcome Athens’ naval strength with their own developing navy and naval skills (7. and makes a powerful set-speech when the Syracusans first debate the news of a possible Athenian invasion – 6. the possession of empire and its attendant empire morality. when it perceived it to be in the possible interest of Athens’ greatness as an empire.55–6). 46 . In the view of the History as a whole it was Athenian imperialism. and far more reluctant to consider peace. after an Athenian military success at Pylos (4. It is the judgement of Athens’ enemies in the war that Athens had become as oppressive as the Persian empire before it. were similar in temperament to the Athenians. misery. Democratic Athens actively seeks war throughout: in Thucydides’ History. also 6.. alliance. including subsequently in Ionia.. at least as strong if not superior to their own (7. So it turned out in the Peloponnesian war for Athens as well. moral collapse. Nor was democratic Athens reluctant to attack other democratic societies.76..18). as Thucydides sees it. that destroyed what was finest in Athens’ political culture. audacious and adventurous. and loss of life.) With assistance from Sparta. and friendly and neighbourly relations.33–34. with the consequence that in 411 BCE there was an oligarchic . for their final defeat – faced with naval forces in the general war. which was far more uncompromising and belligerent in wanting war and pursuing war.. In 425 BCE Sparta sent ambassadors to Athens. The ethical indifference and cold selfinterestedness evident in Athens’ imperial management increasingly affected Athens itself..21). like Syracuse in Sicily.

47 . military. cultural.. especially twentieth-century totalitarian regimes in Europe.64).66).. impairs and threatens the ethical values and standards of the home democracy itself: such is a theme also of modern political theory. the hatred of the empire’s subject peoples. which not only lost the war and its empire. military. for . much of its historical prestige. if we think of future Western history. will be ‘visited by the most terrible vengeance’ and will be ‘an example to the world’ (5.90).69). were supported by ‘120 “Hellenic youths” whom they made use of when there was any rough work to be done’ (8.14 They established possibilities and alternatives that are still with us...Thucydides . Empire.15 The key difference is that whereas Herodotus offers a plethora of histories. what will also last for ever is the memory of the terrible consequences of Athens’ desire for war and of its imperial morality. political.. with its low ethical standards towards subject peoples. or amorality. lost. and diplomatic.13 Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. coup and for a while loss of democratic freedoms for Athens’ citizens. the oligarchy. but. ‘does not last for long’. in its juxtaposition of episodes and its aesthetic shape. Ominously.. warn the Melians. what will last forever is Athens’ ‘brilliance’ which will become the ‘glory of the future’ (2.. is indeed a tragedy: a tragedy for the Hellenes as a whole and Athens as well. But in the view of Thucydides’ History. gendered. by its conduct in the war. as the Melians predicted before they were genocidally attacked. Pericles had said to his fellow Athenians that in the ‘memory of man’ hatred.. Such a difference has consequences for how Western history is perceived. Gandhi. As the Melians said to the Athenians. known as the Four Hundred. III The differences and similarities between Herodotus and Thucydides are important for the later development of history. Athens would eventually face the disgrace of history: ‘your own fall’. social. including violence by the oligarchic party’s supporters against anyone who dared dissent (8. religious.Thucydides presents history far more narrowly as political. 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.

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’.We would argue that Thucydides discontinued his narrative when he did because his artistic purpose had already been met.56. example. When Thucydides does contemplate history before the present. he reveals a curious . or ‘In my opinion’ (8. he says. 1. in Thucydides’ case in terms of a single genre. Nevertheless. is to ‘make the speakers say what. charged in his 1909 essay ‘Hind Swaraj. the tragic drama of the relationship between democracy and empire had been played out in the arrangement and design of the text. or ‘For these reasons or reasons very like them’ (7. He can use a rhetoric of uncertainty with phrases like ‘It appears’ and ‘it seems to me’ (1. or Indian Home Rule’ that Western historical writing characteristically concerns itself with the doings of kings and emperors. but it also evident even in the magisterial Thucydides.44). It is not interested in the everyday life of nations in history in times of peace.68). in Herodotus’ case in terms of a profusion of stories and a delight in storytelling itself. tragedy. ‘my method’. in Herodotus and Thucydides..20).22). and at the same time each enters into the world of literary forms. or ‘It is probable’ (8.2)..16 Such a charge certainly does apply to Thucydides – but it does not apply to Herodotus.. and with crises like war. well before Athens’ final defeat. each allows for significant uncertainty in any historical interpretation.88). as a single kind of history: it is already divided. or ‘it was difficult to find out from either side exactly how things happened’ (7.9). was called for by each situation’ (1.. It is worth noticing that Thucydides stopped his History in 411 BCE. Thucydides refers to an interpretation of his as ‘my theory’ (1.93).64).Is history fiction? . 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’. or ‘it would be impossible for me to give the exact numbers’ (5. it is an unending ‘record of the wars of the world’... 48 . Such allowing for uncertainty is clear in Herodotus’ multiple and frequently contradictory stories.We cannot then assume that Western historical writing begins. or ‘Whatever the truth may be’ (2. it already provides differential possibilities.. as Thucydides says. times that are frequent yet overlooked..17 Thucydides allows that even the history of the present cannot be one of certainty. in my opinion.86). 8.5). While in search of truth. or ‘I imagine’ (1.

He ponders a remarkable feature of the plague..20 For ourselves.. victory would be theirs’. 13.. for past states of affairs (1.18 Herodotus and Thucydides leave as part of their legacy the not infrequent use of the ‘I’ voice. and the ‘god himself would be on their side’. Finally. or not seriously’.10.Thucydides . which had not found much confirmation in recent experience.‘seemed to fit in well’ with the words of the oracle (2. frequent eclipses of the sun. He reports that when the Spartans had enquired of the god whether they should go to war. but violent earthquakes.We should. In particular.54). 49 .. that its full force was felt at Athens whereas it ‘never affected the Peloponnese at all. droughts followed by famine? Thucydides comments on such unusual happenings associated with the war: ‘Old stories of past prodigies.. How to explain the calamities that tumbled upon the Hellenes after the outbreak of war: not only the plague.104). poets like Homer exaggerate (1.23). Neither Herodotus nor Thucydides establish Western historical writing as fully secular. and antiethnocentric spirit what will be permanent or persisting or enduring through the ages. a legacy that historians in modernity are still struggling to match and to learn from.100). says Thucydides. 1. now became credible’ (1. ambivalence about the value of Homer and poetry as historical evidence. if carefully used. usually held to be severely sceptical and rational. ‘Many things’.. be sceptical of the poets.Thucydides reflects that what was happening. 9. . ‘prove to me that the gods take part in the affairs of man’ (9. the reply they received was that if the Spartans ‘fought with all their might. the sudden devastating appearance of the plague in Athens troubles Thucydides. Herodotus writes near the end of The Histories. Yet he can appeal to the ‘ancient poets’ and Homer as ‘evidence’.3. the plague affecting the Athenians not their enemies. and 3.21). cosmopolitan. it has been a delight to write about the inaugurators of history: they left the most remarkable and rich legacy. It is not at all clear here that Thucydides himself does not find such prodigies to be credible. we can say that both Herodotus and Thucydides create history as world history.The ‘I’ voice is not an invention of modernity. It is foundationally there in historical writing in antiquity..19 But such is so as well – at least we think it to be so – of Thucydides. seeking to show in an internationalist..

and I hope that together we shall produce a Romano-German prodigy. then. (Quentin Durward. of those ‘heathen hounds’.. or Gypsies] were so different in appearance from any beings whom Quentin had yet seen. from letter of 1827)2 What. in all the romances which he had heard or read.. 1823)1 The object of my love is a beautiful Italian. is truth? A mobile army of metaphors. and was about to withdraw himself from a neighbourhood so perilous. . metonyms. history was viewed as a branch of 50 . and anthropomorphisms … (Nietzsche. that he was on the point of concluding them to be a party of Saracens.. when a galloping of horse was heard. (Ranke on some Venetian manuscripts. who were the opponents of gentle knights and Christian monarchs. a product of the nineteenth century.4 In England and Europe in the ‘long eighteenth century’ (1660–1830). 1873)3 An active opposition between history and literature is historically quite recent. and the supposed Saracens … were at once charged by a party of French soldiers.. ‘On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense’.CHAPTER 3 Leopold von Ranke and Sir Walter Scott The disordered and yelling group [of Bohemians.

Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) conceived the idea of gravitation and made a reflecting telescope. or the basic character of the universe. 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. philosophy. The same author might also write intense theological speculations about the Old and New Testaments. was drifting towards the natural sciences.5 Joseph Priestley (1733–1804) was known as a man of science. just two generations before the Trojan war.L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t . or the nature of God.6 From early in the nineteenth century. history and literature began increasingly to move in different directions. histories.. texts with imaginary philosophical conversations (in the tradition of the ancient symposium). literature came frequently to be seen no longer as a craft. and books in letter form directly addressing a particular reader (a friend. with long-term formative consequences for both. in the words of Lionel Gossman. arguing in a late work The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended that Osiris. and whose ‘History of the Corruptions of Christianity’ was in 1785 burned by the common hangman. chiefly as a chemist. from the classical to the contemporary. the person who was responsible. a general category.7 . a ‘magical or religious mission’.. for advancing Egypt from barbarism to civilisation. openly fictional. Bacchus. As noted by Erik Iversen in The Myth of Egypt and Its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition (1993). so Newton ventured. literature. theology and. that we now find difficult to comprehend. forms of writing.. he was also a Unitarian who rejected the doctrine of the infallibility of Christ. to become more specialised as vocations. The same thinker might write biographies. but he also tried to use astronomy to amend the chronology of the biblical stories and strongly defended the trinitarian view of divinity. Historians recognised the affinity of their writings with other. but as poetry. reports on scientific experiments.. History. Newton was interested in Egyptology.. In such famous and controversial figures of the ‘long eighteenth century’. more enclosed within their own worlds. there was a continuity in their thinking and writing between science. 51 .. history. With the spreading influence of Romanticism in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth. counting history as one of its established forms. and Sisac were all different names for one single person. Egyptology. meanwhile. a patron) on a remarkable range of topics. frequently. literature.. Sesostris.. and by the use of mercury was able to deal for the first time with gases soluble in water. who conceived the idea of oxygen.

as this chapter will sketch in. frequently met socially. His early education grounded him in Lutheran pietism and the languages of the GraecoRoman world. But his writings also. and its appendix with its critical discussion of sources.. though in the 1830s he began to move in more conservative circles. but settled on historical studies. History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. His work was pivotal in the emergence of many of history’s distinctive theories. procedures.The élite of the university. inflections of gender.. or moving towards Savigny’s preference for seeing history as the study of particulars. in large part because of its introduction that argued for the necessity of a new kind of history.The university boasted great figures. In social circles. born in Thuringia in 1795. which he worked on during his years as a teacher. Ranke enjoyed becoming an habitué of the liberal salon of Karl and Rahel Varnhagen von Ense. 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. in a city already the intellectual capital of Germany. I The crucial moment of the development of modern professional ‘scientific’ history occurred in the 1820s. von Savigny in legal history. philosophy.. sensibility. Ranke. 1494–1535. 52 . inconsistent. Hegel in philosophy. methods. He toyed with a career in literature. worldly and professional. reveal an intellectual figure highly idiosyncratic.Is history fiction? ... 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. Ranke’s life is a story of success heaped on success.9 After his History . which immediately created widespread interest. 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). and contradictory. In 1824 he published his first book. and the crucial figure of that moment is Leopold von Ranke. which the young Ranke now joined. He continued his studies at the University of Leipzig.. and it also mingled with high officials of the Prussian government. and in his own life-time would go on to attain a worldwide reputation.8 In the 1820s Ranke was a young man with vast ambition.. was the eldest child of a small-town lawyer and descendant of a long line of evangelical pastors.. and rewards in terms of professional identity and esteem.

of the Ottoman and Spanish Monarchies in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries was published in 1827. to Florence. then. as he later wrote. the Prussian government generously awarded the young historian a research grant for study of the sources of sixteenth-century Italian history. he embarked on a Universal History. In early 1871 he retired from teaching at the University of Berlin but continued writing.. During the revolution of 1848 he penned position papers urging Friedrich Wilhelm IV to resist the liberals in preserving monarchical rule in Prussia. Clarissa GravesPerceval. then 84. like so many German travellers before him. His scholarly journey to locate documents took him first to Vienna (where some Venetian archives were stored). he nevertheless found great joy in his discovery of hitherto little used or unused archives.Throughout his career Ranke was showered with honours. he met and married an Irish woman. though his family felt resigned to his being a lifelong celibate devoted to writing his histories. Ranke met the future king of Prussia. striking up a friendly acquaintance. and they had two sons and a daughter. and with the reputation now of being a conservative.L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t . his fellow protestants felt Ranke had been too fainthearted.. 53 . in 1880.. 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. across the Alps to Italy.. daughter of a Dublin lawyer. Ranke’s reputation spread beyond Germany.. in 1885 an honorary citizen of Berlin. Rome. Upon the publication of his History of the Popes in 1834–36. which would form the basis of many years of historical writing. Indeed.11 . In 1841.. He hence became for a while. he received a substantial rise in salary and promotion to the professoriate. Living quietly in these legendary cities. Ranke found himself rewarded by a grateful Prussian government for his monarchical politics. His close association with government figures in Germany continued. In 1843. On his return. Venice. Friedrich Wilhelm IV. he was appointed Prussian Royal Historiographer.. in 1882 he became a privy councillor. a political journalist. In 1865 he was granted hereditary nobility.10 In Rome. While the journal did not attract many writers or readers and he had to write most of it himself.. In 1831 he journeyed back to the University of Berlin laden with notes and manuscripts. he was seen as the first protestant to write impartially upon such a subject. while the papacy condemned the work as hostile.

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. I think. Every deed testifies to Him. Just how theological. the great German Idealist philosopher. and Ranke had insisted on the importance of ‘faithfulness to detail’. while still a young teacher in the gymnasium in Frankfurt on Oder. literature. perceived only in its outline and preserved lest it be lost from the sight of future centuries. In the seventeenth century the great and highly controversial Enlightenment thinker Benedict Spinoza felt that the philosopher should not seek honours or earthly rewards. Ranke tells Heinrich.. He stands there like a holy hieroglyph. The historian. where they spoke of the ‘different manifestations of God’. secretly preserved in mystic and occult knowledge. He tells his brother of conversations with a fellow teacher.Is history fiction? .. of the renewed germination of all the seeds sown by antiquity’. 54 . this inner drive to acquaintance with antiquity in its depth. the abiding belief that ancient Egypt is the source of the wisdom of the ages. Ranke compares God to a visual image.Yet it is clear from his earliest writings and musings that Ranke felt the historian should be an explorer of life’s ultimate questions. Egyptological. theology. history should seek to understand God’s presence in the world. . to his brother Heinrich in March 1820. He reminds Heinrich that Fichte. leads to God’.. and indeed mystical Ranke’s conceptions could be are evident in some reflections he confided.. and from non-rational pursuits such as mysticism or Egyptology. is to be found. the great interactions of history..12 Not so Ranke. will deepen their judgement and find God at the same time. of a ‘holy hieroglyph’: In all of history God dwells.13 Those who probe history. of its idea. its ‘indwelling spirit’. II Ranke is usually regarded as separating history from philosophy... must likewise investigate as profoundly as possible the inner movement of the past. but above all. apparently had once said that ‘love of the living past. Like theology. lives. he tells Heinrich. every instant preaches His name. Nor was history opposed to the romance of Egyptology..

.. especially once Jean François Champollion discovered in 1824 that the hieroglyphs were alphabetical in nature. known only to initiates. says Ranke to Heinrich. in the metaphor of ‘holy hieroglyph’. In 1798 Napoleon invaded Egypt and the Rosetta stone was found. particular and general. and speculations about Egypt’s relations with ancient Greece.16 Erik Iversen observes in The Myth of Egypt and Its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition that in Europe during and since the Renaissance. 55 . in the ‘great interactions of history’. mystical thought.. travel books. 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..‘above all’.The holy hieroglyph. through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Boldly then! Let things happen as they may. for our part. only. Egyptian hieroglyphs were often associated with allegory. also teachers. When Ranke suggests to Heinrich that the ‘different manifestations of God’ might be found in ‘faithfulness to detail’. fantasy. but also invokes ancient pharaonic Egypt. literature.14 Ranke as priest and teacher strives for an identity that is not only Christian. so are we also priests. music. a mode of expression and writing emphasising riddle and enigma.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. decoration. a Janus face: both Christian and Egyptian. the invisible creator god and the many visible gods of creation. And so shall we serve God.. art. though it was shortly after purloined by the British. architecture. we might think of the pantheistic Egyptian notion of the One and the Many. male and female (to be unveiled).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.. the interest in Egypt was diversely manifested in archaeology. and in the first decades of the nineteenth century it was deciphered.. let us try to unveil this holy hieroglyph. fashion. ..17 Perhaps the ‘antiquity’ which for Ranke sows the seeds of history has. is to be found in every ‘instant’ and.L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t .

And it is also an ideal. has had assigned to it the office of judging the past and of instructing the present for the benefit of future ages.18 Yet there are formulations. both in terms of establishing truth and the modern historian’s sensibility. that belongs to history. and tiring’ for the reader. its unity.A strict presentation of the facts.... 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..Is history fiction? .20 The historian should regard ‘treatment of particulars’ as ‘the essential part of the writing of history’. then. Ranke declares. plainly presented (‘colourless’). 56 . and the historian is not ‘free’ to make it connected). History. Ranke feels. and images in this 1824 introduction which suggest that from the outset of his publishing career Ranke was a contradictory divided figure. Ranke. marks out for his readers a new. at least in theory. disconnected. phrases. colourless. for such is an ‘exalted ideal’ for the historian to try to reach: ‘the event in itself in its human intelligibility.. not necessarily pleasing to read (‘harsh’.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. Certainly in the introduction there are recognisable positions that would appear to herald later professional history. non-judgemental future for historical writing: sober. not ‘literature’.. is the highest law. work. even if such evocation – unlike ‘works of literature’ – might seem ‘unattractive’.To such high offices the present work does not presume: it seeks only to show what actually happened [wie es eigentlich gewesen]. and not necessarily unified into a continuous story as in a novel (it may be ‘disconnected’. Ranke tells us. from the ‘work of the Greek and Roman masters’. It is not to be scorned. it is not only ‘particulars’ and the ‘event’ that historical writing . Nevertheless. that he inherits from antiquity. I am not certain that it is right to ascribe this quality to the work of the Greek and Roman masters. contingent and unattractive as that may be. he suggests. and might appear ‘harsh. its diversity’. even ‘tiring’ because of its accumulation of detail)... to be expected in works of literature.

and Magyar races’. for then he would have to include the ‘Slavic. which depends upon his ‘point of view’. What his history will do is show ‘how these peoples have developed in unison and along similar lines’. for then the Armenians would have to be included. however. will always have a ‘purpose’. involves the centrality of ‘race’. there are far wider and longer processes involved as well that shape the prized ‘facts’.. he says... for. Germany. inner and outer.Those excluded from Ranke’s racial categorisation are irrelevant to not just part but ‘all modern history’. as in the ‘Spanish domination of Italy.. Ranke’s history.. a dynamic centrality. are the ‘racially kindred nations of either purely Germanic or Latin-Germanic origin whose history forms the heart of all modern history’. conflict which nevertheless does not constitute fragmentation...L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t . and he does not mean ‘the concept of Latin Christianity’. his book ‘seeks to comprehend all these and other related events in the history of the Latin and German nations as a unity’. by focussing on a ‘small portion’ of the history of the Latin and Germanic nations at the beginning of the modern age. should explore. for then the Turks and Russians would have to be included. core and periphery. and hence will only be touched on in a passing and subordinate way. the ‘collapse of Italian freedom’. Ranke says. Indeed. 57 . ‘the Latin and Germanic peoples as a unity’. History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. then. he does not mean ‘the concept of Europe’. a metaphor suggesting essence. religious opposition in the Reformation – ‘in short. All such are ‘foreign to this unity’. What Ranke will remain close to.21 They are not part of modern history’s ‘heart’.. The historian. 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’. we soon learn. who are either Asiatic or count among them Asiatics.22 . Modern history. and in his own case. that division of our nations into hostile camps upon which all modern history is based’. he explains. is a story of conflict between various nations and forces within the Latin and Germanic nations. ‘I regard’. political opposition by the French. his point of view is suggested by the very title of the book he is introducing. and the Netherlands’. This unity is to be marked out by a series of exclusions of non-Latin and nonGermanic peoples. By such a notion of unity. Lithuanian. says Ranke. he does not mean a ‘universal Christendom’. Ranke begins the introduction by telling us what these are.

. between on the one hand the ‘collective Teutonic nations’ who had entered the Roman world.. 58 .. only seeking to show what actually happened (wie es eigentlich gewesen). the story of their unity can be observed in certain ‘external enterprises’. while Ranke assures us that we should not be either ‘judging the past’ or ‘instructing the present for the benefit of future ages’. for they were and are not only ‘alike in manners’ and ‘similar in many of their institutions’. it would appear. of generations. IV Ranke published at the beginning of the History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations another introduction. the French. It is at this point in his introduction that Ranke famously warns that he is not judging such processes. in which the Teutonic element was conspicuous. and the German. Ranke tells us that certain migrations of peoples across Europe led to a new unity. the Crusades. it was far too late for such a declaration of being non-judgemental. Furthermore. was to be theological as well as racial.. but they are ‘all sprung from the same or a closely allied stock’. In these pages. language. But. Spanish and Italian in which the Latin element predominated. they continued to display a unity overall. For. English.‘at times’ the ‘life of the individual.Yet. he insists. From this Latin-Teutonic unity ‘six great nations’ were formed.. and the colonization .. Ranke’s history. a combination that would come to be symbolised in the figure of Charlemagne and the unifying power of the papacy. such diversity within an overall unity. and on the other the Latin peoples with their Christianity. of nations’ has ‘the hand of God above them’. of not ‘judging the past’! Ranke has already declared that his history is a kind of racial history. a nineteen-page sketch of the argument of the book. which arise from the ‘same spirit’. 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’. Ranke concedes that subsequently these nations were almost always at war among themselves. surely... 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. and Roman law. Furthermore. chiefly in the ‘migration of nations.Is history fiction? . Ranke says. he ends the introduction by invoking the watchful hand of God. culture. and Scandinavian. only describing them.

The Swedes.This unity was forged in various external actions of repulsion or conquest.Arabs and Hungarians. Not only the Normans but all the Latin and Teutonic nations shared in ‘this new enthusiasm’. manners. Ranke adds. the Hungarians were driven back and became Christians.. then. others were carried on in the north and east of Europe ‘prompted by the same spirit’.. But there were more Crusades still. Ranke has explicitly identified with the Latin-Germanic unity so that he refers from now on to ‘our nations’. while now Christian these peoples cannot be said to belong also to the ‘unity of our nations’. Such were the ‘most important and permanent achievements’ in the south of Europe. of success in history: ‘a progressive development of the Latin and Teutonic life from the first beginning until now’. kindred religion.L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t . and the Slavs who neighboured the Hungarians. forcibly baptised the Finns. . chiefly Low Germans. which extended the migration of the Latin-Germanic peoples ‘on all sides and in all directions’. though. institutions. which included ‘possession of the coast of Africa from Tunis to Tripoli’. such unity ‘successfully resisted the influence of foreign races’: chiefly. and Flemish. 59 . were a signal historical achievement of the ‘whole body’ of the Latin and Teutonic nations.. largely unaided by any other people. English. Ranke’s narrative is a story of development. Happily. says Ranke. for example.. for concurrently with these eastern and southern Mediterranean ‘operations’. distinguished themselves in the Crusades. The Crusades. Here are to be noted further ‘progressive advances of our nations’. the ‘great armed pilgrimages to Jerusalem’. and the Spanish were assisted on the peninsula by the cooperation of their ‘kindred races’.23 Ranke’s narrative of progress is based. for between the Latin and Teutonic ‘conglomeration of peoples’ there was formed a close community of ‘blood. The Crusades also include the Spanish Christian conquest of Spain. then. indeed. revealed their ‘Germanic origin’ by becoming Christian and entering into the ‘circle to which they naturally belonged’. for example. The Normans. as did the contiguous Slav nations. For one thing. on the achievement of a kind of racial unity.. we can witness history as ‘a brilliant success’. for their ‘manners and their constitution have ever severed them from it’. Ranke tells us. of foreign countries’. and modes of thought’. subduing the whole of Andalusia and so redressing ‘the Spanish disaster’ of being previously overrun by Arabs. By page 6 of the introduction.. which become for him a ‘circle’.24 The Normans.. Here.. German rule was extended over all Esthonia.

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. Further. says Ranke. followed by the imposition of the life-world of the conquering group.Is history fiction? . the ‘Anglo-Germanic’ people. Ranke writes that it was the ‘crusading spirit that gave birth to colonization’.27 For Ranke.As it turned out. the Pomeranians were to some degree ‘germanised’.26 What was wholly deplorable for Lemkin was wholly admirable for Ranke. who had indeed. Livonia.. or else to exterminate them’. citizens and peasants who became the ‘real stock’ of the ‘new inhabitants of Mecklenburg. Brandenburg and Silesia’. Pomerania. Indeed. entered Ireland where they became dominant and made subjects of the ‘native Irish’.The ‘only justification’ necessary for the conquest of the Americas was a ‘grant from the Pope’.. and Courland.The ‘German name’ came to embrace the whole of the Baltic. ‘instigated the attack upon Ireland.. Ranke anticipates Lemkin’s linking. the Slavs were. Thus all parts of Europe could show the ‘unity of our nations in idea.. in action.. of genocide with colonisation (Lemkin mainly instanced what the Nazis were trying to do in Poland.. the proclamation that (in the words of the Pope) the enemy must be converted to Christianity or utterly destroyed. a conquest which pleased the Pope. for it was an achievement of ‘our peoples’ – was the implanting on the other side of the Atlantic of ‘five million white men’.. In this genocidal spirit. practically exterminated’. embodied in Henry Plantagenet. in a ‘new extension of our nations’. which permitted their replacement by German nobility. though he also in a footnote mentioned the Crusades as an example of attempted genocide in the medieval past). resolved either to convert them to Christianity.. 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. in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. the ‘three great respirations’ of ‘this unique confederation’ lay . the land of the Letts was made a German country. because that land would never obey him’. and in development’. Saxons and Westphalians leagued together to make a common expedition against the neighbouring Slavs. Ranke is pleased to announce as a ‘brilliant success’ that the ‘Danes. 60 . by the times of the Crusades. to the ‘west of the Oder. A major Spanish achievement here – not just Spanish.

as well as the Teutonic Knights whom he contrasts to ‘the Letts and the Slavs’. and as created by ‘our nations’ alone: ‘No other people had any share in it. and his novels were. to soften force by manners and the elevating influence of women. evident in the spread of Christendom. contributed principally toward awakening a participation in the deeds and achievements of the past’. Ranke sees all such cultural.’ 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. at least war conducted in the godly spirit of the LatinGermanic nations. but it is the province of chivalry to save the true man. and architectural achievements as the positive results of the great colonising wars of the Crusaders over much of the world. For Ranke the medieval period of the Crusades and the Knights is a golden age when so many things bloomed: chivalry. Ranke admits. In his ‘Autobiographical Dictation (November 1885)’..L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t . Scott was important for inspiring a nineteenth-century interest in history. poetry in the tales of Charlemagne and Arthur and the Icelandic sagas.. and Gothic cathedrals... Crusades.29 War may arouse every brutal passion in our nature. and colonisations.Yet the rejection was not simple or easy. . political. in the successful operations of their migrations. and the codes of chivalry associated with Latin-German Christianity. 61 . but division also led to new alliances that bound them together. which found a reception in all languages and all nations.. the development of freedom for towns. Certainly there was for many centuries strife and even enmity between the various Latin-Germanic nations in European history. which ‘form one single and connected event’... and to refine strength by pointing to what is divine. freedom of the towns.30 War is productive.. Ranke noted that the ‘romantichistorical works of Sir Walter Scott.28 Overall the Crusades were a great historical success because they embodied ‘an intellectual impulse’. Ranke admires the ecclesiastical orders of knights such as the Templars who maintained the spirit of the Crusades. a year before he died.

’ From then on. and opera in Europe and the United States as well as throughout the British Empire. Quentin Durward concerns the adventures of a Scottish gentleman. . ethnicity and religion in Quentin Durward. with hunting as the 62 .. and has stories that are often tediously involved. influential in literature as well as in painting.. Quentin thinks of himself as a ‘Scottish cavalier of honour’. and he is on his way to the court of Louis XI. a good Catholic..The Scottish archers are mercenaries.. chivalrous hero’. a chivalrous knight. and in whose employ is Quentin’s uncle Ludovic Leslie. and I read these works with lively interest’. a young traveller of only nineteen.36 Quentin’s family in Scotland had been all but destroyed by another clan.35 In what follows.32 In his statement.33 Why did he dislike it so much. a character who like other Scott heroes moves between competing social forces embodied in particular characters. But he also ‘took objection to them’. hoping to join the body of Scottish archers who protect the king. Set in France in the latter part of the fifteenth century. even in particular details..Is history fiction? . Ranke singled out Scott’s Quentin Durward for particular unfavourable mention. It is not as well known as Ivanhoe (1819). Ranke decided. Quentin has been brought up to consider war as the only serious occupation in life. open and carefree in his manner though intelligent and shrewd withal. but it is interesting nonetheless. to be completely contradictory to the historical evidence’: ‘I could not forgive him for accepting in his narrative biased tendencies which were totally unhistorical. drama. 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..34 Quentin Durward is often rather wordy. ‘attraction enough for me. has a main female character who is pallid and weak compared to Ivanhoe’s remarkable Rebecca. Georg Lukács in The Historical Novel (1937) sees Quentin as ‘the correct. He found himself ‘offended’ by the way that Scott had knowingly created historical portraits that ‘seemed. and what does this dislike tell us about his plans for history? Let’s look closely at this minor Scott novel. and presenting them as if he believed them. published in 1823. historical ally of the Scots against their mutual enemy the English.. in the nineteenth century the most popular of Scott’s novels. we will bring to the fore dramas of race. a year before the History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations.. he was convinced that the historical sources themselves were more beautiful and in any case more interesting than romantic fiction. but are held to be gentlemen and are ranked as such in France.

38 Quentin comes to realise that the king has betrayed him and releases himself from the royal employment (as it were). thief. While staying at an inn on the way to Louis’ palace. with danger always imminent. though he also fortunately attended a convent where he had been taught to read and write.‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel’. and separations faced by Quentin and the Countess. that women are the cause of ruinous civil wars. courtesan.. disaster always near. Romance. Quentin as Scot and wandering knight is ideal in the narrative as one who sees things with fresh perceptions.39 In genre terms. fool. following Mary Spongberg in her Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance. is choosing to follow a tradition in the ancient world.. actor. including the threats. Secretly. tramp. which endanger the growing affection between them and create suspense both for them and the reader. By contrast the character of the king is created in the novel as scheming and duplicitous. evident in The Iliad. to find protection in a distant castle of their kinsman the Bishop of Liege. crank. perils. astuteness.L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t .. . adventurer. while Quentin is to be killed: the king. Many and varied adventures then occur. Quentin joins the Scottish archers and impresses the king with his resourcefulness. prostitute. doctor. 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). we might say. parvenu. accompanied by her older cousin Lady Hameline. one to whom or in front of whom people will say revealing things.40 In these terms.. with whom he becomes entranced (he perceives her through a ‘light veil of sea-green silk’). only serious amusement.There is in adventure-time a rush of events. servant.. a relative (and longstanding enemy) of the king. in his essay. 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.The Countess. he hears a lute playing and a voice singing. has run away from the prospect of a forced marriage being arranged for her by the Duke of Burgundy. soon asserts itself in this new life-situation. trickster.. that of the young Countess Isabelle de Croye as it turns out. however.37 Louis sends Quentin along as an escort for the two ladies.. however.. who can move from low to high in social life. Quentin Durward has recognisable elements of the adventure-romance novel as evoked by Mikhail Bakhtin in The Dialogic Imagination. and obvious valour. detective. the king has arranged for the party to be attacked by a rogue nobleman. who are disguised as English pilgrims. who is not 63 . pimp.

He thinks they might be a party of Africans.They appear to Quentin when he first sees them as ‘oriental’. 64 . slash. scar). refuses to accept that anything in history is natural or fated. 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. pointing to Cologne as the wanderers near it and . finds himself addressing the Gypsy as ‘Dog’ on realising he is not a Christian. 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. Even Quentin. or Jews. or Saracens... the narrator commenting that ‘there was little toleration in the spirit of Catholicism in those days’. or Mahomedans at the best. on meeting a Bohemian while escorting the two ladies.. and Africans. and ‘profoundly ignorant. for example. Quentin’s uncle is irritated that he had tried to save the Gypsy being hanged.. the soldiers regard them as beasts to be bound or wolves to be speared.. Later we learn they are Bohemians. wearing ‘turbans and caps’. a supposed honourable knight. Monasteries were ‘very reluctant’ to offer hospitality and resting-place for them. and England. issues that preoccupy Ivanhoe in relation to Jews. greedy of booty. Quentin had observed in a field a strangely dressed man being hanged from a tree and tries to save him. 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’. bound to any household or the king or any faction or castle or town. On his way to the court of Louis XI. and neither worship our Lady nor the Saints …’ When the king’s soldiers attack them. possessing the character of an ‘ordinary mercenary soldier’. or Gypsies. Orientals.. Quentin’s uncle Ludovic. tribes of them appearing also in Germany... are explored in Quentin Durward in relation to Gypsies. without being wantonly cruel. Spain. in short. Indeed. unscrupulous how he acquired it’. Ludovic replies: ‘Evil? – why. He takes nothing for granted. They flee. is ‘indifferent to human life and human suffering’. known in France as Le Balafré (which translates as gash. Quentin is a kind of innocent outsider figure. issues of treatment by Europeans of those considered alien. When Quentin innocently enquires what evil they do. apparently newly arrived in the lands of the Europeans.Is history fiction? . terrified. A friar tells Quentin that it is not only heathen Gypsies who are so treated in Christian Europe. Chivalry is critically inspected in the novel. emerges as one who. boy. they are heathens.

both in general as well as in terms of particular features like chivalry. It fundamentally challenges Ranke’s optimism about European history.L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t . Further.41 It is accepted by all in Europe.. then. terms that directly recall Ranke’s contempt for outsiders to his chosen Christian Europeans in History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. saying that it ‘will not endure that a Jew or Infidel should even enter within the walls of their town’. In Quentin Durward we hear the Gypsy characters speaking in their own voices. 65 .43 War and violence in Quentin Durward are perceived as always involving cruel or brutal or sad death.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. where there are no definite values established by which to judge history with certainty. the novel is quite frequently sympathetic to the plight of the Gypsies in France and Europe generally.. whatever mishaps and disasters occur in the Latin-Germanic world.. written only a year later than Quentin Durward.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. they are not just written about. and no definite conclusions reached about the true course of humanity. the . society.. and destiny. Quentin Durward is a highly sceptical text. that the Gypsies and outsiders like them are to be despised in racial-religious terms. 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. recognising that when they are not being harassed or immediately killed. yet a satire in the Menippean sense evoked by Mikhail Bakhtin.. Ranke in his nineteen-page introduction to the History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations reminds us of Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide. and discarded when no long useful.. And war involves violence against women: Quentin saves some young women from being raped by French soldiers in the city of Liege. Or Optimism (1758): for Ranke. they are used by politicians on all sides for their own ends. It is a satire. it is still the best of all possible worlds...

history as the history of women as well as of men. Quentin Durward challenges Ranke’s focus in the History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations on the powerful and prominent in history. How did the kind of historical writing established by Herodotus. however. Africans. princely rulers.Is history fiction? .. Heathens. the narrator of Scott’s novel quite often makes ironic playful references to himself. by contrast. with its pluralising of many kinds of history. seems much more evanescent. 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. states. for them a rare act of kindness and support. tantalisingly. pointing out to the reader how little he knows. we can return to a question posed as a problem for our book as a whole. 66 . Orientals. survive? One short answer is that Herodotean historical writing resurged in Scott’s historical novels. and wrote a now vanished doctoral thesis on Thucydides.. there is an important difference in narrative tone between Quentin Durward and Ranke’s History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. history as social and cultural and religious and everyday as well as political and military.. is equally on the perspectives of the powerful and those who are the objects of attention of the powerful: those held to be low. essentialised and desired as Other. VII By way of conclusion.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. royal houses.. those to be disdained. including Quentin Durward: in this sense.. or how uncertain are his documentary sources in yield- . Mahomedans. Gypsies assist Quentin because he tried to save one of their own. military and diplomatic developments as history itself. Jews. In the spirit of Herodotus in antiquity.. great spirit before whom I knelt’. Infidels. popes. excluded. For example. saluting him as ‘a powerful. governments. destroyed. The focus of both Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward. Gypsies. Ranke at Leipzig when young studied classical literature as well as theology. persecuted. on kings.45 The continuing influence of Herodotus. we can say Ranke to Scott is as Thucydides to Herodotus.. slain..

and third-rate writers’ like Ann Radcliffe.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. as it were.47 In this influential view. ‘A Postscript.. or. masculinised and began quickly to move upwards in terms of aesthetic status and moral seriousness. ing sure knowledge of people and events in the compilation of what he selfparodically refers to as ‘this true history’. he also formally inaugurated the historical novel as such. 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 .. nearer to his own time. where the novel in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century had ranked low in the hierarchy of genres. editor Andrew Hook informed readers that not only did Waverley establish ‘a new literary genre’. but that Scott launched the novel form into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with ‘a new authority and prestige. which should have been a preface’. a new masculinity’: ‘After Scott the novel was no longer in danger of becoming the preserve of the woman writer and the woman reader. It used to be said. ‘second.. 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.... Instead it became the appropriate form for writers’ richest and deepest imaginative explorations of human experience. In his 1972 introduction to the Penguin edition of Waverley. Ferris adds. and even more important perhaps... were also welcomed for counteracting the ‘demonic masculinity of Byron’).46 The tone of the narrator of History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations is of one who possesses the truth. as by Lukács in The Historical Novel.L e o p o l d v o n R a n k e a n d S i r Wa l t e r S c o t t . 67 . it is a Thucydidean tone that would make it difficult to allow for acknowledgement of uncertainty and inconclusiveness. with the advent of Waverley the form was. that of ‘historical fiction’. that he wished in this his first novel to ‘emulate the admirable Irish portraits drawn by Miss Edgeworth’. that when Scott created Waverley in 1814 as the first of the Waverley novels.’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.

These include the politics of the personal.. And more: oral history. the antiquarian. memory as history. explicitly disagreeing with Lukács.. family history. the minute fact. 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.. appreciation of the relationship between Scott’s and the Anglo-Irish Maria Edgeworth’s novels. but it will keep resurfacing with renewed force.. myth. eye-witness history. the national tale. political. romance. the regional story. . 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. the capacious Herodotean stream might go underground for lengthy periods. private life and domestic space and intrigue behind the public stage. In historical writing. tales of village life. the historicity of place. his greatest innovation) is adapted from the novels of his contemporaries …’52 In this feminist critical literature. manners.. genealogy.Is history fiction? . Even Scott’s notion of historically representative character (for Lukács. allegory..53 Here is Herodotean history resurgent and creatively furthered. and military.51 Katie Trumpener in Bardic Nationalism argues. satire. rumour.. 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. Marilyn Butler in her literary biography of Maria Edgeworth drew attention to Scott’s debt to his Anglo-Irish friend. the tiny detail. 68 .. and an ethnographic focus on the culture of the everyday life of the common people. the anecdote and memoir.

(Pascal. wise. 69 . ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’.4 .. 1874)2 In and from its formative period in the 1820s. tolerant.. Such. evenhanded father. professional history began to reject firmly and crisply any association with literary fantasticality and sought a closer relationship to historical reality.3 In this usual story. Leopold von Ranke is held to be its progenitor: its mild.CHAPTER 4 History. Science and Art Cleopatra’s nose: had it been shorter. the whole face of the earth would have been altered. in any case.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. In this usual story. is the usual story of the development of modern professional history. to the manifest and actual. detached. 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)...

in England. the historian should not moralise at the past from contemporary political or personal standpoints. decisively shaped by prior women’s historical writing and historical fiction...6 How different.. historians should extinguish their own presence because it was not in the past. Ranke influenced the new profession in crucial aspects. 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. In many ways. He encouraged the critical inspection of original documents and the narratives of eyewitnesses.. this is from Scott novels like Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward. the United States and elsewhere in an increasingly history-hungry world. From the latter part of the nineteenth century Ranke became increasingly known in Britain and the United States as the founder of scientific history. to be colourless. mixed with portraits and assessments of the public character and capacities for leadership of the designated key protagonists in a series of events. Lord Acton.. while very influential. 70 . however. regius professor of modern history at Cambridge from 1895 until his death in 1902. can hope to win and secure . Other aspects of his historical thinking. close to state power. He taught it to be critical. In his 1854 lectures addressed to the Bavarian king Max Joseph. an adviser to governments – did indeed become exemplary of the new professional historian. and to be new. Ranke – renowned for research into the facts. We meet him at every step. no approach. with a reputation for scholarly impartiality and objectivity that transcends any particular political commitments... the origin of the modern way of training scholars in history. which are always relating the political to the personal. 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. we’ve seen. No project. At the University of Berlin he instituted the historical seminar.5 He also tried to establish – with what success we shall see – professional history as above all political. the steady focus on the actions and interactions of nation states. were not as universally successful. military and diplomatic history..Is history fiction? . no method. influentially pronounced in his inaugural lecture of 11 June 1895: Ranke is the representative of the age which instituted the modern study of history.

In Reflections on History. with its money-making and vulgar mass culture (in its newspapers and novels). I The new professional history... the pull of. the doubleness we saw in Herodotus and Thucydides. Given these contradictory 1820s writings. could be a science. worldview. including some from within the profession. for it was difficult to secure the proposition that history. For one thing. older attachments to history as story and imaginative insight did not disappear. For another. it is difficult to see how Ranke’s legacy and influence were not going to be problematic and controversial. often within the one author. 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. based on lectures given as history professor at the University of Basel in the period 1868–71... desires. rarely full acceptance.. the great Swiss art historian Jacob Burckhardt (1818–97). best known for his The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860). unquestioned power and sway in intellectual life.And so they have proved to be.The notion of history as art and the view of history as science have jostled against one another ever since the 1820s. even Lord Acton – especially Lord Acton – emerge as more ambivalent than at first sight they might appear to be.. as a precipitate decline from Europe’s heroic cultural values of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. or at least mixed response. In particular.. S c i e n c e a n d A r t .. Burckhardt pursued cultural history. values. Ranke’s own optimism about the new history met with scepticism in his former student. the concern for scrupulous rigorous research yet the investment in. attracted many critics. had also occurred – as we saw in chapter 3 – in Ranke’s own writings. Burckhardt suggested to his students that history revealed ground neither for optimism . he dyspeptically regarded the modern age of the nineteenth century. not political history. unresolved. allying itself in the nineteenth century with the prestige of the natural sciences. which presented itself in narrative form.H i s t o r y. 71 . There was continual dissent and unease concerning the new scientific ideal. from the late nineteenth century the English historians. literary influences. Ranke himself exhibited just such an intriguing double character.

perhaps in part because of their ‘motley immigration’ that has created a ‘neo-American physical type’ of ‘uncertain character and durability’. in this sense.. perhaps rather repulsively so.Is history fiction? . for instance.‘primitive peoples’ whose religions arise simply out of fear. we must rule out of interest even modern Americans. for ‘Americans renounce history’. He recognised. He accorded value to ‘sudden intuition’ in the contemplation of sources.We should also only focus on peoples with a developed historical consciousness.. and none is universally valid’. Burckhardt felt. States work by converting force into strength. is ‘actually the most unscientific of all the sciences’. History.‘half-civilized peoples’ do exhibit an instinct for drama. nor progress: ‘our assumption that we live in the age of moral progress is supremely ridiculous’. the importance of ‘unconscious elements’ in peoples and individuals that should always be taken into account in historical study. from ‘negroes and Red Indians’. and the uncivilised or uncivilisable. and by such power they have no regard for the rights of any state weaker than themselves. He considered that ‘every method is open to criticism. for we cannot ‘ever rid ourselves entirely of the views of our own time and personality’.True. says Burckhardt. In Reflections on History Burckhardt perceives the course of world history in terms of a hierarchy of the civilised. and even of the best of humanity in particular’. only on ‘the active races’ for our ‘pictures of civilization’... we should focus. and decay. which is power. Optimism in history must founder in the face of the ‘spiritual inadequacy of human nature in general. the semi-civilised. bloom. is ‘in itself evil’. inscrutable laws of life’. Power. Nothing can be learnt about political organisation or religion. observes Burckhardt.8 In terms of worldview.. He thought that historical knowledge can never be impersonal and objective. nothing from ‘lesser races’. 72 .. and that such processes follow ‘higher. Burckhardt offered his students caustic reflections on the actions of states in world history. A Rankean narrative of achievement for certain peoples as against other peoples on earth is all too evident. The European states in which Ranke saw working a spiritual principle inspired only cynicism in Burckhardt. Burckhardt nevertheless shared with his old teacher Ranke assumptions about the superiority of Latin-Teutonic Christian Europe as representing civilisation. He believed that cultures grow. In discussing world history. the ‘savages and semi-savages’.. but such is only a ‘grotesque imitation of reality by pantomime. especially in cultural history. We must certainly rule out ‘barbarians because they have no history’.. accompanied by howls .

H i s t o r y. acting counter to our time’. the monumental.. an excess that can be fatal to action of any kind whether in a ‘man or a people or a culture’. when a young professor at Basel a colleague of Burckhardt. coruscatingly rages against the spiritual ills of his age.We should not.9 II Another dissenter from the ambitions and ideals of the new history was the nineteenth-century philosopher. he feels. and in applying this criterion. which must then abandon its bloody. Nietzsche wittily.. he can think of no kind of history which is unambiguously valuable or that can be considered the only way history should be. and contortions’. for an opposition that may appear to many to be ‘altogether perverse. to ‘retire and die out (as in America)’.. His criterion of judgement will be the relation of historical writing to the deepest movements of ‘life’. 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.. then.. to sensibility and action and notions of truth and justice. S c i e n c e a n d A r t . Perhaps it might be best for barbarians. . moodily. unnatural.10 In his long 1874 essay ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900). we can be too ‘history-hungry’. He warns that there can be too much historical consciousness. So intense is Burckhardt’s contempt for those he considers barbarians that he can overcome his distaste for power and conquest. He mockingly apologises. He acknowledges that he writes from his profession as a classicist and so as an outsider to the present fevered ‘cultivation of history’. including the ‘mighty historical movement’ which has apparently been a triumph ‘among the Germans particularly for the past two generations’. as when medieval Christianity in its violence against heretics exterminated the Albigenses. Genocide is only to be regretted when the ‘more highly civilized peoples’ practise it against their own. 73 .11 Nietzsche distinguishes between three kinds of history.. detestable and wholly impermissible’. But he feels that being an outsider means he can produce perspectives that are ‘untimely – that is to say. internecine warfare and abhorrent customs and bow to the moral principles of the civilized State’.. forget the value of sometimes forgetting.. especially when they are of a ‘different race’.

. preserving for knowledge and dignity in history’s ‘palimpsest’ even the ‘trivial. he must from time to time employ the strength to ‘break up and dissolve a part of the past’. for ‘men and ages which serve life by judging and destroying a past are always dangerous and endangered men and ages’. Antiquarian history ‘mummifies’ life.. the antiquarian.Is history fiction? .13 Every man. What nations do not need is the nineteenth-century kind of . and every past is worthy to be condemned. which wishes to preserve and revere.. then one cruelly tramples over every kind of piety’. it cannot relate what it perceives to anything else.The antiquarian veneration of the past is a valuable corrective for any nation that is ‘given over to a restless. If ‘man’ is to live. has value for life in ‘tending with care that which has existed from old’. with consequent advantages and disadvantages.. which relates to a being that suffers and seeks deliverance. for that is the ‘nature of human things’. 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’.12 The monumental and the antiquarian. however. Nietzsche feels. it expresses and inspires for future generations the ‘idea of faith in humanity’. and the critical. and plays down the ‘dice-game of chance and the future’ which ensures the past can never be exactly reproduced in the present. always possesses an extremely restricted field of vision’. The disadvantage.. because it regards the new as insufficiently revering the past.. circumscribed.. Such a process. says Nietzsche. 74 . need a third historical vision that is provided by critical history. decaying and obsolete’. a community. a whole people. requires these three species of history. Most of what exists it does not see. and so lacks discrimination and sense of proportion. diminishes differences. is always ‘dangerous’. 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. Antiquarian history. however.. Nietzsche urges. It violently forces whatever is individual into a universal mould. is that the ‘antiquarian sense of a man. human violence and weakness have always been significant in history. makes what is dissimilar look similar. Each is related to life in its own way. Monumental history celebrates the ‘feeling that the life of man is a glorious thing’. cosmopolitan hunting after new and ever newer things’. and the little it does see it sees too close up. Antiquarian history will reject and persecute anything in history that is new and evolving. and every nation.Yet there are also clear limitations in the desire of monumental history to seek the exemplary in the past.

.. like that of a lonely arctic explorer…. the ‘completion of world-history’. He opposes the way the new scientific history is hostile to ‘the eternalizing powers of art and religion’... Germany will be the ultimate heir. dryness.. Nietzsche suggests that the ideal of objectivity. they reject teleology. Such leads to a shallowness of sensibility in the historian.14 In referring to the ‘suprahistorical’ perspective that relates history to the ‘eternalizing powers’ of religion. Nietzsche associates this exceedingly ‘dangerous’ view with the continuing influence of Hegel. describe … All this is very ascetic … The modern historian has a sad. they simply ascertain. a necessary perspective he calls the ‘suprahistorical’. as ‘pure thinkers who only look on life’. but determined stare. all life is hushed. as in a history that believes itself to be a ‘reproduction’ or ‘photograph’ of the ‘empirical nature of things’.H i s t o r y.15 In his late work Genealogy of Morals (1887). that history should be much wider than the political focus associated with Ranke’s stress on the state.16 Nietzsche’s dissident voice was for a long time known only to a few in history.. fragment XXVI. a stare that looks beyond. where historians regard themselves as ‘objective’. is a modern ‘superstition’. 75 . the historian who is ‘efficient. affectation of tranquillity. Nietzsche expresses alarm at what he sees as the gathering hubris of nineteenth-century German historical consciousness. this ‘latecomer to godhead’ is now the ‘true meaning and goal of all previous events’. favouring coldness. they no longer want to ‘prove’ anything. He strongly urges the historian to ‘interpret the past’ out of the ‘fullest exertion of the vigour of the present’. the belief that while Germany is a ‘latecomer of the ages’. history that claims to be ‘a science’. 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.. S c i e n c e a n d A r t . severe and honest of character but narrow of mind’. And in referring to ‘art’ here he was perhaps insisting. they disdain to act the part of judges (and in this they show a measure of good taste). Nietzsche was perhaps speaking to the mystical and Egyptological thread in Ranke’s 1820s reflections on historical writing. In ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’. There is nothing here but snow. with Burckhardt. hard.. Yet when Nietzsche insists that the historian should interpret the past . they neither affirm nor deny.

that he lacked ideas: ‘No man had so few as Ranke.. the art of selection and of proportion and perspective. Lord Acton was a prominent lifelong Catholic intellectual. he said of Ranke’s work: He is a great historical decorator. his admiration of Ranke came late. and avoids whatever is dull or unpleasant. III There were also leading English historians like Thomas Carlyle and Lord Macaulay who never accepted the notion of history as a science. critical or antiquarian or monumental). His step-father Earl Granville.’18 In his entertaining and sage Acton and History (1998). and yet the whole is untrue.G.17 As for Lord Acton. He is an epicure and likes only tit-bits … This is his great art.. John Acton was born in 1834. R.. but the three he applied for could not accept a student who broke college rules by not worshipping in the college chapel. in Benedetto Croce. out of the interests and desires of the present (for example. after rather acid initial misgivings. but the element of untruth is most difficult to detect. and adult life belonging as much to Europe in the nineteenth century. and onwards to Michel Foucault. Collingwood.. or cannot help to his end.Is history fiction? . Carl Becker. In an early comment. he is preparing the way for and anticipating a major strand of twentieth-century reflections on history. an Anglican. the scenes of his upbringing.. and here his art becomes artifice. Germany. urged an English education on the young John.. 76 . but both Oxford and Cambridge demanded fealty to the Church of England. Walter Benjamin.. if of a highly troubled kind. as to England. schooling. whatever cannot be told in a lively way. and Italy. To the end of his life Acton still felt that Ranke was no thinker. Acton hoped for some kind of exemption from a Cambridge college. especially France. his mother German and his English father dying when he was one year old. It was decided he should go to Munich University where nearby a German branch . or only a science.. Charles Beard. 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. and his ingenuity treachery … all that he says is often true. In this he is not guided by the importance of events.

He could now accept the ethical qualities of a person without religion. He was disturbed by the repressive censorship and secrecy practised by the Rome Congregation of the Index. defending the right to free research.. the censors of the Index refused to say. as in his admiration for George Eliot as a fellow solitary. He became a member of Parliament. the Rambler. For the rest of his life Acton insisted on the right of free research. Döllinger. Döllinger called a conference in 1863 to discuss the issue. Chadwick suggests that Acton moved increasingly towards thinking that positivism in historical enquiry. philosophically. Döllinger spoke. he accepted that parts of the New Testament might be legendary. when Frohschammer asked why.. and hoped by it to raise the intellectual standard of Catholics in England.20 Acton now began sorrowfully to register his intellectual isolation. and an opponent of nationalism. Acton became fascinated by history. a well-known liberal Catholic. and while still a teenager.. so often regarded by protestants as contemptible. still a Catholic yet an outsider to those of his own faith (he had been threatened with excommunication). In terms of theology. a priest who became for many decades Acton’s father-figure and mentor. where the historian’s mind was neutral amid strong beliefs and controversies.19 As a young man he became half-owner of a Catholic English periodical. 77 . Under the tutelage of Döllinger... was how history should be ..H i s t o r y. Eliot was also. attended. he shared this ideal with his older contemporary Newman and they would become friends. like the Socinians. not least into the follies and horrors committed by the church in former times. especially when this body ordered withdrawn a book on the theory of the soul by a young philosopher at Munich University. and here he was taught by the professor of church history. John Acton. S c i e n c e a n d A r t . the good atheist. and that miracles crumble away when subjected to historical enquiry.. all the better to identify what was good and valuable in the church at its best (as a force for toleration and freedom). of the family lived. 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. Frohschammer. and his student. He was increasingly suspected in Catholic circles of being rebellious towards papal authority. and expressing admiration for solitaries and rebels to orthodoxy in the past. a positivist. doubting any dogmatic proposition. He became a kind of intellectual agnostic..

but by the extent of important work well executed. and the most prompt and fortunate of European pathfinders’ in this ‘documentary age’ that is still just beginning.21 Acton. Such neutrality aided the achievement of objectivity.Is history fiction? . 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. to be colourless. staff.24 Yet it is worth quoting in full the passage where Acton. as was occurring with late nineteenth-century German historians. he became regius professor of history at Cambridge. politically and constitutionally. philosophic insight. says Chadwick. 78 . nor could English society be healthy.... Social health demanded history and recognition of the historian. Acton insisted that history should not be at the service of nationalism. religious. practised.23 Certainly Acton praises Ranke as a key figure in the study of modern history. appointed by the Liberal Party prime minister Lord Rosebery. and depth of thought. and the true creativity of the historian.. Acton tells the students. in originality. and to be new.. without historical consciousness... and he adds that it is to Ranke’s ‘accelerating influence mainly that our branch of study has become progressive’. He gained a wider platform for his ideas when. we can see that it is by no means a simple endorsement of Ranke or Ranke’s kind of history. At the same time. 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. He taught it to be critical. in vividness of the creative imagination. and visitors who had assembled for the occasion that Ranke is the ‘real originator of the heroic study of records. Acton increasingly drew closer to Ranke as his chief historical master. and some may have surpassed him in political. praises Ranke.22 IV Let’s look at Acton’s 1895 ‘Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History’. There are stronger books than any of his.. by his influence on able men. early in 1895. He salutes Ranke as his ‘own master’. and he has done more for us than any other man. and . for the terms of praise are curious indeed: Ranke is the representative of the age which instituted the modern study of history. seemingly positioning himself as son to father. elevation. We meet him at every step.When we examine it closely.

Girton and Newnham. ‘Acton’ as a theorist of history appears like a hall of mirrors. In the next sentence. The first women’s colleges at Cambridge. were established in the early 1870s. 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. which suggests that Ranke presented his findings in a scientific way. by the 1880s women were permitted to attend lectures if chaperoned and to sit for the same examinations as male undergraduates.. Acton refers to Ranke’s career ‘in literature’: doesn’t he mean ‘history’. and loved to evoke history as a drama. or ‘science’?! Interesting as this passage is. Chadwick points out that while Acton appears to offer ‘colourless’ as a term of approval. (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. ‘vividness of creative imagination’: yet surely ‘vividness’ and ‘creative imagination’ indicate literary and aesthetic criteria. higher education for women was slower to develop. [His] Universal History… composed after the age of eighty-three.)26 We fully sympathise with Miss Gladstone’s students: with the passage of time the inaugural lecture appears no clearer.25 Nothing in this passage suggests clear values and ideals.The lecture is not simply a listing of lessons learnt from master to pupil to be then transmitted unqualified to future generations of historians. and carried. when praising him at the end of the passage. S c i e n c e a n d A r t .H i s t o r y... In Acton and History. 79 . in Europe. with their older universities dominated by clerical traditions. far into the Middle Ages. Acton praises Ranke’s writings as ‘colourless’. he ‘did not practise what he preached’. by the amount of knowledge which mankind receives and employs with the stamp of his mind upon it. in seventeen volumes. but they were not recognised as members of the university nor could they take out degrees nor hold any university office.. however... . agreeing and disagreeing. brings to a close the most astonishing career in literature. 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. Further. He ‘loved colour’.. literary and non-literary criteria are mixed and mingled. Acton adjures that Ranke lacks. Acton is engaged in this passage and in the inaugural lecture as a whole in a conversation with Ranke.. he stands without a rival. compared to others.

Ranke had said that every period is immediate to itself. Colourless also seems to mean that the historian should always be impersonal. because there are ‘graver issues concerned’ than the often temporary and transient issues of politics.. that Acton was ‘the poet of history’.The historian should not be so detached that he refuses to judge.29 There are other differences from his supposed master..27 In the inaugural lecture Acton signals a number of crucial differences from Ranke. which really led to the ‘Rights of Man. Olympian. 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). Acton in the inaugural address was at times intensely personal. may escape punishment in their own times they will not escape the judgement of history. the exploiters and murderers. it is in the sphere of religion and theology that toleration was established..’ History is above all the study of the ‘movement of ideas’. that human society is in a state of progress. and in general enjoyed illustrating the past by personal reminiscence.. Chadwick points out. indeed is the ‘first of human concerns’. and indestructible soul of Revolution’.‘would be disputed even if applied to the present age.28 ‘That bold proposition’. History is a moral as well as an intellectual training. including the latter’s view that history should focus on the actions of states.Is history fiction? . present.’ Furthermore. It is this movement. However. Acton in the inaugural lecture advocates histories of temporal fluidity. detached. towards the ‘equal claim of every man to be unhindered by man in the fulfilment of duty to God’. The historian will always have an irrepressible moral sense. yet he also clearly worked with at least two overriding principles.The ideal of detachment is not absolute. for historians are the conscience of the human race about its past. tracking the past. 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. 80 . says Chadwick... Acton says that the historian should be impartial. and while the corrupt and the oppressors. Acton demurs: ‘Ours is a domain that reaches farther than affairs of state.We should give priority to ‘ecclesiastical history’ over civil history. has to be studied in its own enclosed terms.. as exciting narrative.. Acton here takes another swipe at ‘Ranke … my own master’. says Acton. should never appear in his own writing. and the historian is a kind of moral critic. and future of an idea:‘study problems in preference . for Ranke’s conservatism in believing that increase in freedom is neither progress nor gain. We can even recognise.

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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

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

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

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



He fearfully notes that ‘as the function of science is to explain phenomena. where he attempts to reconcile two different and. a series of lectures he gave at Harvard in 1908. such cannot be held to have more than a stylistic significance. In the midst of World War I.51 Bury sets out to show that the two views of history. What if Spinoza had never lived: how different would have been the influence of Descartes..50 There are those who view human movements and events as a logical development.. In 1909 appeared Bury’s The Ancient Greek Historians. What if Plato had died in infancy: how different would have been the influence of Socrates. as chance and accident and singularity. Bury offers more examples of such ‘historical contingency’. S c i e n c e a n d A r t . otherwise Anthony may not have fallen a ‘victim to her charms’.. ‘Cleopatra’s Nose’ (1916). Cornford completely reverses the judgements of Bury and Meiggs in their 1900 work. fortunately for science. He says that while there are in Thucydides’ History tragic phrases and reminiscences. or at least to try to satisfactorily resolve troubling questions.49 VIII Scientific history itself began to reveal doubts about its project..... it is clear that. it remains clear that ‘Thucydides did not intend to cast the war into the typical scheme of a tragic development’. Bury insists.48 In this comparison of Herodotus and Thucydides. competing notions of the ‘course of history’. Bury published a memorable essay. reconcilable. 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’. at first sight. and occasional use of tragic irony. The American War of Independence occurred because of the particular personality of George III. ‘in the famous dictum that the course of the world’s history depends on accidents like the shape of Cleopatra’s nose’. are. Here Bury directly addresses Cornford’s view of Thucydides. Napoleon was an exceptional military genius. history as logical development and history as contingency. he instances here believers in a theory of providence.H i s t o r y. 87 . and explanation means the assignment of causes. A second view emphasises chance. if a phenomenon containing lawless .. returns to mythical constructions which are ‘primitive’. for.

although the element of contingency is not eliminated.. 88 .53 Such imperturbability did not last. then. systematic.52 But bafflement – let alone hopelessness – is not the note Bury wishes to end ‘Cleopatra’s Nose’ on. of two or more independent sequences of events.. there are hereditary reasons why Cleopatra had the nose she had. 30 November 1926. His final paragraph resumes his ringing triumphalism about history marching arm in arm with the evolution and progress of the world.Is history fiction? . A year before he died. 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’. whether more or less serious than the pretty face of Anne Boleyn or the shape of Cleopatra’s nose. Certainly the ‘logical consequences may be facilitated or upset.. For example.. particularly as we know that ‘daily life. and explanations can be given for all the other singularities. It appears probable that as time advances the fates of nations will become more and more independent of accidents. is full of such chances’? But there is an explanation to hand.. 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. scientific research is hopeless’. but it is a process which makes ‘history so interesting and so baffling’. and imperturbable. How do we explain the presence of contingency. the consequences being that the destinies of societies are moulded less and less by single individuals.. no optimism about the course of history. 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. Such collisions. the march of science is continuous.What we see in history is the frequent coming together. and to their larger command over nature. the collision. Now there is no reference to history as science. but each sequence is in itself a series of causes-and-effects. but also in recent times to the growth of democratic societies. And the growth of knowledge itself is less casual and occasional. and therefore history. Bury sent from Rome ‘A Letter on the Writing of History’ to the Morning Post... Bury writes to the London newspaper that to discuss the question of history it would be necessary first to elucidate some fundamental . elements may occur. accelerated or retarded by contingencies’. One synthesis may perhaps be risked. which restores hope in the scientific project of explanation and ‘synthesis’. are not really a difficulty for scientific explanation.

and I do not think it is desirable... too late. Bury now declares:‘Here I totally disagree.‘writes completely free of bias will produce a colourless and dull work’. Bury was surely replying to the odd use of colourless as a term of praise for Ranke in Acton’s inaugural lecture. inhumanity. I do not think that freedom from bias is possible. like those of Tacitus.H i s t o r y.. What he will do is address another fundamental question... he continues. as death approaches. for instance. and Mommsen’.. that of ‘impartiality and freedom from bias’. . Macaulay. it will be dead and colourless and inhuman.’Whoever. is ‘history a sequence of contingencies’. Bury now affirms that it is a ‘fact that the most effective histories have usually been partial and biassed. and can our knowledge of events of the past ‘claim to be much more than a fable convenue’. however carefully the rules of historical method may be applied’. the recognition (anagnorisis). questions. No history can be ‘instructive if the personality of the writer is entirely suppressed.. of rebirth into other ways of historical thinking.. 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. dullness. Bury says there is not space in his letter to go into these problems. S c i e n c e a n d A r t . and surely offering a criticism of his own insistence for so many years on history as science. however faultless it may be in detail.54 Bury was now praising precisely those historians of old whom he would once have considered irresponsibly literary. In repeatedly associating ‘colourless’ here with deadness. the confrontation with doubt (peripeteia). 89 . Gibbon. the pathos of defeat of a passionate lifelong ideal.

historians from the 1920s to the 1940s frequently pondered the question. in preparations for the next war.B. in sanitation. and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned … (W. in commerce and industry. they asked. medicine.. 1939)1 Given the pressing context of the twentieth century continuously revealing itself to be one of the most terrible in human history.G.. ‘has history any meaning?’What if.Yeats. the centre cannot hold. 1921) The War [World War I] was an unprecedented triumph for natural science. the bedrock of modern professional historical . in surgery.. 90 . Collingwood. above all. and psychiatry. (R. ‘The Second Coming’.CHAPTER 5 Has History any Meaning? Things fall apart. An Autobiography. and power it was: power to destroy the bodies and souls of men more rapidly than had ever been done by human agency before. and. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.This triumph paved the way to other triumphs: improvements in transport. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed.. Bacon had promised that knowledge would be power.

91 . in the same year as Yeats’‘The Second Coming’.. England. He went to live with his uncle in Rome and studied law at the university. in literary modernism as in social and political theory..2 Some of the faith in Victorian and then Edwardian notions of social and technological progress sank with the Titanic in 1912. historian. On his retirement Croce established the Institute for . practice – the ideal of history as science and objectivity – were to splinter. the great Italian theorist of history and law and fellow Neapolitan.. Lord Acton’s suggestion to his contributors to a Cambridge Modern History series. that a universal history must strive for impersonality and impartiality. He never held a university position.. It was all too obvious that historians wrote within their own national frameworks of understanding. Much more faith vanished in the wake of the darkness.. In the 1930s Croce was notable for his anti-fascism. Germany. into a moderately wealthy landowning family. Croce (1866–1952). resigning from politics in 1947. He became interested in Hegel. from aesthetics to historiography. where he pursued the life of a gentleman scholar.. Croce left without taking a degree and returned to Naples. he himself was buried for several hours and was severely injured. In 1893. in Spain. In 1883 Croce lost his parents and his sisters in an earthquake on the island of Ischia. Croce was born in Pescasseroli. horror and slaughter of World War I. to adapt Yeats’ great poem of Western civilisation declining towards barbarism. under the influence of Giambattista Vico (1668–1744). and philosophy. Abruzzi. shatter? What if.. was a major figure of twentieth-century thought. the Italian theorist Benedetto Croce’s 1917 essay ‘History and Chronicle’ was published in English. psychoanalysis..3 In 1921. 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. After the war he was a minister without portfolio in the new democratic government. The story has been well and famously told in H. critic.Has History any Meaning? . looked increasingly poignantly impossible. France. he turned to philosophy. ‘The Second Coming’ (1921). He travelled widely. 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. philosopher. he also purchased the house in which Vico had lived. Stuart Hughes’ Consciousness and Society. disintegrate.

A past deed or event must vibrate in the ‘soul of the historian’. and when historians are no longer interested in particular past narratives and events. Such an exposition will engage the historian in all senses... as the development of life demands them. 92 . the historian is drawn to giving a ‘critical exposition’ of documents which help solve that problem. until awakened at the Renaissance by the new maturity of the European spirit. and past history becomes present. recognized them as . The primitive forms of civilization. until that new phase of the European spirit. or misunderstood. they subside again into chronicle.. Historical Studies in his Naples home.5 The historian only becomes interested in a particular problem. so gross and so barbaric. and self-consciousness. for ‘past fact’ comes alive when it is ‘unified with an interest in the present life’..6 To investigate a problem in this pressing personal way. 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.The Romans and the Greeks lay in their sepulchres.. or of a love affair in which I am indulging. such narratives and documents are mere chronicle. where he had a huge collection of books. in terms of intuition as well as reflection. or but little regarded. I examine it with the same anxiety and am troubled with the same sense of unhappiness until I have succeeded in solving it. consciousness. Only then does it become a ‘historical narrative’ and a search for ‘truth’. challenged Lord Acton’s ideal of an impartiality that somehow could transcend the contextual pressures of the historian’s own time. lay forgotten. of Greek civilisation or Platonic philosophy. or of a danger that threatens me. Until the historian is interested and begins enquiring. which was known as Romanticism or Restoration. let’s say..8 For dead history revives. In this entertaining essay..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’. not history as such. ‘sympathized’ with them – that is to say.Is history fiction? .. He died in Naples on 20 November 1952. 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. 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.

folk cultures interacting with higher learning...Thus great tracts of history which are now chronicle for us. before the ravages of industrialisation. the young literary and cultural theorist Walter Benjamin.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. the association of art with craft and work. D.. society was drifting towards the disaster of alienation and estrangement in industrial cities and repetitive modern urban existence. many documents now mute. whatever was finest in past ages.H. anomie. it was riven by the unconscious and the unknown within. mass urbanisation. Lawrence’s Women in Love (1920). was meditating on time in its most melancholy aspects. James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). But Croce’s dictum.Yeats’‘The Second Coming’ (1921). evoked and explored an apocalyptic view that in the twentieth century European civilisation was in decline: the self was no longer unified.10 that historical knowledge comes out of the interests of ‘present life’.12 On the continent. its own proper present interest.. written in 1924–25 and published in 1928.. 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. The Origin of German Tragic Drama.Has History any Meaning? . will in their turn be traversed with new flashes of life and will speak again. T.. Ezra Pound’s Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920). in his work of speculative philosophical history. emptiness. . a powerful movement in literary and cultural criticism and philosophical history as well as in literature. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922). the seventeenth-century German baroque mourning play and 93 . despair. that every true history is contemporary history. sensibility created in a fusing of thought and feeling – was being replaced by tawdriness. ennui.S. the division of labour – community. meaninglessness.. 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.13 The book is an exploration of Trauerspiel.11 I In the 1920s more generally..

. But he always leads his society towards disaster. of contemplation of history as rubble and ruin.. drawing on a Renaissance tradition of allegorical female figures. as in Cesare Ripa’s 1603 Iconologia.Is history fiction? . the baroque cult of the ruin in the iconography of allegorical emblem books... associated allegorical art and emblem books. which had long lost popularity.The main characters of the mourning play are allegorical figures like the monarch. is embedded within historical time. no vision of how the universe will end. dying. to the contrary. the first half of the book. and chaos of the Thirty Years War. no ideal telos. devastation.. rather. imminently flowing over the edge into catastrophic violence. but she too will be victim. and corpses. infidelity. History is like a cataract. history emerges as universal destruction. battering of children’s brains. whether tyrant or martyr. social. Mourning and lamentation are attended by a haunting question: can there be any messianic deliverance from such history?15 In ‘Trauerspiel and Tragedy’. a princess. wife-murder. holding the course of history in his hands like a sceptre... courtier.. A young chaste woman. and intriguer. Max Pensky explains that for Benjamin the Trauerspiel is to be sharply distinguished from classical tragedy.The monarch and his court become the keys to historical understanding.17 . and political violence. History is enacted as the hopelessness of the earthly condition without consolation or grace or salvation or redemption. As tyrant the figure of the monarch evokes sympathy and wonder at his dictatorial power. Benjamin defends the aesthetic value of the baroque mourning plays. the plays revel in scenes of anguish and carnage. In baroque drama there is no eschatology.14 In his Melancholy Dialectics:Walter Benjamin and the Play of Mourning (1993). leading to a proliferation on stage of torture. even as he is surrounded by fratricide. the experience of historical catastrophe is incorporated into the structure and content of the plays as pervasive mood of lamentation. which arises from myth and refers to a past age of heroes.The Trauerspiel. the plays being related to the physical. For Benjamin. might represent the hope of restoration of order in the state as well as in the monarch’s troubled soul and volcanic emotions. was a source for reflection on the meaning of history in the mourning plays.The Trauerspiel does not offer a manifest commentary on these historical events. The monarch is an incarnation of the history of his society.16 Whether entirely good or entirely bad. the monarch will be destroyed: in the baroque theatre of cruelty. 94 .

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

What this means is that the simple fact turns out not to be a simple fact. say. Becker suggests that even what appears to be the most simple of facts.. acts. a long series of events that involve the relation between Caesar and the millions of people of the Roman world. but a symbol which enables us to recreate it imaginatively’. they know that he crossed it with his army.. Caesar crossing the Rubicon in 49 BCE. that the crossing must ‘surely have been accompanied by many acts and many words and many thoughts of many men’. which affirms that the event occurred. Becker reflects that Caesar crossing the Rubicon means nothing (after all.. is that historians do not mean Caesar crossed the Rubicon alone. Becker says that it is the statement that is simple. a ‘symbol’ of something else. 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 points out.‘a simple generalization of a thousand and one facts’. in a book of ‘794 pages’. turns out to be far from simple. then they can only live on as reflections.Is history fiction? . which is to say. Becker read a paper to the American Historical Association. with all the great events that ensued... In the spirit of Croce. thoughts. images. indeed on inspection it rapidly loses clarity.. it follows. are the . emotions’ associated with. ‘What are Historical Facts?’22 With iconoclastic élan. and ideas which are contemplated in the mind of the historian. as that ‘In the year 49 BC Caesar crossed the Rubicon’. If that is so. and it would take a novelist such as James Joyce. Since what the historian is concerned with – ‘events. then the ‘historical fact is not the past event. the crossing of the Rubicon becomes ‘an historical fact’. These.23 Also in the spirit of Croce. All the historian can deal with is a statement about the event. it is made up of a thousand and one lesser facts.What is clear. Because of this ‘complex web of circumstances’ and associations. to know and relate all these facts in order to ‘present this one fact that Caesar crossed the Rubicon’. then. Becker goes on to suggest that the historian can never deal directly with a past event. or Abraham Lincoln being assassinated in Washington in 1865 – have forever vanished as actual occurrences. since the actual event has of course disappeared. 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... then. 96 . II In 1926 the renowned American historian Carl L.

. letters..Has History any Meaning? .. in the present. they are records which are ‘after all only paper. is the belief that the historian will present all the facts and let them speak for themselves. history speaks through the historian. Such an idea. has there been at the disposal of society so much reliable knowledge of human experience. the most futile exhibition of unreason. It is also preposterous because what is clear is that the historian has a ‘purpose’ in mind. surely. over the surface of which ink has been distributed in certain patterns’. 97 . never before. take it all in all. says Becker.24 A fond illusion of the nineteenth-century scientific historian. or to enable them to act with greater wisdom or in response to a more reasoned purpose? Very little. 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. historian’s ‘sources’. fears and aspirations. is preposterous: it is impossible to present all the facts. 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. emotions of all the persons who contributed’ to an event like the assassination of Lincoln in its entirety. if anything. in contemporary newspapers.. diaries.25 Becker ends his commentary with some pessimistic reflections on the ability of historical research to affect the course of events. ever made by civilized society. In this process. Governments and peoples rushed into this war with undiminished stupidity. Certainly a hundred years of expert historical research did nothing to prevent the World War. But in themselves such sources are not ‘facts’. and puts upon it a new construction’. and prejudices’. Historical interpretations therefore keep changing with the changing of needs and purposes. with .. thoughts.. who imposes a meaning. the present which itself keeps moving and altering: ‘it is well known that every generation writes the same history in a new way. If there were no one in the world who could work out what these marks are. Becker comments. that the ‘historian cannot eliminate the personal equation’. which will determine the precise meaning that he derives from the event: ‘It is the historian who speaks. desires. that it is not the historian who speaks. with unabated fanaticism.. he notes. he feels. prepossessions..’ It follows from this recognition of ‘our own present purposes. to describe ‘all of the acts. the ‘fact of Lincoln’s assassination would cease to be an historical fact’. the historian apparently contributes nothing himself.

Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge. I say that it made it the ghastly thing it was. involving imaginative sympathy to make the past . and doing much to prevent and cure disease and to alleviate pain and suffering.27 III For Herbert Butterfield. and author of The Whig Interpretation of History (1931).. Butterfield not only argued against triumphalist tendencies in historical writing. Becker ironically asks.... Perhaps in direct response to Bury’s 1903 call to see history in a ‘dry light’... for the ‘wonderful idea of Progress’ through research historical and scientific. determined its extent and character’. and its meaning cannot be conveyed in a species of geometry’. Butterfield at first sight appeared to believe that historians could indeed discover the facts of the past. I do not say that historical research is to blame for the World War. than any previous war’. unimpaired capacity for deceiving themselves and others. Butterfield wrote that history ‘is a story that cannot be told in dry lines. or supposed possible’:‘I do not say that scientific research is to blame for the war. 98 . ‘explains the French Revolution by discovering exactly what it was that occurred’. which historical research did nothing to prevent. But scientific research can be used equally for death as well as life. they were engaged in art as much as science. flourished in the nineteenth century? Becker observes that a hundred years of scientific research has certainly transformed the conditions of life. like historical research. But he was deeply conscious that when historians wrote about the past.26 In terms of influence on events what. Becker mordantly concludes. a world war’.Is history fiction? . making it more comfortable and convenient (‘at least for the well-to-do’). So much. about the ‘scientific research’ which. I say that it had little or no influence upon it. It was ‘scientific research that made the war of 1914. It was scientific research that enabled that war to be fought with ‘more cruelty and ruthlessness.. one way or another. history also should not be written as a story of progress. helped make it a ‘systematic massed butchery such as no one had dreamed of. and on a grander scale. he remarked in the spirit of Ranke.. he also raised doubts about the possibility of objective history itself. Butterfield is critical of historians who forget that historical writing is a creative act. The historian.

characterised ‘in the nineteenth-century vocabulary of fetishism. that by the end of The Whig Interpretation of History he has become quite gloomy about the prospects of ever properly understanding the past. The seminar was evoked in the language of masculine citizenship. In The Gender of History. 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’. He turns to metaphors to help his argument. the (male) historian is always haunted by the risk of failure in his attempts to understand. as princesses awaiting discovery and rescue. I long for the moment I have access to her … whether she is pretty or not’. and the relationship between the historian and the past verges on tragedy. forcing the perspectives of the present on the past... could refer to ‘documents sequestered in archives as “so many princesses.Has History any Meaning? . Butterfield wrote. intelligible to the present. and a kind of historical awareness or ‘historic sense’.31 One collection Ranke described as ‘absolutely a virgin. to capture her as she was. while the archives were invoked as a world of female documents awaiting discovery by the male researcher. for Butterfield in The Whig Interpretation of History it is the past itself which is embodied as female.. metaphors that turn out to be startlingly misogynist.32 Where Bonnie Smith’s nineteenth-century historians saw the documents as female.. of ever seeing it for what it was. chided at the beginning for a ‘whiggish’ overconfidence.. The greatest sin in historical composition is to ‘abstract events from their context and set them up in implied comparison with the present day. She details how much their metaphors were frequently highly gendered and sexualised. she says.. and then to pretend that by this “the facts” are being allowed to “speak for themselves”’. has become the anxious victim of his subject: . 99 . and shape the (female) past.28 The historian. all under a curse and needing to be saved”’. Bonnie Smith traces the uses of metaphor by nineteenth-century male historians when describing their own historical practices.. and heterosexual desire’. and of the interventionist role of the historian. which they hoped would be scientific and objective. reveal. Research into primary sources was often. possibly beautiful..30 Ranke. to secure a relationship between present and past. By book’s end the historian. she points out. love.29 So aware is Butterfield that the past cannot speak for itself.

34 A harlot. cleverness. with her seductions. an old reprobate (perhaps with a shading here of gypsy. a carnival trickster. and dissident figure in American debates on the nature of history. an illusionist and clown. questioning. Clio is she whom the almost helpless male historian can despairingly insult but never fully master. Through this remarkable flurry of metaphors. as nomad). a college for working-class students. a hireling (with suggestions of spy).. IV In That Noble Dream Peter Novick repeatedly draws attention to Charles A. She is at the service of good causes and bad. Butterfield’s text reveals a curious hatred of the past.Is history fiction? . History is all things to all men.36 Charles and Mary were inspired by the ideals they encountered there of working-class education and links between scholarship and activism. and was in 1899 deeply involved in the establishment of Ruskin Hall. she is a harlot and a hireling. she has become more like Medusa. He studied at Oxford. Clio. sleight-of-hand. Beard. whose tricks and juggleries are things to be guarded against.35 Charles Beard and his wife Mary Ritter Beard are also important to our story. as unEnglish. Both were social reforming activists.After their return to the United States. a friend of Carl Becker’s. equivocal phraseology. there is frustration and despair that the historian may ever know the truth about it.33 He continues unhappily on: She cheats us with optical illusions.. 100 . dreaded pitiless gorgon. a criminal (insolently resisting ‘cross-examination’)... After completing his first degree and before starting his graduate studies at Columbia University. links they maintained for the rest of their lives. as an important. If we must confuse counsel by personifying history at all. Charles Beard spent four years in England. In other words.. is no longer ever-helpful muse. a sideshow magician.. from 1898 to 1902. it is best to treat her as an old reprobate. pacifists.. and for this reason she best serves those who suspect her most … We must beware of intoning ‘History proves’. Beard spent fifteen years teaching history and . and rather say to ourselves:‘She will lie to us till the very end of the last cross-examination’.. and masking. and historians.

and contingencies’.37 Still committed to the alternative vision of education that had inspired him at Ruskin Hall. what is its future. ‘that it is possible to describe the past as it actually was’.. published the following year as ‘Written History as an Act of Faith’. by Croce).39 To discard Ranke.. Throughout Croce is a guiding figure. is at the same time to question severely the ideal of ‘scientific history’ when it proclaims itself as an unchallengeable historical method. 101 . if previous historiographical certainties. judging him by the standards of what he refers to as contemporary thought about history (that is. 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. especially for his An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913). including that history can make calculable predictions of the future. Scientific history so conceived can never work. when it borrows deterministic formulas from natural science. but continued to write histories. Nor. immeasurables.. because it cannot account for actual history’s ‘imponderables. some of them collaboratively with Mary Beard.. and having some independent investment income. a ‘formula’ he ‘repudiates’. history is ‘contemporary thought about the past’.. Beard continues. doubtful of the ability of universities to remain committed to democracy and social progress. Beard affirms. formulas that suggest that the same kinds of ‘causation’ and ‘laws’ such as those of hydraulics can operate in history.. are now gone? Beard deals quite harshly with Ranke. ‘has been discarded and laid away in the museum of antiquities’. Beard reminding his listeners/readers that. political science at Columbia University. is accordingly dismissed by Beard as a ‘passing phase of thought about the past’. particularly those inspired by Ranke. and ‘history as knowledge and thought’. The Rankean conception of history. surprisingly – given Beard’s subsequent reputation as its apostle – does ‘the formula of historical relativism’ work. he asks. for if ‘all historical conceptions are merely relative . the conception ‘dominant among the schoolmen during the latter part of the nineteenth century and the opening years of the twentieth century’..38 What is the status of history as knowledge. from physics or biology..Has History any Meaning? .‘as Croce says’. The ‘Ranke formula of history’. Beard resigned from the faculty of Columbia in 1917. becoming increasingly well known. Beard addresses the distinction and relationship that so troubled Butterfield:‘history as past actuality’.

apply such a standard to his own work. of ‘subjective’ decision. In addition. Beard decides. with which he was affiliated. to transitory phases of ideas and interests. historians can still recognise as an obvious truth that ‘each historian who writes history is a product of his age’. he should recognise that amid ‘dust and storm’ taking thought is a matter of ‘hazards’. and experience. should change their self-image.. Beard’s sense of how historians relate to or are shaped by the times they live in is somewhat deterministic. affections. the modern historian will. Beard’s historical analysis of Ranke’s phrase. They should not abandon the ‘empirical or scientific method’ when it takes the form of a kind of soft science. authentication.. however. having . general upbringing. it cannot be a ‘purely objective discovery’. is also reductive: Its author. that ‘something true’ can be known about history. group. deprives a thinker of choice and agency. and movements’. writing after the storm and stress of the French Revolution.. situations. In this spirit of history as act of faith. Such is the ‘only method that can be employed in obtaining accurate knowledge of historical facts. set more modest aims and conceptions for their project.Is history fiction? . class. Perhaps. then. of a nation. to passing events. or permeated by.. illuminating phases of history by ‘research. Beard suggests to his colleagues that they should become more self-aware. in the spirit of self-awareness and humour. he should register that ‘one is more or less a guesser in this vale of tears’. that the ‘absolutism of relativity is also to be rejected’. Ranke. scrutiny.The ruling classes in Germany. His use of that term ‘reflects’ in the phrase ‘reflects the spirit of the times’.. particularly social and economic’. a German conservative. beliefs. was weary of history written for. 102 . and the ordering of immediate relevancies’. that his work ‘reflects the spirit of the times’. race. personalities.. historians should from now on. section. He wanted peace.40 For alternatives. Beard urges.. prejudices.42 for example..41 Beard also feels that while the ‘formula of historical relativity’ is to be rejected when it presents itself as an absolute. then the conception of relativity itself is relative’.The historian – ‘he’ – should ‘admit’ that he is not ‘a man of science’. Every historian knows that his colleagues have been ‘influenced in their selection and ordering of materials by their biases. 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’. the purposes of revolutionary propaganda. describing the past as it actually was.

it has strong similarities with the reflections on history of the important English philosopher and archaeological historian R. and who himself said that he was responding. in which. that it is written out of the concerns.45 There was only one way... but it also proved a disaster in enabling the destructiveness of the war.43 This analysis strikes us as a very crude explanation of Ranke whose thinking. to avert such a ‘calamity’ for civilisation. a ‘war of unprecedented ferocity closed in a peace-settlement of unprecedented folly. factual. dominated by natural science. published in 1939. 103 . Collingwood believed. Beard here is in effect collapsing Ranke’s wayward thoughts on historical writing into a reflection of a particular historical situation. He also thought the war was ‘an unprecedented disgrace to the human intellect’. he felt. V Croce’s view of history. Future prospects were ominous.Has History any Meaning? . was influential not only on Becker and Beard. In chapter IX. In his autobiography. and that was to cultivate the kind of ‘insight’ that could only . problems. Written history that was cold. inconsistent. to Walter Scott’s just published historical novel Quentin Durward. secured a breathing spell in the settlement of 1815.. during its latter part. even purely selfish statesmanship. indeed. he was employed in preparations for the peace conference.. what the war revealed was the ‘bankruptcy’ of the ‘civilization of 1600–1900’.. Collingwood. It showed that natural science had certainly improved the quality of life of people. and idiosyncratic.. as we noticed in earlier chapters.. Collingwood foresaw the ‘reign of natural science’ converting Europe into a ‘wilderness of Yahoos’. in his use of the phrase writing history as it actually was. wanted peace to consolidate their position.. was variegated.44 Yet there are also puzzling differences. and apparently undisturbed by the passions of the time served best the cause of those who did not want to be disturbed. and desires of the present. Collingwood records his disgust with World War I. Collingwood recalls some of the contexts that helped shape his thinking about history. In a Swiftian vision of dystopia.G. ideology. was overwhelmed by the meanest and most idiotic of passions’. dangers. in which statesmanship. contradictory. It was. and class affiliation.

incomprehensibility. however. . say...47 We find these formulations. Collingwood reveals further principles of the philosophy of history he worked out in subsequent years.48 In their several ways Croce. ‘History as the Self-Knowledge of Mind’. while close to Croce’s thinking in certain respects (and to that of Becker and Beard). that has found expression in some material or expressive way.. Collingwood suggests his idea of what historical research should be like.Is history fiction? . its privilege of being different. that is. 104 . but a past which in some sense is still living in the present’. revealing a certain kind of rationalist megalomania. we can understand a document of. weirdness. for example. More: historical knowledge is the ‘re-enactment in the historian’s mind of the thought whose history he is studying’. by re-thinking. what Nelson thought on the deck of the Victory. of thought.. for example. come about through historical knowledge. for example. a medieval parchment would only be ‘certain black marks’. and such can also be said of ancient languages like those of Mesopotamia and Egypt. though with the qualification that the historian knows that the past thought he is thinking again and re-enacting. Latin had survived into the modern world. which had died and been raised from the dead. occurred in circumstances and contexts different from his present own. the Middle Ages because ‘their ways of thinking are still in existence as ways in which people still think’. the historian of a ‘certain thought must think for himself that very same thought. its wonderful frequent strangeness.. to be extreme: to be utopian. 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.. The historian must be able to ‘think over again for himself the thought whose expression he is trying to interpret’. that in knowing. go much further: they seem to deny the alterity of the past. Indeed. He decides that ‘all history is the history of thought’. otherness. Collingwood asserts.There is nothing else except ‘thought that can be the object of historical knowledge’.. not another like it’. Even more importantly.. Collingwood’s formulations. from 1928 onwards. 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. it would follow that the historian must be a ‘microcosm of all the history he can know’.46 In chapter X. the ‘thoughts of a great many kinds of man’.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.

Has History any Meaning? . the historian’s picture. emerges from the . His major work The Idea of History was published in 1946 (he died in 1943). constructing. Where they do differ is that the historian’s picture is meant to be true. we are told by our sources that one day Caesar was in Rome and on a later day in Gaul...To find the truth of the past. 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’. providing ‘continuity’ where there is none in the sources. unlike that of the novelist. as we question and rewrite what previous generations of historians have done and revise the questions they asked. Collingwood focusses on how active the historian is. because of the present. from the present. Collingwood concludes. analysis of characters’.The novelist and historian each construct a ‘picture which is partly a narrative of events. When. 105 . says Collingwood.. Imagination is hence a ‘structural’ part of ‘constructive history’. Beard.. as in the section ‘The Historical Imagination’. Collingwood nonetheless is thankfully not always so rationalistic and utopian. It therefore follows that as ‘works of imagination. though some of its writing occurred much earlier. and criticizing’. Nevertheless. is so constant. Such imagining. in the middle 1930s. says Collingwood... Otherwise it is merely perceived fact. we ‘find ourselves obliged to imagine Caesar as having travelled from Rome to Gaul’. written in 1935.’ And contemplating the past historically means recognising that we always imagine the past in the present. that we should refer to it as the use of an ‘a priori imagination’. the historian recognises there is only one historical world. partly a description of situations. the historian’s work and the novelist’s do not differ’. according to ‘his criterion of historical truth’. and so commonplace. must be localised in time and space. especially how ‘he’ is always ‘selecting. Imagination is essential to the way the historian constructs his narrative. Collingwood speaks like Croce. exhibition of motives. the use of imagination is so important to historical writing that the historian resembles the novelist.50 Such imagining of the past is always associated with ‘critical thinking’.. and Becker before him when he writes: ‘Evidence is evidence only when some one contemplates it historically. whereas the novelist can conceive of purely imaginary worlds. In relation to this last demand. historically dumb. and he knows that his picture stands in a ‘peculiar relation to something called evidence’.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. The ‘criterion of historical truth’..

ten thousand women with no French citizenship status were assembled in Gurs internment camp at the foot of the Pyrenees.. Charles Beard had offered some hope in history. life for Jews in Germany became increasingly desperate.... necessitating further flight. 106 . had obtained for him. selecting. imagining – ‘That criterion is the idea of history itself: the idea of an imaginary picture of the past. crossexamining.. the world would considerably darken as it moved towards catastrophe. confiding that his own ‘guess’.’51 VI Near the end of ‘Written History as an Act of Faith’. Gerda Lerner relates in her autobiography of those years how while she had managed to escape Vienna to travel to the United States. thinking about his own interpretations as part of the history of historical writing. even for an academic like Victor Klemperer who. but to a ‘collectivist democracy’.54 In the spring of 1940 Benjamin wrote a series of fragments. At Gurs. he collected an emergency visa from the US consulate there that Max Horkheimer. but he did not gather all the . already in the United States at the Institute for Social Research in New York. totality of everything the historian does in constructing. and.. along with Gerda Lerner’s mother. not least.53 For Jewish intellectuals who from the early 1930s had gone into exile elsewhere in Europe. her mother was trapped in a France being engulfed by capitulation to Nazi Germany. although he was removed from his post as Professor of French at Dresden University. In May 1940. married to an ‘Aryan’ his wife Eva. Nazism would threateningly follow. Later in 1940 Benjamin became part of a never-ending caravan of refugees heading for the south of France. ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’. He joined up with his sister Dora. who had been released from Gurs (as had Arendt). is that the world will ‘move forward’ not to a ‘capitalist dictatorship’ or a ‘proletarian dictatorship’. as Hannah Arendt and her friend Walter Benjamin had in Paris. In Marseilles. From 1934 onwards.Is history fiction? . managed to survive.52 With the election of Hitler in 1933 and the dominance of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy. founded on a study of long trends and a ‘faith in the indomitable spirit of mankind’. thinking about other generations’ interpretations... were Hannah Arendt and Dora Benjamin (Walter’s sister).

in his essay ‘Hind Swaraj. at 10 pm. cunning.55 After World War II the fragments that compose ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ would become much cherished in cultural theory. and fortitude’.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. seeking an all-consuming ‘universal history’..58 Those who oppose the victors and rulers in history can achieve and maintain ‘courage. amidst fear and danger. particularly after their appearance in a selection of his essays that Hannah Arendt published as Illuminations in English in 1969. conceptions that might offer hope or at least alternative notions of time. and in the small coastal town of Portbou. qualities which have ‘retroactive force and will constantly call in question every victory. humor. italics by Benjamin).. 107 . as wishing to give comfort to the rulers and ‘victors’ in history.. of the rulers’.57 Rankean historical writing. aphorisms.. he died. For Benjamin. as he mystically puts it: ‘Our coming was expected on earth. on the Spanish side of the border. for. always conceives of history as a ‘continuum’. In 1909. we have been endowed with a weak Messianic power. cast history in a way the victors approve: ‘even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins’ (VI. Like every generation that preceded us. seeking to know ‘the way it really was’. Rankean universal history has to be opposed by other conceptions of history.. documents he needed. and parables being repeatedly quoted. or Indian Home Rule’. reminds us of Gandhi’s mystical theology of the quiet but persistent workings in history of ‘soul-force’. 26 September 1940. there is hope for change.. do their intellectual work for them. He decided to slip over the Spanish border illegally. some of their haunting images.. Benjamin suggests that even now.. mindful of the struggle against Fascism (VIII).56 In ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ he singles out Ranke’s kind of historical writing. was detained.59 Here Benjamin.Has History any Meaning? . 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: . suggesting that history registers changes which are ‘inconspicuous’. and constructs time as ‘homogeneous’ and ‘empty’ (XVI and XVII). past and present. a power to which the past has a claim’ (II). by dint of a secret heliotropism the past strives to turn toward that sun which is rising in the sky of history’ (IV).

63 In the monad a phenomenon or idea is discussed in terms of every manifestation or aspect of that phenomenon or idea. will in their turn be traversed with new flashes of life and will speak again’.Is history fiction? . eccentric. put differently. a revolutionary chance in the fight for the oppressed past. Gandhi reminds the Western world. Leibniz’s notion of the ‘monad’. even the most extreme. Where thinking suddenly stops in a configuration pregnant with tensions.. . 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. in spite of the wars of the world. but their arrest as well. (V) Such images. it gives that configuration a shock..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). 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.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.. Hundreds of nations. In this structure he recognizes the sign of a Messianic cessation of happening.61 Benjamin. with a conception arising in the Enlightenment. flaring in the ‘presence of the now [Jetztzeit]’. the greatest and most unimpeachable evidence of the success of this force is to be found in the fact that. 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…. tiny. by which it crystallizes into a monad. or.. Benjamin says in XIV. (XVII) Benjamin here is entwining a theological hope. Benjamin suggests that historical thinking of the non-Rankean kind involves not only the flow of thoughts. ‘live in peace’. it still lives on. writing in early 1940 in the shadow of catastrophe. A historical materialist approaches a historical subject only where he encounters it as a monad... where there is a Messianic pause in history (a ‘cessation of happening’).. or detailed – a conception that returns Benjamin to his formulations on history and method in his 1928 book The Origin of German Tragic Drama. many documents now mute.. 108 .

a complete description of such individual events can never be accomplished.. Hempel. Hempel now offers an illustration of such an event to be explained. where he taught in various universities and published on topics in deductive and inductive logic. But this kind of incompletion is . in Marseilles. of explanation and prediction. and the methodology and philosophy of mathematics and of empirical science. ‘Let the event to be explained consist in the cracking of an automobile radiator during a cold night’. Arendt and her husband Heinrich Blücher read Benjamin’s ‘Theses’ aloud to each other and to the refugees who gathered around them. such as the assassination of Julius Caesar or the earthquake of San Francisco in 1906.. drawn not as we might expect. followed by a drop in temperature below freezing. the analytic philosopher of science Carl G.. the lid is screwed on too tightly).Has History any Meaning? . left Germany in 1934 and came to the United States. epistemology. Nevertheless.. Hempel writes. which is capable of being confirmed or disconfirmed by suitable empirical findings. By ‘general law’. The last time Benjamin saw Hannah Arendt.. from history....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. is meant a hypothesis of universal form. in both history and the natural sciences.66 He argues that ‘general laws’ have quite analogous functions. for it is impossible to explain an individual event in the sense of accounting for all its characteristics. but elsewhere. 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. born in 1905. Hempel published an essay.A certain set of events is regularly accompanied by certain effects.While they waited for their ship for Lisbon (and then haven in the United States).64 VII In 1942. ‘The Function of General Laws in History’. he entrusted to her care the ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ as part of a collection of his manuscripts. Hempel cautions. 109 . its iron radiator is completely filled with water.65 His essay on history appeared as analytical philosophy was becoming an established part of academic philosophy.

its practitioners worked and worried at the problems of historical laws that Hempel’s striking essay . accordingly.68 Because of such necessary approximation or incompleteness.. which rely on empirically meaningless terms like the historical destination of a certain race or a principle of historical justice. though each quite properly strives to make its explanations of what happened at certain times and places gradually more specific and comprehensive. they convey ‘pictorial and emotional appeals instead of insight into factual connections’. 110 . which suggests the prediction that populations will tend to migrate to regions which offer better living conditions. and the like.. in both history and the natural sciences prediction observes the same logical structure. The scientific historian will also have to be wary of certain ‘gravestones’ in the dubious use of terms like hence.. or ‘incomplete’. often reveal that the explanation being offered is unacceptable or poorly founded. not on whether ‘it appeals to our imagination’ or is presented in ‘suggestive analogies’.Is history fiction? . 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. 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. therefore. Hempel suggests. is not methodologically autonomous and independent of other branches of scientific research. All such accounts are based ‘on metaphors rather than laws’. History. along with the same qualification: equally in both prediction is often only approximate. not disabling in the search for general laws of explanation.An explanation sketch nevertheless can be filled out with ever greater precision in terms of its formulations and concrete empirical research.The criterion of the soundness of an explanation rests on ‘empirically well confirmed assumptions concerning initial conditions and general laws’. An explanation sketch is to be clearly distinguished from a ‘pseudo-explanation’ or a ‘pseudo-explanation sketch’. Furthermore. when looked at closely. that what the ‘explanatory analyses of historical events’ provide is in most cases not so much a fully developed explanation as an ‘explanation sketch’. because. or similar notions. as analytical philosophy became influential and powerful in Anglo-American philosophy.69 For the next quarter of a century. 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. terms which. then.. they are not testable statements. Hempel concludes.

indistinct. and the destruction of personal security..71 The term govern has metaphoric roots in Greek and Latin of steering.Has History any Meaning? . and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. genocidal destruction of a group can but does not necessarily involve mass killing.73 In 1944 Lemkin published his ground-breaking Axis Power in Occupied Europe. Especially in reflecting on Nazi colonising practices in western Poland. The inventor of the term genocide had fled his native Poland in 1939 and made his way to refuge in Sweden. such destruction can occur in ways that are political. national feelings. had raised. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions. Hempel’s own terminology of explanatory laws deploys metaphors. liberty. of culture. health. 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. dignity. and the economic existence of national groups. based on his minute observations of Nazi occupation regulations throughout the Europe it dominated. Hempel himself says that ‘a sketch consists of a more or less vague indication of the laws and initial conditions considered as relevant’. suggests along with vagueness what might be shadowy. staying there till 1941. a month after Raphaël Lemkin. language. or concept-metaphors. blurry. or sketch.74 For Lemkin. hazy. .. explanation. As for the term sketch.. and prediction. tentative. The term boundary could be ambiguous.. it can imply that something can be steered too tightly. of causality. or boundary. perhaps violently. VIII Hannah Arendt arrived in the United States in May 1941. 111 .. indicating not a clear demarcation but that which can shift. He then travelled across to Japan and thence to the United States.. as in govern (‘the search for general laws which might govern’ particular events). the Nazi desire for Lebensraum.70 We will content ourselves with an observation about Hempel’s dismissal of metaphor as irrelevant to true explanation. arriving there on 18 April 1941. religion.72 Sketch... or be always disputed. disturbingly for a theory that desires general laws of explanation.

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. Freud in London (where Moses and Monotheism was published in 1939)... both in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe and in his unpublished writings of the latter 1940s and 1950s. Let’s focus on the differing treatment of Charlemagne. physiological. for the book that he was preparing on the history of genocide. defining genocide as proceeding by two phases: one.‘This imposition’.... we can say of such an enormously significant figure that Lemkin.’77 In terms of historical writing. Lemkin argued. spiritual. 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. for Ranke a heroic figure. biological. in a box of manuscripts headed ‘History of Genocide’. still pagan. the other. In his writings Lemkin sought to keep alive a Herodotean notion of world history. some in essay form. for humanity’s whole cultural heritage is a product of the contributions of all peoples. legal. Lemkin directly associated genocide with the logic of colonisation. ‘may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain. the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. He believed that the loss of the culture of any disintegrated or crippled group is a loss to world culture. to the human cosmos. intellectual. 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. They were a numerous people.Is history fiction? . social. some written by research assistants. does not posit a comforting or delusive narrative of progress for the Christian West.76 As we saw in chapter 3.. In the extensive material held in the Lemkin archives in the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City. after removal of the population and the colonization of the area by the oppressor’s own nationals. discussing Ranke. destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group. 112 . and moral.. still maintaining . some in notes and on cards. interested in and valuing all the cultures of the world. religious. which itself was the culmination of nineteenth-century nationalism and colonialism. left unfinished at the time of his death in 1959. or upon the territory alone.. economic.75 Displaced émigré intellectuals of the 1930s and 1940s like Lemkin and Hannah Arendt – or like Walter Benjamin in Paris.

in the late 1990s and into the new century. At his funeral seven people attended. ferocity. Saxon inhabitants of whole districts were removed and other peoples installed in their lands. The first campaign was undertaken in 772. Frank troops traversed the Saxon territory and led away men. were their watchword and policy’.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’.The Christian conqueror Charlemagne... Lemkin observes that he wishes also to highlight the strange history of Christianity as a religion of love being spread by sword and fire. and massacre’. Lemkin refers to Charlemagne’s determination in 774 either to compel the Saxons to embrace the Christian religion or to exterminate them. and ‘the priests in his train’. Christian civilization was carried into the heart of Eastern Europe as far as the Elbe. women and children. Charles wished to undertake a war of conquest in order to put an end to the ceaseless hostilities. were ‘zealous and inflexible in their purpose... It turned out to be the longest. his manuscript book on the history of genocide remained unpublished.. Most of Lemkin’s European family had perished in the Holocaust. baptism. Increasingly. was influential in the shaping of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. untouched by Roman civilization and with a tradition of continual warfare with their Frank neighbours. provides a supreme example of Croce’s conception that history is written out of the urgent concerns and dangers of the present. or death even unto extermination..78 As is well known. Lemkin’s . which he did with ‘extraordinary cruelty. extending over thirty three years with equal loss on both sides. their freedom. as a history of genocide. Lemkin’s reconceptualisation of the past. along with his ceaseless and tireless personal advocacy.80 Lemkin. Lemkin writes. As a result. 113 ..79 When he died on 28 August 1959 in New York. Charlemagne intended to destroy the Saxons as a nation. It was carried on in seventeen campaigns. of the whole of human history. By order of Charlemagne. then.Has History any Meaning? . 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.. Lemkin’s expansive definition of genocide in chapter 9 of Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. In telling this story. the bloodiest and the most difficult of all his wars.

including those of Germany in south-west Africa early in the twentieth century. formulations inspired the expansion of genocide studies into wide-ranging enquiries concerning the historical imbrications of European empires..... 114 . along with arguments that prior European colonisings.. and genocide. and practices in World War II.. settlercolonies. projects...81 . inspired Nazi colonising plans.Is history fiction? .

and Osgood. right into the metaphor-flurry. (Peter Novick. including his portrait. study table. at least. Iggers. (Georg G. That Noble Dream)3 .. After his death in 1886 one of his former students arranged for the purchase of Ranke’s library. Breathturn. 115 .. ‘The Image of Ranke …’)2 Ranke was the first honorary member of the American Historical Association. and pens.. [1967]1995)1 Several of these American historians [of the late nineteenth century] had studied in Germany under students of Ranke. A Roar: it is truth itself stepped among mankind.CHAPTER 6 History in the Light of Catastrophe Ein Drohnen: es ist die Wahrheit selbst unter die Menschen getreten. had sat under Ranke. (Celan. chairs.. which were set up as a shrine at Syracuse University. mitten ins Metapherngestober.

it exists in a strange. 116 . historians also frequently aligned themselves with the power of the state. In our introduction we pointed out that Western historical writing possesses a doubleness that means it is always as it were off-balance. What happened to his reputation after World War II.. in the ideological divides that shook it. Discussions of the nature of historical writing often became a clash of attempted extremes. often contradictory and confused. Frequently in the twentieth century one side or the other of this double character would be emphasised.. Mussolini’s Fascism. Hitler’s Nazism. the cold war. in an important essay ‘Ranke in the Light of the Catastrophe’ (first published in 1952 in the United States). Stalin’s Communism. American ascendancy as world power. the Holocaust. space between history as rigorous scrutiny of sources and history as part of the world of literary forms... wayward voices. felt that the war would make historians rethink key aspects of Ranke’s legacy. of claimed absolutes. a war whose genocidal horror had shaken the very idea of humanity as worthy of its existence? Pieter Geyl the well-known Dutch historian. A particular approach would appear to become dominant here or there across the world of historiographical debate. whether ‘free world’ or Communist. Approaches which had seemed to subside into silence would suddenly re-emerge. Ranke’s ideal of abstaining from judge- .. Geyl perceived disturbing aspects. In the nineteenth century Ranke had established closeness to. service for.. in a recurring pattern. the state as an attractive possibility for modern professional historians. for its dominance not to last.. In the twentieth century. independent. only. sometimes exclusively.. I For non-Marxist historians.Yet there were also always more critical. a second global war.Is history fiction? . The middle decades of the twentieth century – that saw the resurgence of European nationalism in its ugliest and most murderous form. European colonialism and decolonisation. the New Left and student protest – were the scene of intellectual and ideological battles fought internationally and in many arenas. Ranke remained the abiding foundational figure of modern professional history. the American War in Vietnam. Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

the individual citizen could live a life of fullness only through the state to which he belongs. For Ranke.. his joy that the historian. Geyl pointed to places where Ranke suggested that each state possesses its own spiritual individuality. Ranke’s view that every epoch is immediate to God is.. Such mysticism was also connected to Ranke’s thinking about the ideal relationship between state and citizen. Geyl pointed to aspects of Ranke that were decidedly not rationalist.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. who was everywhere. to be prized for its diversity. in his short book. Also.. says Geyl. weakening the idea of possible resistance to a state.. says Geyl. how it looked to itself. Historical Inevitability (1954). Geyl avers. in studying the spectacle of history. to extinguish himself in writing about history was to try to unite himself with God. that he was not a nationalist but believed in a European community of nations..What has proved invaluable here. for example his discerning of large historical movements as expressions of divine will. is Ranke’s urging of a disinterested understanding of the unfamiliar. which presumption could not be. and weakening as well a notion of active participation in political life. Geyl still admired aspects of Ranke’s thought. here is the very breath of the civilisation that was so recently threatened. Geyl notes. for even evil and destruction had their place in God’s enigmatic plans. for example. a highly conservative conviction in a historian whose own life profited greatly from association with the Prussian government of his day. to strive for an effort of historical imagination to know and make palpable how different the past could be.4 Nevertheless.. in effect each state is an idea of God.. was revering God. because it enables the historian to look at a society or age or epoch from the inside.History in the Light of Catastrophe . such discerning related to his fervent erotic mysticism. How dangerous this notion is.. the historian had to look outside of himself and his own values. of great significance to Western civilisation. the citizen finds his liberty by voluntarily subjecting his will to that state. ment of a nation and its history was.6 In reaction to . 117 . To judge history would be to judge God.

in his conception of sociology.And if they could have acted differently. He doesn’t like the ‘obstinate craving for unity and symmetry’ that Auguste Comte exhibited in desiring. then we in the present are quite free to exercise moral judgement on past actions and activities. predicting’ is putting pressure on history to adopt a scientific method.. causal and purposive.. cannot and should not accept such determinism. 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. Berlin feels. “scientific” values’. correlating.We assume we have and must exercise responsibility. He doesn’t like the way thinkers such as Hegel. entailing notions of supra-personal forces which are not empirically testable. historians do not ordinarily deploy the special concepts of natural science or schemas like Marxism which attempt to treat history as a science..7 A great deal of Historical Inevitability concerns what Berlin doesn’t like. one scale of rational. or Spengler discern an objective march of history. Marx. one truth. scarcely analysable mixture’ of the physiological and psychological. aesthetic and ethical. economic and biographical. Each presupposes a kind of determinism. above all.9 . of history moving towards a goal.. ‘one complete and all-embracing pyramid of scientific knowledge..8 Berlin opposes the search for general laws as in the natural sciences as much as the grand teleological visions. and motives of individuals’. says Berlin. 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’. common among metaphysical or theological thinkers of various kinds (rationalists. purposes. and our ordinary everyday thoughts and words don’t assume.. which is only an issue if one believes history is a science. approve or condemn – just as we do in the present since we don’t assume. He doesn’t like the way the ‘success of the natural sciences in classifying. Sensibly. 118 . Berlin had moved towards grounding his philosophical interests in the history of ideas. they could have avoided acting in the ways they did act. that are a ‘rich.Is history fiction? . utopians... one method. which destroys what Berlin values and believes always exists: ‘free choice’ and ‘individual responsibility’ in history. and.What we should recognise. to praise or blame. is that in the past individuals could have chosen to act otherwise than how they did. that our lives are totally determined. prophets). Historians. the logical positivism increasingly prevailing in philosophy. Historians use the concepts and categories common in ordinary speech.

. and did not. which enter into our assessments of the societies. In Historical Inevitability Berlin argues. the alterity of the past. hectic.12 Historical Inevitability is a highly judgemental book! And perhaps. including his contemporaries like E. right and wrong. Despite the widespread interest in her book and the opportunities to speak at intellectual forums it opened up for her.H.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)..10 He inherits Croce’s dislike of historical determinism. that there is a fundamental distinction between historical and scientific knowledge. 119 ... however. As writing. Her biographer Elisabeth Young-Bruehl notes that Arendt was never satisfied with the title The Origins of Totalitarianism.. political actions. While writing the . and tends to make hasty summary judgements when characterising the supposed positions of various intellectual movements and thinkers he doesn’t like. Berlin’s book is not a little bombastic. and repetitive. it does not allow enough for what concerned Pieter Geyl. how much its values can be bafflingly different from the present..13 Arendt would not.. characters. III In the years since she had arrived in New York in May 1941. cannot be separated from our ordinary-language notions of good and bad. And such selection. and that the historian becomes interested in aspects of the past because of the concerns of the present. says Berlin. too. part of a wave of European refugees who would contribute greatly to postwar American intellectual and academic life. increasingly famous after the publication in 1951 of The Origins of Totalitarianism.. Carr. and states of mind that we have selected to be interested in.History in the Light of Catastrophe . 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”’. permit her powerful original mind to be overrun by any orthodoxy. individuals. within the general ambit of Croce. Hannah Arendt had established herself as a major voice. that the historian should not be so detached as to refuse to judge. the historian is a kind of moral critic.

imperialism.Arendt felt that in Nazism was crystallised.15 In terms that also reprise the suspicion of modernity in 1920s high literary modernism (Yeats. 120 . 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. she feels. the three elements that she was concerned with.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’. and to praise the glory of Hector no less than the greatness of Achilles’. has been ‘subjectivization’. The Three Pillars of Hell.. and Thucydides. antisemitism. 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. with its associated ‘despair’. Arendt suggests that modernity is threatening some of humanity’s finest values. where citizens learned to ‘look upon the same world from one another’s standpoint. as an attempted terrifying solution..14 Yet clearly such elements could be seen as present and active in other – democratic – societies as well.Is history fiction? . A consequence is the ‘growing meaninglessness of the modern world’. modern political philosophy has taken over a principle and worldview that Christianity introduced into history: a focus on the ‘single living individual’. Indeed. Eliot. Such impartiality is to be . The Elements of Shame: Anti-Semitism–Imperialism–Racism.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. Pound). reducing and degrading human judgement to the ‘level of sensations’. especially in the historical vision of Homer. Unfortunately.... she thought of other titles: A History of Totalitarianism. In modern ‘mass-society’ human beings have ‘lost the world once common to all of them’. A signal aspect of the ‘still growing worldalienation of man in the modern age’.’ Such understanding was.. Herodotus... which she locates in Greek antiquity. generalised and secularised in modernity as the ‘all-importance of self-interest’. ‘The Concept of History’. book from 1945 or 1946 onwards. and racism. Arendt argues. inspired not only by the Sophists in philosophy but also by the kind of ‘impartiality’ that early Greek historical writing brought into the world. In her essay. in Between Past and Future (1954). what they feel saddens and endangers them.

such ‘historical objectivity’. as in nuclear physics.G.. so prominent in the interwar years in discussions of the nature of historical writing. What has happened to natural science in the twentieth century. who urged an extinction of the self of the historian as the basis of objectivity. will ultimately encounter nothing but himself. and the patterns of his own actions. an inexhaustible flow of contrary viewpoints. observed in Herodotus. Arendt also invokes a statement made elsewhere by Heisenberg: the paradox that ‘man’. Collingwood.History in the Light of Catastrophe . Such extinction of self is impossible. for the historian must select from the infinite mass of facts.17 Arendt contrasts the ‘true historiography’ of Greek antiquity with the historical writing of the modern West. Arendt continues. whenever ‘he’ tries to learn about things which neither are himself nor owe their existence to him. which she feels naïvely strives to emulate the ‘allegedly absolute objectivity and precision of the natural scientists’. Selection works by certain criteria. 121 .. working out and applying the criteria. Arendt disdains the modern concept of history epitomised in Ranke. 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’.. because they were now anachronistic in their conceptions of science. and such criteria necessarily mean that the self of the historian cannot be extinguished. Where they expressed horror and disgust at what natural science helped unleash in World War I.. Such impartiality.Twentieth-century science. makes modern historians of the Rankean sort to be even more naïve. and any such selection ‘interferes with history’. 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 . had begun to question its own claims to absolute objectivity and to recognise an inescapable subjective element in experiments. practised in antiquity in this tradition is a mark of ‘all true historiography’. And such impartiality is evident in the way Thucydides presents. thereby creating how history is looked at under ‘certain man-made conditions’.. Arendt observes. it is active and involved..18 Arendt shares with historians like Carl Becker and R. especially in the set-speeches... Arendt refers to and quotes from Werner Heisenberg’s then recently published work Philosophic Problems of Nuclear Science (1952). his own constructions. a distrust of the destructive powers of natural science.

the Manifesto of the Communist Party.21 In Mikhail Bakhtin’s terms. was instantly famous. another operates on an intermediate time span and specifically concerns the emergence of capitalism. IV In the middle decades of the twentieth century.. if obliquely. and the debate had enormous consequences for the profession as a whole. the literary and aesthetic aspects of history all but disappeared from view.. he wrote with Engels and alone many other works. a third offers an account of political change over a very short time.23 The preface argues that social change occurs . 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). The idea of objective history was now split in two.. or ‘imagination’ versus ‘objectivity’. His essay written jointly with Friedrich Engels in 1848. of ‘human artifice’ that we inhabit as well as ‘all non-man-made things of earth’. Marx’s works on philosophy. and perhaps as well.. including Capital.20 When we look closely at his theory of history. as a sequence of epochs..19 Arendt here is clearly referring to the power of the nuclear bomb. which became some of the most thoroughly discussed two pages in the history of Western thought. we can see that there are really several different modes being offered. the Marxists and the empiricists. for which he is probably best known. One considers history over a long time span. 122 . Each side saw its own work as objective. a major conflict within historiography worldwide was not over ‘art’ versus ‘science’. history. but over the question of Marxism. Historians were increasingly ranged into two main camps.. to examples of that power made horrifyingly manifest in the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. and political economy had inspired intense support and opposition since they appeared between the 1840s and 1880s. a specific configuration of time and space. 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.22 The interest in change over a very long duration.. each mode engages a different chronotope..Is history fiction? .

which in turn leads to major changes in social. gives way to another and then another leading to capitalism.. the writer of detailed historical narrative. the working class eventually sees this ‘bourgeois ideology’ for the illusion it is and achieves emancipation for itself. requiring for its success the creation of a working class. As the Manifesto said in its famous first sentence: ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. There is yet another Marx. When he sought to explain the rise of capitalism. Marx’s philosophy of history sought to look beyond individual will and consciousness to the systems of relations in which individuals are embedded. and would.. for it was inherently unstable. a logic whereby one system. by seizing power through revolution.. Even powerful individuals are the products of particular historical circumstances.’24 Because it was based on private property.The preface also emphasises the idea that societies are not what they seem on the surface. and derive their power from them. or mode of production. Marx thus constructs a linear movement in history. and finally – it could be predicted and was hoped – to socialism and communism. and intellectual relations. Although capitalism was a dynamic and expanding system that was transforming the economic character of Europe.. capitalism produced a structure of inequality between the ruling class and the working class.. when there are improvements in ways of producing goods and services. 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). his work dealing with a short time scale . and of inevitable social change. Marx employed the concept of ‘class’. This causational sequence underlies epochal changes from ancient communal forms to feudalism to capitalism.. It is economic modes and social structures more than individuals that historians need to uncover and understand. changes in methods of production require a reorganisation of the economic sphere of society. its days were nevertheless numbered.History in the Light of Catastrophe . but have a hidden structure – based on the type of economic relations – which is the true motor of the society. rise up and overthrow the system that had created it. political.. the social system he saw emerging as dominant in his own time.. 123 . and ultimately for all humanity. While Marx’s writings covering a long time scale stressed the primacy of technological and economic change. sooner or later.The working class would eventually recognise its own interests.

tricksters. ending with the dissolution of parliament and the installation on 2 December 1851 of Louis Bonaparte as the supreme source of power. who no longer takes world history for a comedy. written in 1851–52 about events in France between 1848 and 1851. Louis Bonaparte the fool who would be king appeals to and gains the assistance of the lumpenproletariat of Paris – graphically evoked as decayed roués. and interrelated.. for the while deluding himself and his nation: ‘the serious buffoon. 124 .28 Marx’s evocation of mid-nineteenth-century French history as absurdity. In the latter twentieth century. suggested that political. ruined offshoots of the bourgeoisie. Marx here is drawing on images in European history of carnival days of world upside-down ... literati. discharged soldiers. as it were. pretending to be a worthy descendant of his uncle the great Napoleon. It begins with the overthrow of the king in 1848.27 In a situation of farcical seriousness. In an intricate analysis of these years. ex-jailbirds. gamblers. against the absurdity of an ‘adventurer’ like Louis Bonaparte. and the complexity of the relationship between politicians and the classes they aim to represent. being permitted to conduct a successful coup d’état against French democracy.Is history fiction? .. knife-grinders. escaped galley-slaves. porters. vagabonds. . scornfully and often hilariously. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy. idlers. rag-pickers. but his comedy for world history’.. challenged. beggars.. twice. world-historical facts and personages occur.’26 In The Eighteenth Brumaire Marx rails. intellectual. Marx evokes the conflicts between the conservative. especially for the carnivalesque extravagance of its satirical language.. the divisions within them. pickpockets. The Eighteenth Brumaire fascinated.. the second as farce. The most well-known of these works is The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. which begins with its initial memorable sentences: ‘Hegel remarks somewhere that all great. tinkers. 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. procurers. social democratic. of the fool appointed king for the duration of the festivities. and piqued intellectual historians and literary and cultural critics. swindlers. which vanished like a ‘phantasmagoria’ before the ‘spell of a man whom even his enemies do not make out to be a magician’.25 We share this fascination and enjoyment. brothel-keepers. and economic changes were equally important. and traces the failure of the revolution. organ-grinders. social. mountebanks. and workers’ parties.

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. 125 . 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.. 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. the mass. who continued to write and publish Marxist-influenced history in History Workshop Journal. Marx’s theory of history proved attractive to historians in many countries. 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.. 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. A very influential group were the British Marxist historians.Their narrative styles varied enormously.30 Marxism inspired these historians to focus more closely on ‘history from below’.P. the multitude.History in the Light of Catastrophe . Christopher Hill.. and Eric Hobsbawm in the 1950s and 1960s and beyond... and followed most notably by E. Marxism also gave them the confidence to attempt large generalisations over the scale of human history.. 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.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. They influenced a younger generation of historians. rather than the more usual focus in conventional political history influenced by Ranke on those in power. starting perhaps with Maurice Dobb in the 1940s. notably Raphael Samuel and Anna Davin.. 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. and to seek explanations for the historical situations and events they explored..32 . as disaster entwined with farce. but they had in common a faith in the possibility of explanation. Thompson. who shared his political sympathies with the working class and believed that capitalism should be brought to an end.

and suspicious of the idea of historical laws. and short – it was not they who did most to bring the importance and flexibility of the choice of time span to historians’ attention. founded in 1929. led by Fernand Braudel in the 1950s and 1960s.. Braudel wrote of Marx that his ‘genius. and to longterm patterns. intermediate. 126 . The third generation gradually moved from social to cultural history. where Marxists saw Marx’s theory of history as valuable for developing their own historical interpretations. the secret of his long sway. especially France. a cluster of historians over three generations around the French historical journal Annales: Economies. and its period medieval and early modern. that is. exploring the history of mentalities. again often with an emphasis on the long term.. allowing more space to economic and social history. the Annalists wanted to break away from narrative political history. the Annalists were far more eclectic in their theoretical approaches.. and this is not surprising. and how structures changed over time. Societies. an interest in the lives and thoughts and actions of ordinary people. Yet there are some key differences... lies in the .The next generation. sought a ‘total’ history of particular regions over a long time span.. in understanding what lay under the surface of society. both represented a move to a ‘history from below’.. Furthermore.33 The school’s area of study was mainly Europe. mainly dealing with the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries.Is history fiction? . That honour goes surely to the Annales school. Originally led by Marc Bloch and Henri Febvre. they were also much more likely to write regional histories.. V Although Marxist historians worked productively in different time spans – long. It took several decades for the Annales school to be truly noticed in the English-speaking world. often with a quantitative emphasis on the study of economic and demographic trends. drawing from different disciplines and schools of thought as needed. the Annalists were interested in structure.The Annalists were much more interested than the Marxists in material culture and the influence of geography on human history. Both groups of historians sought a ‘total’ history.34 Like the Marxists. Civilisations. In his illuminating history of the Annales school. Among the early enthusiasts were the British Marxists. and influentially. or longue durée. Peter Burke has aptly described it as responsible for a ‘French historical revolution’.

and lived by contemporaries. the richest in human interest’.. each of which examined a different ‘level’ of history. Braudel again pondered the question of the time span in some depth.. 127 . where change was so slow history became almost immobile. as it was felt. in an essay entitled ‘History and the Social Sciences’ (1958). their actions are seen as relatively insignificant with respect to the deep social structures that actually make history. Our task should instead be to exorcise its ‘spells and enchantments’ by charting ‘those underlying currents. undergoing slow but steady change. he wrote. and was a geographically centred history focussing on the interaction between humans and the environment in the Mediterranean world. The first part. a radical change in the historian’s attitude to the past: For the historian. was but the history of ‘surface disturbances’. The middle part.As Braudel wrote in the preface... focussed on the Mediterranean world’s economic. The work was divided into three parts. described. a whole new way . ‘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’. a whole reversal in his thinking. aiming to show that individuals. social and political institutional structures. had little freedom of choice. however. fact that he was the first to construct true social models.37 The choice of time span. in his view. ‘In truth’. on the basis of a historical longue durée’.’. but it is also ‘dangerous’: ‘We must learn to distrust this history with its still burning passions. ‘Collective Destinies and General Trends’.History in the Light of Catastrophe .. the first draft of which was written in a war camp in Nazi Germany during World War II. The history of events. even those as apparently powerful as Philip II. ‘The Role of the Environment’. whose direction can only be discerned by watching them over long periods of time’. become frozen ‘by being given the status of laws. To focus on the longue durée meant.The third and final part was a study of Philip II’s foreign policy. covered the long time span.35 Braudel exemplified his approach in his masterpiece. accepting the longue durée entails a readiness to change his style. These models had.‘despite their illusions’ statesmen such as Philip II ‘were more acted on than actors’.. and which first appeared in 1949. had major consequences for historical writing. of a preordained and automatic explanation.36 Almost ten years after the appearance of The Mediterranean. his attitudes. he continued. valid in all places and to any society’. often noiseless. It might be ‘the most exciting of all... therefore. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II.

a genre of historical reflection persisted where historians construct two histories. like the scientific. usually personified and addressed as the muse Clio. she is a harlot and a hireling…’40 Can the male historian succeed in seducing.. and having got there. of conceiving of social affairs. capturing. and sometimes as Historia.39 VI After World War II. gendered terms. conquering.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. In an anti-teleological argument strikingly similar to poststructuralist critiques of the notion of origin in Derrida and Foucault.42 Oakeshott sets out his understanding of the task of the historian in a way that directly descends from Ranke: the specifically historical attitude. frequently drawn to somewhat bizarre or tortured metaphors. It means becoming used to a slower tempo. subduing. 128 .. he said how liberating it was to go from the immediate and difficult present. to ‘one less short.These fragments are reunited at the end of all our labours. ‘The Activity of Being an Historian’. 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.. Recall Herbert Butterfield’s despairing phrases from our previous chapter: ‘History is all things to all men … In other words. the difficult disobedient insouciant female past?41 In 1955. it refuses to join the search for general laws. however. and then feel impelled to consider their relationship in erotic.They set out to explore the relationship between themselves.. and then to the long view’. views the past not in relation to the present but for its own sake.. it makes no moral judgements. Like science. controlling..’ Reflecting on his captivity during World War II. Unlike science. and history-in-the-past..Is history fiction? . an image of the past as female emerges at the climax of Michael Oakeshott’s essay. 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’. Oakeshott . male historians in the present.. the short time span. penetrating.

At Cambridge he studied Greek and Roman history. born and raised in London and trained in classics at Cambridge. Notable here is E. and there also gained a perspective on historical writing that owes much to Croce. He always felt an uneasy outsider in this and later life situations. Carr recalled growing up in a pre-1914 world of security and optimism. Oakeshott answers with his own Gothic necrophilia.. Carr in his famous What is History? (1961). for whom the past is dead and irreproachable. expecting it to talk sense and have something to say apposite to its plebeian ‘causes’ and engagements. 129 . says Oakeshott... He loves it as a mistress of whom he never tires and whom he never expects to talk sense.45 He goes on: But to the ‘historian’ this is a piece of obscene necromancy: the past he adores is dead. It deals with the past as with a man. the past is feminine. by one of his teachers saying that Herodotus’ . Oakeshott observes. as the son of a Liberal voter. says that the historian must avoid an inquiry into origins since such an inquiry ‘read(s) the past backwards’.H. though.43 Yet.. if the historian is interested in the past purely for its own sake.. here drawing closer to Croce as well as to Isaiah Berlin. had for a long time been a controversial figure in English historical and international-relations debates. and thus imposing on past events ‘an arbitrary teleological structure. Edward Hallett Carr (1892–1982). The world has neither love nor respect for what is dead. a usable present-minded past. he says. wishing only to recall it to life again..The historian will ‘understand past conduct and happenings in a manner in which they were never understood at the time’. Carr was struck.44 The ‘world today’.46 Against the ‘obscene necromancy’ of a despised world. In his short essay ‘An Autobiography’ (1980). which ‘repeats with spurious authority the utterances put into its mouth’. But for the ‘historian’.History in the Light of Catastrophe . VII Historians looked to non-sexual metaphors as well.. constructs a living past.. looking to it to supply information about the ‘cause’ or the ‘beginning’ of an already specified situation. he cannot help but use the terms of the present. Carr at school felt part of a tiny despised minority. in their attempts to elucidate the relationship between the historian and the past.

the Peloponnesian war which was going on around him as he wrote The Histories. about whom he would later write. He does not claim. Carr says that at the time of writing. not blindly opposed. 130 . view the ‘past through the eyes of the present . He prefers to be a utopian. 1980. He was intrigued by Russian intellectuals who rejected Western society.Is history fiction? . 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’.‘This’. however. subjectivity and objectivity. the individual and society. and the knowledge that historians. which had been victorious over Nazi Germany. he notes.. as Croce remarked. a view that.‘was a fascinating revelation. He became fascinated by the Russian Revolution as an event of utmost importance in history. would become increasingly suspect during the cold war. where he mastered Russian and read Dostoevsky. He found Marx interesting though would never call himself a Marxist. free will and determinism.. Carr was sent to Riga from 1925 to 1929.. records Carr. 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. how to negotiate between past fact and present interpretation? How to balance between the hope of seeing the past in its own terms. Carr feels that the world can be divided between cynics. irritated that the Western world was treating the Russian Revolution as a mere passing event.47 Carr wanted historians somehow to recover the past on its own terms.. that the book ‘resolves the eternal tensions’ it investigates between causation and chance. In his writings for The Times he urged that the Soviet Union. view of the war against the Persians was shaped and moulded by the time he was living in. and utopians. He developed in all intellectual matters an esprit de contradiction.. How to get the balance right. should be accommodated by the West. or at least to respect the alterity of the past. who make sense of things on the basis of ‘some magnificent unverifiable assumption about the future’. but became convinced again of the lasting importance of the Soviet Union... was then repelled by the purges after 1935. who find no sense in anything. and gave me my first understanding of what history was about’: the ‘relativism of historiography’.. 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.

But such will not be easy.. and what the historian catches will depend. but mainly on what part of the ocean he chooses to fish in and what tackle he chooses to use – these two factors being.’ In the twentieth century. and historians walked in the Garden of Eden. shipwreck. and cooks and serves them in whatever style appeals to him. where all qualities are turned head to feet? In ‘The Historian and His Facts’.. we can concur that the process is different: The facts are really not at all like fish on the fishmonger’s slab. and in the light of its problems’? Like Croce contemplating the difference between fact as mere chronicle and history as interpretive.. and notes that Croce very much influenced Collingwood. Carr feels the key problem. without a scrap of philosophy to cover them.History in the Light of Catastrophe . of course. By and large. Carr agrees.’50 But. its obsessive ‘cult of facts’ and ‘fetishism of documents’. takes them home. ‘The Historian and His Facts’. the historian will get the kind of facts he wants. partly on chance... They are like fish swimming about in a vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean. death. determined by the kind of fish he wants to catch. ruin.What of tsunami. History means interpretation. Here Carr acknowledges the philosophical power in particular of Croce saying that all history is contemporary history.. something better is needed.51 The slightly absurd image of the historian as fisher of facts in a ‘vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean’ is worth pondering. Carr avers.48 Near the beginning of the much-quoted opening chapter. 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)’. or at least does not disagree. lies in working out and delineating what is a specifically ‘historical fact’.. piracy. Carr says that historians have to go beyond the nineteenth century.52 Carr suggests that the philosophy of history of Croce and . perhaps the answer to history’s riddle as a project. ‘the only British thinker in the present century who has made a serious contribution to the philosophy of history’.49 The nineteenth-century historians saw facts as ‘fish’ already caught and readily available ‘on the fishmonger’s slab’: ‘The historian collects them. 131 .. Carr also criticises nineteenth-century historians for trying to do without a ‘philosophy of history’:‘This was the age of innocence. must challenge its naïve hubris. few of them neutral or stable. naked and unashamed before the god of history. storm. Oceans have many associations. with its fall into cynicism and scepticism. disappearance? What of the equator and its carnivalesque shipboard ceremonies.

. as he finds it. the historian must respect the facts. says Carr.There is danger. both a gateway to untold treasure and marked by horror and foreboding. History is a ‘continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts. an unending dialogue between the present and the past’. named by a previous European explorer Sheba’s Breasts. at times anxious. and that general facts are made into specific historical facts by the historian’s processes of selection..’ The facts of history are still therefore amenable to ‘objective interpretation’. pointing to the ‘dangers’ of the ‘Collingwood view of history’: that history is what the historian makes of it in the present. 132 . they signified the infinite... since it has it own wayward. In Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885). had claimed in chapter 1 of Beyond Good and Evil that the ‘facts of history are nothing.We must beware of drawing too close to Nietzsche who. the evidence.. cumulative. Troubled.. can go too far. where. Carr feels. beyond which lie the legendary .. the Europeans cross a desert to find haven from its searing heat on one of two huge snow-covered mountains.. of total scepticism. but certainly not a tragic romance. none any more right than any other’. as in Wordsworth’s Prelude. Carr writes. mountains also loomed large. What is History? stretches for a famous historiographical image. of a ‘theory of an infinity of meanings. in the ruling out of ‘any objective history at all’.‘that because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision. between the two histories. that knowledge of the past involves attempts at imaginative and intellectual understanding. is a lively.57 In the boys’ own tales of imperial adventure-romance of the late nineteenth century. as Simon Schama enjoys evoking in part 3 of Landscape and Memory. interpretation is everything’. metaphoric history.53 Twentieth-century scepticism. however. the relationship between the historian and ‘his’ past. with suggestions of terror as well as beauty. that which passed ordinary (objective) understanding. steady. Yet the image of the mountain is worth reflecting on.Is history fiction? . on the edge of a Nietzschean chasm.55 For Carr. grounded image of a mountain. Collingwood brings forth ‘neglected truths’. it has objectively either no shape at all or an infinity of shapes.56 In romantic aesthetics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.54 At this point.‘It does not follow’. On the other hand. mountains often figured in visions of the sublime. It drops the image of the historian fishing for facts and clings instead to the sturdy. Carr now pulls back.

and helps make historical reflection itself so enjoyable a genre for readers.. by reflecting that there is no definitive answer:‘The relation between the historian and his facts is one of equality. the mountain. Carr says near the end of ‘The Historian and His Facts’ that the historian finds himself in an apparently precarious situation.‘the two great prophets of destruction’. fish and fishermen. and Oriental. 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.59 Is. of the unqualified primacy of fact over interpretation.African. Isaiah Berlin also deployed an image of the mountain. navigating delicately between the Scylla of an untenable theory of history as an objective compilation of facts. trusting in the permanence of their particular way of life... of give-and-take’. substituted. then. meant to signify the actual past. The European men are almost overcome by the grandeur and beauty of the sight. is another quality. little knowing that history always brings sudden cataclysmic changes which will inevitably turn their mountain into an erupting volcano. eroticised as female. made ambivalent.61 . images of the mountain can be added to. Carr feels.. to assign ‘primacy’ to one over the other.. undeniably there quality yearned for in What is History? We would also suggest that why What is History? lasts and endures. parodied. Berlin feels that Hegel and Marx. riches they seek.History in the Light of Catastrophe . can lead to treasure and to death.We suggest that Carr’s mountain can never. after all.58 In Historical Inevitability. the objective and subjective. as solid and reassuring as Carr hoped it would be? Like images of ocean.. a ‘continuous process of moulding his facts to his interpretation and his interpretation to his facts’.The book is an exploration of the double character of history. It is impossible. be stilled in a single image. are contemptuous of ordinary human beings. 133 . and returned to a destabilising metaphoric history.. or retain the solid. the empirical and the theoretical.The mountain (‘Sheba’s left breast’).. seeing them as residing ‘upon the green slopes of what seems to them a peaceful mountain side’. 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. of why it can never be resolved into an essence.

because American historians detached Ranke’s critical analysis of sources. ghostly. Further. honorary member. in 1884 the infant American Historical Association made Ranke its first. In Germany. Iggers reflects that in the re-examination of Ranke that occurred in Germany after World War II. American historians... Iggers argues that the reception of Ranke in the American profession was historiographically and philosophically naïve. the state. and only.. In 1962 Georg G. the barbarism of the twentieth century. which they understood as a . Burckhardt had not been the wiser in his deep pessimism regarding power. What is interesting about What is History? here and overall is Carr’s intellectual journey. 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. much more than Ranke could. and pre-scientific. Ranke tried to construct a universal history from particular elements in order to sense God’s work. 134 . in Germany in the late nineteenth century Ranke was attacked by the positivist Karl Lamprecht precisely for being Idealist. Iggers observed.. the end result of historical study was to be an empathetic understanding of the universe.. and the masses.62 Ranke became its kindly. From the late nineteenth century. father. for he went far beyond concrete description in order to grasp the deepest and most mysterious movements of life. VIII As we note in one of our epigraphs. including the many who had studied in Germany.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. based their admiration and understanding on a talismanic use of Ranke’s 1824 dictum wie es eigentlich gewesen. not arrival at a definite conclusion. Ranke was recognised as embodying the tradition of German Idealism in historical writing.. philosophical. as the image of the mountain tried to be. antiquated.. life-long Rankeans like Friedrich Meinecke now asked whether.Is history fiction? . perhaps Burckhardt had foreseen.. contrary to Ranke’s optimism.

.. including Luther. Goethe. the automatic conjunction of .. 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. from his idealistic philosophy.65 Iggers also raised an important question about the magical phrase wie es eigentlich gewesen itself.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. meaning both actually and essentially. Further. who saw history as literary art as well as scientific project.. and Fichte. who proclaimed history as political yet was also interested in cultural history. by Pieter Geyl. suggesting that ‘eigentlich’ might have been an ambiguous term in the nineteenth century. before him. began seriously to re-examine the reigning portrait of Ranke in the American historical profession. Indians..History in the Light of Catastrophe . historiography was in a mobile state. to mean an approach closely related to natural science.. 135 . kind of scientific method which established facts. so that the phrase could have been deployed by Ranke to mean ‘as it essentially was’. Iggers feels that it was not until after World War II that American historians.The inherited Anglo-American image of ‘Ranke’ as the exemplar of scientific objective history had been severely shaken by Georg Iggers and. increasingly crowded with diverse contributions.. and so-called primitive peoples.67 IX By the 1960s.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. it was the received American picture of Ranke that they were rejecting. Even when American historians like Carl Becker and Charles Beard were sceptical of the possibility of objective historical knowledge and wished to repudiate Ranke. which was alien to them. which in Germany denoted any kind of research carried on by systematic methods. some of them German refugee scholars. The American historians interpreted the term science (Wissenschaft)..

H. 136 . On the contrary. and ethos... but as rigorously scientific in the sense of perceiving past events in the light of specifiable historical laws.... questions. and carried well into the twentieth. Carr. fell apart. Increasingly in the 1960s historians of various kinds sought new ways to characterise what they saw as history’s distinctiveness. from the early 1940s to the 1960s.. an organised body of knowledge.. demanded that history recognise itself not as a soft science.The logical positivists.. .Is history fiction? . all disliked any notion that history could produce laws and should be seen as continuous with or assimilable to the natural sciences. Hannah Arendt. and E. history should be recognised as possessing its own methods. modes. Yet historians with perspectives as varied as Isaiah Berlin. history as ‘scientific’ and ‘objective’ that had developed from the late nineteenth century.

Every concept originates through our equating what is unequal. the mythos of his idiom. No leaf ever wholly equals another. through forgetting the distinctions … (Nietzsche. 1873)1 Metaphysics – the white mythology which reassembles and reflects the culture of the West: the white man takes his own mythology. but must at the same time fit innumerable. Every word immediately becomes a concept. 1972)2 Metaphor is less in the philosophical text (and in the rhetorical text coordinated with it) than the philosophical text is within metaphor. 1972)3 . 137 . 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. for the universal form of that he must still wish to call Reason. a lot of unequal cases. that is. never equal – in other words. ‘On Truth and Lie …’. his own logos. (Derrida. more or less similar cases – which means. ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’... strictly speaking. ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’. and the concept ‘leaf ’ is formed through an arbitrary abstraction from these individual differences... Indo-European mythology. (Derrida.CHAPTER 7 The Linguistic Turn Let us still give special consideration to the formation of concepts.

Kuhn saw history as the matrix for viewing all the sciences. largely inspired by Carl G. and prediction raised by Hempel’s 1942 essay. which led to an epochally new vision: where Hempel had held history to be an applied science. says Danto. 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. part of the wider World According to Logical Positivism.Is history fiction? ... Philosophers of science began to lose interest in the problems of historical explanation posed by the analytical philosophy of history.. Danto says that in the mid-1950s and for some years after. historian and senior editor of History and Theory. Hempel’s theory was no longer relevant to what people had become interested in: the ‘all-too-human endeavour’ that is science.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.. It is just that from the early 1960s onwards. sometimes only two sentences. logically undone by internal criticism. In ‘The Decline and Fall of the Analytical Philosophy of History’. there was heated controversy in analytic philosophy over Hempel’s thesis that an event was explained when it was covered by a general law. Instead of history as science. Sometimes the preferred analogies with history were games like cricket.. Arthur C... key positions of logical positivism like the Verifiability Principle were. A major problem was that in the decades following Hempel’s essay. and indeed such was the enthusiasm by its contributors for . Hempel’s 1942 essay ‘The Function of General Laws in History’ (which we discussed in chapter 5). causality. with Kuhn’s work on paradigms and the prestige of Foucault analysing the politics of science. 138 .. supports Danto’s narrative. All the narratives discussed were very short.What now could be studied were topics like The World According to Hempel. and were often not taken from actual historical works. Vann evokes how when History and Theory was founded in 1960 its main interest was in the analytical philosophy of history. and the World According to Hempel was itself. who were urging natural science methods upon historians. Danto has described what he thinks happened to the quest for a scientific history. The attempts by philosophers of science. explanation. science now became history. Danto observes. especially when Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions appeared in 1962. which was still concerned with the topics of law.Vann. were by the early 1960s seen to fail by the philosophers of science themselves.4 Richard T.

P. Nevertheless. who thereby ‘obscure the agency of working people.. says Vann. in a celebrated phrase. All such interests.Vann also observes that it was difficult for History and Theory to entertain new interests that were arising in the 1960s. We can only know classes in their ‘human relationships’ with each other. E. until the editors decided the subject was exhausted and an editorial moratorium declared. just as when we study relationships of ‘love or deference’: ‘We cannot have love without lovers. had been systematically repressed in the analytical philosophy of history.. in ‘traditions. The Making of the English Working Class.. and not as in fact it occurred’. Class relationships obey no ‘law’ though we may perceive ‘logic’.T h e L i n g u i s t i c Tu r n . interested in process and relationships as much as categories and structures. 139 . Echoing . especially that history could be seen as literature with an associated concern for questions of genre and plotting.Thompson opposes those who see only structures that dominate. to the making of history’. value-systems. of working people. however mistaken or unsuccessful they turned out to be.. ideas. the degree to which they contributed by conscious efforts.6 In the preface. the working class was ‘present at its own making’. interest in these debates lasted only a few years into the 1960s..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. Thompson also opposes those who read history ‘in the light of subsequent preoccupations.Thompson announced a new and very influential kind of Marxist history. 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’. experiences. for..5 I In the famous preface to his massive 1963 book. nor deference without squires and labourers. though this attempt ‘proved abortive’. and culture ‘embodied’ in these relationships.. and institutional forms’.’ Like any other relationship such as love.. and we have to be interested in the class-consciousness. talking about watching cricket rather than analysing historical accounts that the editors tried to change the analogy to baseball. and deeply respectful of the ideas and aspirations.

Their crafts and traditions may have been dying.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.. 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. and the ‘blind alleys. with its metaphor of history as fluency (like the course of love) and its call for historians to be interested in relationships. the ‘utopian’ artisan. and consciousness.. culture. 140 . the Luddite cropper. those whose basic moral values (if not their self-understanding) we in the present can redeem (‘rescue’) and share. from the enormous condescension of posterity.. . would prove inspiring for the next generation of Marxist historians or historians influenced by Marxism... in the pathos of those who apparently fail as much as in history’s victors. in leading us to fail to understand how the world appeared to people in the past. this is a powerful call to respect the alterity of the past.10 In the widest sense as well.. and we did not. Butterfield’s The Whig Interpretation of History. and in history from below. to which Thompson so much objected.8 In one reading. the ‘obsolete’ hand-loom weaver. and the losers themselves’ are forgotten.Is history fiction? . and (hopefully) resistant sub-cultures. Their aspirations were valid in terms of their own experience. interested in mass culture. as in Althusser. Inspiring too would be Thompson’s superb essay of 1967. 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. the lost causes. and even the deluded follower of Joanna Southcott..Their hostility to the new industrialism may have been backward-looking … But they lived through these times of acute social disturbance. and Industrial Capitalism’.Yet Thompson is urging respect only for certain kinds of historical actors. representations.7 Then comes one of the most frequently quoted and cherished paragraphs in English historiography: I am seeking to rescue the poor stockinger. to be aware that hindsight brings with it distinct dangers. he faults the kind of history in which ‘only the successful … are remembered’.. ‘Time. Work-Discipline. Thompson’s 1963 preface. though cultural studies would also be inflected by the kind of structural Marxism.

or framework of thought. Stephanson refers to the oddity and inappropriateness of the metaphors in Carr’s opening chapter ‘The Historian and His Facts’.We agree with Anders Stephanson in his reassessment of What is History? that ‘Carr has no account of language and representation’.. Hexter had taught at various American universities for some sixty years.T h e L i n g u i s t i c Tu r n . as bearers of a particular kind of Western culture..12 When he died in 1996 at the age of 86.14 . linguists.H. In 1986 he founded and became director of Washington University’s Centre for the History of Freedom.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.We come now to the linguistic turn.. or set of linguistic and cultural conventions. including at Yale from 1964 to 1978. commenting drily that historians deal not with fish and mountains. and of the language of the documents and texts they ordinarily studied. but with documents and texts.. Carr’s attempt in What is History? (1961) to balance history as objectivity and as multiple perspectives was. and literary critics.H.. 141 . III A major contributor to the linguistic turn was J. Hexter. Carr’s discussions in What is History? were conducted almost entirely without overt reference to the role of language. but also the question of language – of rhetoric and metaphor – was brought to bear on debates about truth and history in new ways. II E. Carr did not have in mind the ways in which historical interpretation occurs in a specific discourse.. gradually undone by criticisms of history from other historians and also from outside... anthropologists.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. the American historian of early modern Europe. from interested philosophers. in the 1960s and in subsequent decades. Not only were historians understood ethnographically.

in a way that the rhetoric of the sciences prevents.Is history fiction? . a rhet- . Historians. and should put in footnotes evidence and information that if inserted in the text would diminish the ‘impact on the reader of what you.15 Other maxims are that the historian should not have over-long quotations. When he discusses narrative.. then.. to Ranke’s urging that history seeks to show the past wie es eigentlich gewesen. or maxims. sometimes well aware of what they are doing. doggedly pursuing throughout baseballers and baseball as its main examples to be investigated (‘we will start with a concrete proposition:Willie Mays knows baseball’). Hexter tosses up which how question he’ll discuss:‘How did it come about that a Labour government took power in England in 1964?’. ‘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. Scientific discourse would like to impose its inappropriate and reductive ‘denotative rhetoric’ on historians. words and phrases that have a ‘rich aura of connotation’. sometimes unselfconsciously. 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. or. Hexter says that in urging these rules. as a historian. in communicating what the historian knows.. for Hexter both the historian and the reader of histories are male. when such ‘evocative force’ helps them advance the ‘understanding of the past’.Yet perhaps the strength of the essay also comes from Hexter drawing on the strong American tradition of rhetoric study. especially in the use of footnotes.. 142 .The historian then acts out a ‘paradox’: ‘maximum completeness.17 Hexter argues that history and the ‘mathematizing natural sciences’ each have their own distinctive rhetoric.16 As can be observed from his language. should observe the Reality rule. choose to write. In this aspect. on the contrary. Historians. he is speaking for the profession at its best and most experienced. and exactness are not always essential or even desirable in the historian’s work of trying to tell the reader what really happened’...‘The Rhetoric of History’ is also Americanocentric. aim to convey to him’.. he chooses the latter. especially in deploying words or phrases that are imprecise and may turn out to be ambiguous. Historians happily sacrifice exactness in the interests of ‘evocative force’. Morton White. which enshrines the commitment of historians. Hexter particularly objecting in this regard to the efforts of analytic philosophers of science like Carl Hempel.. accuracy. and Arthur Danto.

. The historian. the rhetoric of history is nearer to the fictive arts than to the natural sciences. its ‘authenticity. For example. the ‘overriding commitment of historians to fidelity to the surviving records of the past’. Hexter also anticipates later developments in the story of postmodernism and the linguistic turn. which he at least finds absorbing.18 While.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’. can never attain complete knowledge. pots – archaeological data in the broadest sense’. part of the rhetoric of history.. 143 . nevertheless.. tools. narrative is for historians ‘their most common mode of explanation’. Narrative.T h e L i n g u i s t i c Tu r n . says Hexter. for narrative is perceived to be non-explanatory or inadequately explanatory. 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’. who wish coherence to be provided by ‘general laws’.. field systems. when he discusses the importance of narrative to historians. of how it is that the New York Giants came to play in the World Series . such characterisation by the historian’s ‘connotative rhetoric’ would be impossible if the historian deploys the ‘wholly denotative rhetoric’ of ‘scientific discourse’. validity. says Hexter. tombs.21 Hexter then launches into a long analysis.. and truth’ depends on the effectiveness with which it communicates knowledge of ‘the actual past congruent with the surviving record’. 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. Furthermore. a major difference remains. Hexter avers. can never say he can communicate ‘the whole truth about a man’.. pictures. as in the fictive arts. however..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. since only God has such knowledge..19 Historians. especially in Hayden White. Narrative is the ‘rhetorical mode most commonly resorted to by historians’. oric more like that employed in the ‘fictive arts’ rather than the rhetoric of the sciences ‘is not only permissible but on occasion indispensable’. On the contrary. give attention to ‘remnants and traces of men’s handiwork surviving from the past: buildings. Hexter relates how narrative is an object of suspicion for those who wish history to be assimilated into natural science.

would be much more varied and interesting and informative. understanding. in 1951.. It is not merely ‘aesthetic’. 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. rather than simply reflecting reality as many historians believe. connotation. to further ‘knowledge. Rather. His interest in history as rhetoric would be shared on the continent but in the specific idiom of structuralism and poststructuralism. In concluding.Is history fiction? . meaning. constructed through totemism. Almost at the same time as Carr’s What is History? Claude Lévi-Strauss chastised the discipline from the perspective of structural anthropology. characterisation. 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.. A narrative explanation. explanation..’ But such would clearly strike the writer and reader of history as unsatisfactory and limited. and truth. and meaning’. truth. it plays in the World Series. Narrative and analysis do not exclude each other. with its own rules and conventions. however. that of ‘historical analysis’.23 Hexter’s ‘The Rhetoric of History’ was a prescient essay indeed. A denotative general law explanation could be offered of how this came about. what is clear is that rhetoric is not a superficial aspect of history. IV Scepticism concerning the ideal of scientific history also came in the early 1960s and onwards from the French – first the anthropologists and linguists. they work the one with the other. and then the philosophers and historians. where . In the last two chapters of The Savage Mind (1962) he pointed to the ways in which historical narrative is a particular Western discourse. similarity to fictive arts.. nor is it ‘intellectual slatternliness’. rhetoric is part of history’s ‘essential function’. In ‘savage thought’ meaning is. necessary incompleteness. and his interest in narrative. its Rankean capacity to ‘convey knowledge of the past as it really was’.22 For Hexter.. Lévi-Strauss argues.. they always mix in ways that cannot be prescribed. 144 ... and narratives as explanations or modes of understanding. and it would accompany another rhetoric. would likewise become a major feature of ensuing debates. as analytical philosophers would have historians believe.

therefore. in which each item is derived from the one preceding it and gives rise to the one ensuing. an extremely important book for the developing fields of cultural history and cultural studies. Detailed textual critique had hitherto been reserved in literary criticism for the recognised and canonical. says Lévi-Strauss. a way of understanding the world. Barthes thought. and events. In an essay ‘Historical Discourse’ (1967). preordained to be the way it is. because it refuses to reveal the way it has carefully and artfully constructed itself as a text. by contrast. As Barthes put it. is conceived as something separate.. evoked in stories of creation.. the linguists and semioticians..24 After the anthropologists. everyone and everything is in a group. concealed its particular ideological purpose by appearing to be self-evident. rather than a direct revelation of the world. as if without ideology. history appears as nature.. Classification into finite groups enables and establishes social relationships.T h e L i n g u i s t i c Tu r n .. Barthes was a structural linguist now best known for extending the methods of textual analysis beyond literary texts to any kind of texts. Roland Barthes provided a particularly sharp critique of historians’ texts. Events are now in a single series. as out there.We need only recognise that ‘history is a method with no distinct object corresponding to it’. In Mythologies (first published in French in 1957). We should not. ‘explain themselves by history’. for the familiar plays. in such semiotic material. an artefact. poems and novels of high literature. do away with history. any kind of cultural or semiotic material. 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.. Barthes had performed witty textual analyses of events like a Parisian wrestling match. however apparently small or short or occasional or trivial or inconsequential or everyday. past time.25 The writing practices of scholarly history.This kind of epistemology is not historical. representations..The great civilisations of Europe and Asia. however. Semiotics now became the irreverent approach that could investigate textual workings in any cultural phenomena. were open to . 145 .They are simply one way of thinking. wrestling or an advertisement or plastic toys. We should not.. assume that our historical constructions of the past are superior to the classificatory thinking of a non-Western or non-Asian people. which is named or known by its symbol. as if natural. In each entertaining essay of Mythologies Barthes would detect the way a cultural phenomenon. no better and no worse than other ways. and not as a stage in a continuous historical process.

philosophical as well as literary. But. which radically challenged the prevailing French structuralist tradition. Further.... said Barthes.. Barthes felt. to guarantee and enhance the privileged status of history as objective knowledge. or deconstruction – a method of reading texts. indeed any texts whatsoever – dissolves any set structure into a play of structurings. Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences’. In conventional historical writing the author characteristically stands aside: there is no ‘I’ in the narrative. In Derrida’s view. Derrida insists that the inherited concepts of Western philosophy have to be used by poststructuralists even in their critiques of .. Barthes was drawing on and adding to the millennia-long vibrant irrepressible Herodotean stream of cultural history.. Given that historical narrative is just one particular way of viewing the world. that it is ‘true’? The answer lay in the historian’s distinctive rhetoric. neither Herodotus nor Thucydides concealed the ‘I’ voice in their histories. To the contrary poststructuralism. where the historian ‘tries to give the impression that the referent’ – the past – ‘is speaking for itself ’.. Writing and Difference includes the essay ‘Structure. especially evident. Derrida.27 Nevertheless. 146 . but a ‘particular form of fiction’. in the anthropology of Lévi-Strauss. Barthes asked. to see themselves as artfully creating stories with a problematic not natural relation to historical truth. Conventional historical narrative is.26 Barthes was asking historians to be self-conscious about what they were doing. this absence is just a rhetorical means designed to produce in the reader a sense of the immediate presence of the past.. would become the most famous poststructuralist. born in Algiers in 1930 (he died in 2004).Is history fiction? . And in drawing attention in books like Mythologies to the interest of analysing the grain and detail of everyday phenomena. V In 1967 Jacques Derrida’s Writing and Difference and Of Grammatology were published. how does it go about convincing its readers that it is the only way. truth is always involved in a play of differences that keep deferring its full presence. similar critique. structuralism presupposes that every structure or phenomenon has an identifiable centre that fully explains that structure or phenomenon. Derrida considered. a play of interpretation where truth is never finally arrived at.

the cuneiform..28 In Of Grammatology Derrida ambitiously evokes a history of the origins of language as a history of humanity. Derrida is critical of LéviStrauss for constructing traditional societies as if they are without writing and therefore without history. pictures. then. pharaonic Egypt. skin. Paradoxically. In being so enmeshed within Western thought even as they critique it. such anthropology of the face-to-face is naïve.. in choreography as in cinematography. In the . the musical as well as the pictorial and sculptural. What Derrida is opposed to in Lévi-Strauss is logocentrism. markings. it has to be supplemented by archaeology and history. and of Western thought.. writing comes before speech.T h e L i n g u i s t i c Tu r n .30 Writing. poststructuralism is not a revolutionary or destructive method: it does not desire to destroy Western thought as such. poststructuralists demand of themselves.29 Derrida argues that there is always writing in human societies. but Derrida makes it very clear in Of Grammatology that he is not proposing a theory of origins. vegetable.. stone. What. For Derrida. Derrida argues that in human history. writing is everything that gives rise to inscription. which he also refers to as phonocentrism: the view that language is conceived of as based on speaking subjects. Writing can be articulated in graphic substances such as wood. In this sense. Human history begins with such writing. a highly developed self-consciousness and self-reflexivity. in any kind of markings as in the pictographic and the ideographic... or symbolised in the book. in dance. writing cannot be controlled or finalised in a face-to-face situation. ink. the hieroglyphic. does he mean by writing and speech? Lévi-Strauss is again a target. is everything from the most ancient of times to the present. 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. 147 . images. writing designates the broadest of phenomena. metal. based on the phonetic alphabet. then. in traditional societies. language based on speech is a Western myth. Writing is aural as well as visual. from the distant past to the present. In exceeding or supplementing speech. whose immediate presence ensures a full presence of meaning.. Western philosophy. For Derrida. modern film. and by writing he does not mean the Western notion of writing. For Derrida.. wax. that exceeds speech and the immediacy of face-to-face speech situations. in the sense of a fundamental ground that can be identified and from which history can be seen as unfolding.

we have access to their lives only in Rousseau’s text. Images of Thérèse are substitutions and supplements. as he phrases it. that we cannot develop an interpretation ‘in any direction at all’. that there is. he continues. Necessarily. Rousseau’s own life.33 We also cannot collapse the text into a supposed ‘referent’ or ‘reality’ outside the text. biography or historical circumstances. for Rousseau’s mother. in this case. a play of meanings and values which can never yield complete certainty or final truths. there is only the play of differences. as ‘traces’. substitutions and supplements ‘to infinity’.32 So notorious has this emphasised phrase become that we might dwell for a moment on the passage of argument in which it occurs. of Rousseau’s actual mother or his intentions. il n’y a pas de hors-texte]’. What we can do instead is explore the traces.. a swirling play of differences which surges into writing. at the beginnings of human society is what Derrida refers to as ‘arche-writing’. Rousseau’s Confessions. he is discussing how The Confessions reveals and explores the ways Thérèse is a replacement. Derrida is doing what he always does. traces that act as substitutions and supplements (as Thérèse became). in their textual richness. Derrida also writes. He makes a preliminary point first. In particular. 148 . however. substitute. Derrida takes the opportunity to make some general observations on method and the protocols of reading and interpretation. which create a multiplicity of meanings that cannot be reduced to what might be known outside The Confessions.. whether such writing be graphic or non-graphic.. psychology. are certainly of ‘prime interest’.Is history fiction? . systems. But. a reading of a text.. In Derrida’s distinctive idiom. In proceeding thus.. as if we could ‘say almost anything’: Derrida is here explicitly opposed to the view that deconstruction means anything goes. supplement. and the lives of his mother or Thérèse.31 In Of Grammatology. no original trace that we can discover. There is. exceedingly controversially.. ever disputed and involved with power and violence. In history from its beginning. We also have to recognise that for Rousseau the memory of his mother exists only as ‘traces’ of her real existence. texts. Derrida in terms of method was drawing on a great deal of twentieth-century literary criticism. creation story of Of Grammatology. no outside-text:‘There is nothing outside the text [there is no outside-text. of interpretations and reinterpretations. to know his real mother now becomes impossible..34 . such traces form together to constitute chains of signification..

first of all.. we have.. trying to add a new thread. that is. a reading is like a cutting of the web.T h e L i n g u i s t i c Tu r n . it is not careless or haphazard. VI What does Derrida mean by a text? Perhaps the clearest short statement is at the beginning of ‘Plato’s Pharmacy’. the critic cannot ‘add any old thing’. to reject the long tradition dating from later antiquity that the Phaedrus was a badly composed dialogue and a product of the young Plato. What is the specific provenance of the text. but it is an illusion to think that all the threads that compose it can be surveyed and mastered. the critic has to enter into the game.36 Derrida points out that in the Phaedrus. In the opening two pages.The critic has to risk getting some fingers caught. 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. the establishing of the protocols of reading..35 Such a scrupulous reading demands. ‘The Inferiority of the Written to the Spoken Word’). in any new interpretation. We now recognise that the Phaedrus is a text of suppleness and irony from beginning to end.A text. always hides itself from the first comer. the game. because the critic is always.. In an almost tactile way. as a historical event? In the case of the Phaedrus. the first glance. 149 . Derrida says. it is like a web.. Socrates compares the written texts that Phaedrus has brought along to a drug (pharmakon). has it own kind of agency. part of Dissemination (1972) – a long contemplation of Plato’s Phaedrus.. proceeds with rigour. 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. as Derrida then immediately goes on to say by way of introducing the next section analysing the Phaedrus.. it is also serious: in this sense.A text. the relationship of text and interpreter. 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.Yet while reading is a game (the reading of a past text becomes the writing of a new text in the present). and it will be a . The text has a woven texture. Derrida playfully describes a text in terms of a constellation of metaphors. he says. it is not passively there as an inert object to be embroidered on by the critic. the ‘logic of play’..

A philo- . In Derrida’s view.. with its influential essay ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’. to the contrary. by writing. the notion of writing as like a drug introduces into the body of philosophic discourse an inexhaustible ‘ambivalence’. The purity of concepts ensures the superiority of Western thinking and reason over all other traditions. For Derrida..What we should do in our reading. political science. that concepts are pure. Socrates. and that he himself uses a rhetoric of truth to insist on the rightness of his own reading. and universal. Consequently. in philosophy. such purity of concepts is held to be the basis of Western knowledge’s self-image as objective. the pharmakon.’ Derrida insists on the ‘truth’ of the thread he will follow in the text. history. In these terms. key part of Derrida’s deconstructive reading to unfold the double meaning of pharmakon. Socrates lies down next to the beautiful Ilissus River. Instead of standing around talking in Athens. rather:‘In truth.... a scene interwoven with myths and stories. for Socrates is normally very reluctant to leave the city where he practises his usual conversational approach to philosophy. Derrida urges. it is rigorously called for from one end of the Phaedrus to the other. 150 . is ‘reflect upon the fact’ that the myths refer to writing.37 It is important to stress that Derrida is in search of the historical truth of Platonic thought in this particular text. Derrida continues.. and so forth – the human and social sciences – are suffused with rhetorical elements like metaphor. will now define and explain philosophic problems through evocations of stories and myths... Derrida says that the trial of writing which composes the last section of the Phaedrus is not extraneous to the text. Derrida notes.38 VII In 1972 Derrida also published Margins of Philosophy. which presented a powerful challenge to what Derrida saw as a guiding assumption of Western thought.39 Derrida questioned the opposition of metaphor and concept. that we recognise that not only literature but also works of scholarship. 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. scientific.Is history fiction? . that as a drug it can act as both remedy (medicine) or poison. 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.

investing them with layers of meaning.. and that insisted that the language of history always only be denotative.. Hexter’s approach to the language of history in his 1968 essay ‘The Rhetoric of History’.T h e L i n g u i s t i c Tu r n . they are not peripheral to historical understanding. suggesting layers of meanings where there is no original meaning that controls the meanings that follow. in his poststructuralist focus on language. sophical text will be composed of an argument entwined with rhetorical features and moves. are very similar. In opposition. Like Hexter valuing connotation. 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. They had similar objects of dislike. but are themselves metaphors.. they help constitute it. 151 . moulding and shaping them. Derrida does not wish to collapse concepts into metaphors. As we have just seen. Hexter disliked analytic philosophy that prescribed rigid laws for history as if it were a natural science. to J. or have traces or histories of metaphors embedded within them. but such stories are also explanations. Rather he calls for a new articulation where we recognise that concepts are not abstract notions somehow beyond or superior to metaphors.. as in a palimpsest. Derrida opposed what he saw as the prevailing structuralism of the 1960s.The historian tells stories. that may be imprecise and ambiguous because they possess a rich aura of connotation.. from buildings and tools to pictures and pots. studying what people have written in the past and about the past. and with metaphors either that are openly present in the text. perhaps surprisingly similar.. an approach that he considered determinist and reductive. The historian explores the past textually.. Historical writing is close to the fictive arts. He uses the metaphor of a palimpsest to describe the text of philosophy as a general intellectual activity.H. and no final meaning toward which interpretation must proceed. Derrida felt metaphors help shape . or that work through concepts.. Hexter suggested that historical writing had its own distinctive rhetoric as well as the denotative – words and phrases that are evocative. including the language of philosophy and scholarship.40 VIII We contend that many of the main emphases of Derrida. and often involves depicting past historical personalities as characters. which help shape the meanings of those concepts.

Although historians used (and use) metaphor all the time. Historians assumed that metaphor was a useful tool. their understanding of its purpose and effects has generally been very different from that of the literary critic or literary-aware historian or philosopher. rendering it accessible and concrete. 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. Each in his own way wrote in a playful spirit. and unambiguous. the necessity of certain protocols. that it could be used to make complex arguments clear.. Derrida argued that stories.. In literary criticism. multiple. Derrida saw the historical enterprise as studying the textual remnants and traces that survive from the past. a metaphor is always involved in a chain or history of metaphors.. they think of all the other places and texts (poems. would secure the point the historian was trying to make. Like Hexter. or . and as we shall observe of Richard Evans’ images of painters and mountains in chapter 10). 152 .. and Derrida was discussing the implications of how metaphoric scholarly language in general is. Like Hexter. say a mountain (as we saw in relation to Carr’s invocation of mountains in chapter 6. Derrida insisted on the rigorous character of scholarly enquiry. precise. paintings) where mountains are riddled with teasingly diverse. to draw attention to his own use of language. and disturbing any grounds of certainty. potentially unhingeing any clear statement. An image of one mountain leads to images of other mountains.. 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.. perhaps contradictory meanings. Like Hexter. the hope was. IX Nevertheless. Metaphor... concepts and therefore understanding. it was never going to be easy to gain assent to what they were urging.When critics see a metaphor in a text. novels. including myths. Metaphor would add interest to what might otherwise be thought to be rather dull analysis. Like Hexter. were ways of explaining the world.Is history fiction? . Derrida relished the richness of ambiguity that rhetoric and stories enable in scholarly writing.

T h e L i n g u i s t i c Tu r n . 153 .. or as carnival image of plenty. history. or as otherworldly retreat) in an unstoppable series of images.. there occurred a striking challenge to the twentieth-century separation in Western thought of history and philosophy from literary criticism.. and poststructuralism. 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.. The kind of conversations they created between rhetoric. or as breast. In the writings of Hexter and Derrida.. to related images (mountain as castle of Gothic fear. postmodernism.. ...

(Mary Beard. was male control of universities. While male historians were developing the framework of the new discipline and making great advances in writing polit- . 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... and between professional and amateur history. but because the drawing of boundaries between history and fiction. had a deeply gendered character. 1949)2 You may have noticed. Most important of all.CHAPTER 8 The Feminist Challenge … Herodotus. The Second Sex. deliberately included women in history. and for an assumed male audience. (Simone de Beauvoir. This is not a result of our blindness to historical writings by women. Woman as Force in History. with some irritation perhaps. especially in the formative nineteenth century and early twentieth century.. about men’s historical practice. whom historians of the modern age have called ‘the father of history’. that the debates we have been tracing so far have been conducted almost entirely by men. 154 ..

In the 1990s there emerged a new field of scholarship exploring this phenomenon. while the private library or study was nearly always a male preserve. archival research. and few professional academic histories had been written by women (the exceptions were.. first as students and later in small numbers as teachers. the objectivity of the historian..Their progress was uneven. outside the academy there were the women historians. though through the nineteenth century and for the first two-thirds of the twentieth it was quite clearly the province mainly of men. the teaching of historical method from one generation to the next. there was much to condemn. It is not surprising. only to slip back to a tiny minority in the 1950s and 1960s. however. In the late 1960s. and diplomatic history. was often written self-consciously as a national and quite often nationalist project..When the feminists of the women’s movement of the 1970s began to critique existing historical scholarship for its male-centred assumptions. there had long been a tradition of women writing history outside the academy. producing . saw itself as outside gender. From the 1870s. 155 . women had still not become university historians in significant numbers. Bonnie Smith observed that history in the academy with its interest in scientific method. military. however. they made some gains in the 1920s and 1930s.. or non-gender-specific. that male historians reflecting on the nature of history and the relationship between the historian and the past consistently figured the historian as male. Historical writing was not so much all male as profoundly gendered. I Yet.. women slowly began to enter the universities. to be very important. and exclusions.3 Such history. then. Smith argues. Many of them wrote for the marketplace.. ical.The Feminist Challenge . as we noted in our discussion in chapter 3 of Sir Walter Scott’s literary and historical debts and inheritances. as we shall see).. practices. the vast majority of whom were without institutional affiliation. In The Gender of History: Men. women were excluded from higher education and even often from public libraries.. 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. On the other hand. Women and Historical Practice (1998). contrasted with the archive and the past as female.

of social life.. writing often from a sense of vulnerability and marginalisation and with an ambiguous sense of self. family history. had not a single woman listed. 1784–1833. small though it was. and not least during and since the Renaissance. historical fiction.. unusual at the time. as Smith puts it.. The American Historical Association program in 1919. despite her master’s degree. what we’ve been broadly characterising as different strands descending from Thucydides and Herodotus. In so doing they created and maintained a . though still very often focussing on social and cultural and labour history.Their presence in academic institutions.. for example. continuously wrote biography. In the 1920s. and collected folklore and antiquarian material. which suggested that the range and width of Herodotean historical writing was kept alive and continuously transformed in women’s historical writings since antiquity. was never of course complete. Smith’s book was followed by Mary Spongberg’s Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (2002). with novels like Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward.Women. some women began to study and write in the mode of professional history. 156 . most notably Sir Walter Scott..The institutions of the profession remained overwhelmingly male. the latter of which. and of high and low culture’. Some men wrote historical fiction. author of The Family Economy of the Working Classes in the Cotton Industry. helped Ranke define what he thought history was most definitely not. especially with American women gradually gaining their higher degrees and learning the skills of archival research. which was completed as a master’s thesis at the University of Manchester in 1921 and published in the 1960s after her death.And in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. and is still much used and respected today.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.. historical novels..5 Yet the flow of women into the academy continued unevenly through the twentieth century. local histories. 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. she was employed not as a lecturer but as the departmental secretary.Is history fiction? . and family histories. slowly challenged the conventional division between the male professional and the woman amateur.. The transition from student to academic for most of these women was far from easy. as we have seen. Smith has many stories like this. they wrote ‘the history of women. travellers’ tales. political satire. Smith reminds her readers of Frances Collier.

and therefore where we look for earlier histories. tracing the impact of both first and second wave feminism on women’s historical writing. anecdotal history.1364–1431).. the keeping of journals and letters not initially destined for publication and often in European-colonial settings. which saw capitalism as detrimental for women.. on the . Like Smith.. as well as important figures like Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97). separate feminine historical tradition.. ‘secret histories’. exploring and hybridising genres and developing them for their own purposes. and the most famous of all women historians.. biographies of ‘holy women’. however. though these were a small part of the total of published work.The Feminist Challenge . which on the whole did not. Madeleine de Scudéry (1607–1701). ‘particular history’. 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.. Clark’s Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century (1919).. personal memoirs. local history. scandalous history. Spongberg raises the question of what counts as history – how we define it. folklore. together provided some understanding of that important relationship for modern feminism between paid work and women’s labour within the family. and famous salonnières like Germaine de Staël (1766–1817). Catherine Sawbridge Macaulay (1731–91). both of whom studied economic history at the London School of Economics. genealogy. especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: in spiritual autobiographies.9 One of the most important historiographical reflections. confessional history. 157 . Both historians found that the broader the definition of history the more women historians could be found. collecting (of local traditions. mixing of history and romance.. dialects). a stress on interiority and self-reflexivity. history of their male kin.8 II Women throughout the English-speaking world did write important professional academic histories before 1970. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762). and Pinchbeck’s Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution (1930).7 She also takes the story up to recent times. author of Corinne.6 Spongberg mentions the names of female historians like Christine de Pisan (c. or Italy (1807).

women’s history.. and have retold history as a story of their long Martyrdom. social reform. On Understanding Women (1931). and pacifist objectives.. Feminists have been prone to prize and assume the traditions of those with whom they had waged such a long. in which she wrote: In their quest for rights women have naturally placed emphasis on their wrongs. Mary wrote a number of histories with her husband. now at Columbia University (which she did not complete). The book was the culmination of a life thinking about history. Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst. Mary became involved in feminist and social reform campaigns. working for the Women’s Trade Union League. their force. and women’s rights and responsibilities.. 158 .. Its Theory and Practice (1923) was one of the items in the bibliography of her sole-authored book. and later joining the more militant Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage.Is history fiction? . throughout history.12 . and shared his interest in Croce and the emphasis on present perspectives and interpretations in making sense of historical ‘facts’. however.. The Woman Voter. and its implications for the discipline generally. published when Beard was 70. rather than their achievements and possessions. becoming editor of the American Woman Suffrage Association’s journal. in 1910–11. From the 1920s to the 1940s.. where she had encountered suffragist and socialist movements. Croce’s History. and also in place of the usual eliding of women from history. with Mary Beard’s Woman as Force in History: A Study of Traditions and Realities (1946).11 With her husband historian Charles Beard. a proposition which ‘has exercised an almost tyrannical power over thinking about the relations of men and women. She gradually distanced herself from organised feminism. who lived across the road from them in Manchester. This remarkable text. critical of its emphasis on women’s subjection and its demand for equality. questioned the proposition that women were members of a subject sex throughout history. and in places bitter conflict. and especially critical of its refusal to accept that women must share the blame for war. she advocated an approach to the historical enterprise that took full account of women’s activity. came not from England but from the United States..10 In place of the thesis of subjection.. On her return with Charles in 1902 to the United States to continue their graduate studies. how it might be written. history of women. and become close friends with Emmeline. It had also been a life of activism around feminist. for more than a hundred years’. Mary had in her twenties spent two years in England.

13 Here Beard emphasised the exclusion of women from most histories. especially those involved in the new ‘social history’. she wrote. The absence of women from most histories is partly a result. afforded sanction for the ‘feminist manifesto that woman had been in fact subject to man throughout the long history of AngloAmerican law – and. however. for the common law rights of a husband were in practice severely circumscribed. This prefigured the argument of Woman as Force in History. at one stage she wanted to call it Woman as Force and Agency in History. Beard argues.. also . finished in June 1945 and published in 1946. many of them. Some male historians. Blackstone’s summaries of English common law are not the descriptions they are often taken to be.The Feminist Challenge . spoke of women’s historic servitude. and ‘man’ meaning specifically male. One male historian after another is condemned for using the term ‘man’ with imprecision. Beard felt. but rather a very particular representation of it.. unfortunately. and the limited vision of most historians:‘being men as a rule. be regarded as evidence of women’s actual social position. ‘When did this idea originate?’ she asks. who wrote in 1924: ‘If the silence of the historians is taken to mean anything. ‘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). feminists. which folds the legal existence of a woman into that of her husband’s. in the Seneca Falls statement of 1848. Blackstone. the most popular image was of women as subject to men.. were conscious of the problem..15 The idea that women were entirely subject to men.. Blackstone’s formulations should not.. of all law’. it would appear that one-half of our population have been negligible factors in our country’s history’. she warns.14 In so far as women were thought to have a history. ‘in such a manner as to leave the existence of women uncertain’.. Beard argues.The leaders of the ‘woman movement’ in the United States. 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. indeed. Beard quotes Arthur Meier Schlesinger. both male and female. was developed and further popularised by a series of authors. of the confusion in historical writing between ‘man’ meaning humanity. 159 . they tend to confine their search for the truth to their own sex in history’. and women did in fact enjoy certain rights under equity law..

. Of Mrs Carrie Chapman Catt’s speech in New York City in 1940. women were not outside power and politics:‘the history of the State and Society. taking Blackstone’s views as an accurate historical description.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 explores women’s active force in history – in the Middle Ages. though they.. The Subjection of Women became.Is history fiction? . their book begins. Private Property and the State (1884). too.. the authority for feminists everywhere. as victims. Much later in the book. one has to take the bad with the good: ‘the force of woman was a powerful factor in all the infamies. liberties. ‘the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes [is] the legal subjection of one sex to the other’.17 In the last few chapters of the book. the most notable example being Christine de Pisan in fourteenth-century France. Beard suggests. tyrannies. So. For women to be seen truly as actors in history. she points out. clan. Beard argues.. added a distinctive twist: women had not been subject in primitive societies. then and later. on some scale … There was not a type of war in which women did not participate’. in ‘religious and secular festivities. especially August Bebel in Woman and Socialism (1879) and Friedrich Engels in The Origins of the Family. for understanding women’s position in history.. was the history of the family... for example. and tribe and of struggles among them for political and . Furthermore. did John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor in The Subjection of Women (1869). Beard’s refusal to see women as historically subjected. In late eighteenth-century France. until the very edge of our living time. was fierce. domestic industries. supported the thesis of the subjection of women. the philosophes of the Enlightenment held sway in meetings presided over by women. a fascination with classical learning developed. sports. in agriculture. their subjection was tied to the development of private property and the beginning of capitalism. and would end with its overthrow. Beard scornfully commented she was ‘thus in eight words clearing women of all war guilt’. and riots’. 160 . games.’ women high and low received an education. Beard adds that women were active in conflicts ‘in every way that men were. Marxists also. trade. and aspirations’ that constituted humanity’s self-expression. activities. In discussion of ‘religious and moral questions. in which she declared (according to Beard) that ‘men have made all the wars in history’.. devoted to discussion of the perplexing issues which were being defined on the eve of the Revolution.

De Beauvoir insisted on the very notion of women’s subjection to men that Beard had questioned. in culture. political. Europe. but. it soon became simply ‘feminism’ or ‘the women’s movement’...19 III Only three years later. but rather as deeply embedded in the fabric of Western thought itself. not so much as a matter of legal... a work of philosophy rather than history. in 1949. compared with the ages in which royal and aristocratic women exercised power in affairs of State and Society’. it was ‘relatively short’. ‘oppressed’ by men.The Feminist Challenge . women’s subjection occurred in thought. 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. 161 .. Men’s monopoly of politics under the system of manhood suffrage. that the state passed to the control of parliaments ‘composed of men. and women as the Other. 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. which was to inform most profoundly the development of women’s history in the second half of the twentieth century. in historical perspective. when the power of royal and aristocratic families was disrupted.18 Beard concludes her challenge here to the idea of women’s powerlessness and subjection on a sarcastic note: Nevertheless man. nor ordained by biological difference. or in the new feminism’s terminology. economic ascendancy’.. This oppression was not inevitable. she writes. or economic relations. This new feminism had as its basic proposition that women everywhere and throughout history had been subjected. It was not to be Beard’s book but de Beauvoir’s.. in which men (and women) understood men as human. and throughout the English-speaking world. It was only with the commercial and political upheavals of the eighteenth century. Initially entitled Women’s Liberation. and elected by men’. was ‘brief. Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex appeared (in English in 1953).The nineteenth and early twentieth century was indeed a period of women’s loss of political power and influence. the ‘tyrant’ and ‘usurper’ of 1848. For de Beauvoir. with its cry of ‘votes for men’. One had ..

using the works of Flexner... and psychological power of patriarchy as an historically created social system.Is history fiction? . feminism raised the question. She evoked a ‘sexual revolution’ from 1830 to 1930. show the mutability of these particular arrangements and the lack of necessity for the current social inequalities based on sex. the year after Mary Beard’s death. Kraditor had also been a Communist from 1947 to 1958.. from anthropology to sociology to philosophy.. which first appeared in 1959. and literary dimensions. and gender. The key American texts of the new movement – Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics (1970) and Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex (1970). the biological foundation of male–female differences. the social and cultural construction of those differences. if sexual inequality is not necessary to social life. 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. is not inevitable. In denying the inevitability of sexual subjection. they could. but also emphasised the importance of feminism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And history. to distinguish between sex. Kraditor. Especially important was Eleanor Flexner’s Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States.. and others. and before them Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) – were clearly and openly indebted to de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. generating huge national and international recognition..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.. Flexner was a writer active in feminist and radical politics.‘why. 162 . though her work covered a much shorter period and focussed specifically on women suffragists’ ideas.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. does it in fact exist?’ Feminists sought answers in a wide range of disciplines.22 Century of Struggle took a broad approach. After describing . If feminists could show how the relationships between men and women developed over time in particular circumstances in particular ways. and had a similar approach to Flexner’s.. indeed a member of the Communist Party from 1936 to 1956. political. It stressed the enormous economic. rhetorical. with political.24 Millett’s Sexual Politics was so successful that it led to a Time magazine cover story in August 1970. they hoped.

They wanted to shake history by the shoulders till it gave them answers to the question of why women were still second-class citizens.The Feminist Challenge . and radical politics in the 1960s. borrowed the idea of the dialectic.. like Mary Beard. In Britain. Feminist historians wanted to challenge the very framework of historical understanding itself. the gains made in the early twentieth century. the ideal of domesticity in the 1950s. the new feminism described itself as ‘second wave’.. and deeply affected by it. there was a flood of programmatic articles advocating a new attention to women’s history. against which Mary Beard had argued so vehemently. the emphasis on women’s former activism and the subsequent backlash led to the notion that feminism came in waves. and/or opposition to the American war in Vietnam.25 In both texts.Women had lost their earlier political consciousness. 163 . used by Marxists to explain the dynamics of the class struggle in history. civil rights. involved in socialist. women historians had a new interest in women’s social position and asked what history might do to illuminate it. and Aileen Kraditor before them. the idea of women’s subjection throughout history. Australia. and to develop new methods to answer them. IV Women historians were both an important part of the women’s movement of the 1970s and after. were also political activists. . was thoroughly restored and developed. with lower pay.. used Flexner’s race and class-conscious history to describe the earlier American women’s rights movement. one that simply did not add women to existing political and military histories but sought to ask new questions. and now. She. published two months after Sexual Politics. and the rest of the Anglophone world.26 In both texts. too... as the 1960s turned into the 1970s. subject to violence. Now. and an all too apparent cultural devaluation. and applied it instead to sex. the American feminists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century were the first wave. Many of them. 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. diverted by an obsession with glamour in the 1920s. other people’s causes in the 1930s. the United States. war in the 1940s.... Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex. Eleanor Flexner. and posited a backlash in the decades since American women gained the vote.

that one noticed each woman in the room’. The Woman in American History (1971) and Black Women in White America: A Documentary History (1972). and other histories. arrived in the United States in 1938.. and became a writer of novels and plays. and her book. During the 1940s and 1950s.. Perhaps the leading figure was Gerda Lerner.29 While enrolled as a graduate student at Columbia University. and the debates it generated about the nature of history itself. born in Vienna in 1920.. there were so few women and so very few female graduate students.. Indeed the national framework for women’s history. she later recalled. and published two important works of women’s history. who in 1963 completed her PhD at Columbia just as . British. was in the field of black women’s history in the south. she. and within a few years versions appeared for American. 164 . was active in the Communist Party. The Grimké Sisters of South Carolina: Rebels against Slavery. Most of these programmatic essays were very much within the framework of national history. completed in 1966. have been remarkably persistent..27 Within the US debates.30 Lerner’s PhD thesis.28 Having left the Communist Party in 1956. who.32 While at Sarah Lawrence. staying there until 1980. too. which was. These were remarkably similar in their overall argument. yet there were as well distinct national inflections. eight years Lerner’s junior.Is history fiction? ..31 She taught at Long Island University from 1965 until 1968. she attended in 1963 a convention of the Organisation of American Historians (OAH). Canadian. was published in 1967.. fleeing the Nazi regime. 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. ‘overwhelmingly male. the new Women’s Liberation Movement was influential.33 Another leading figure in women’s history was Joan Kelly-Gadol. Australian. she began her undergraduate studies two years later. when she joined Sarah Lawrence College. 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. studying for her bachelor’s degree at the New School for Social Research (in which Charles Beard had been prominent).

This conversation opened up a new world: That turned out to be the most exciting intellectual adventure I can recall. if not of a new order. She and her husband had their passports seized in the 1950s for criticism of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. She was also a social activist. 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. she thought. 165 .37 She criticised existing scholarship on American women’s history for being ‘topically narrow. was Mary Beard.When her book. Davis. Lerner was starting hers... was involved in political protests. she joined Lerner at Sarah Lawrence College. As Kelly tells it.The Feminist Challenge . her interests including active participation in the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war movement. at least of a new direction.34 In 1971. No fresh piece of information was added to anything I knew.. but in the 1960s their passports were returned and both gained positions at the University of Toronto. appeared in 1969. But I knew now that the entire picture I had held of the Renaissance was partial. I did not stumble upon a new archive. I had not read a new book. as she puts it. Though a strong feminist. ‘caught up in the excitement of the women’s movement’. By the middle 1960s. also born in 1928. followed by restoration.. Leon Battista Alberti. too. 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. then undertaking graduate training in French history first at Harvard and then at the University of Michigan. distorted.38 . Lerner was not entirely in sympathy with the Women’s Liberation Movement. educated at Smith College. she was already.... she in the Department of History. limited.36 The connections between women’s history and social activism were indeed strong..The one exception. Lerner spent many hours attempting to persuade Kelly to participate in developing courses on women’s history. and generally devoid of interpretation’. she was a respected Renaissance historian teaching at the City University of New York. about a fifteenth-century painter who helped develop the concept of perspective. Suddenly the entire world of learning was open to me … The change I went through was kaleidoscopic. The earliest of the manifesto essays was Gerda Lerner’s ‘New Approaches to the Study of Women in American History’ (1969). predominantly descriptive.

She warned against various current approaches to women’s history emerging in the context of the new feminism: seeing women as a unified group. nearly half the history department faculty were women. who completed her history PhD at Columbia in 1970. the same year another Columbia graduate.40 She wrote a review of Millett’s Sexual Politics. Kate Millett. That year. 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. at which in 1971. in her autobiographical Finding Fran (1998).. Her essay ended with a ringing call for ‘a painstaking search of known sources for unknown meanings’. 166 . V Very similar discussions were occurring in Britain at the same time. One of the younger historians enthused by the new feminism was Lois Banner. using inappropriate analogies with ‘other distinctive groups’. describing it as superb polemic but commenting that ‘as history..... both in theory and in practice. entitled ‘On Writing Women’s History’ (1971).. She recommended breaking down ‘women’s history’ into more specific categories. such as slaves or ethnic minorities or the economically deprived.Is history fiction? . had her doctoral thesis (in English literature) published as the ground-breaking Sexual Politics.There the links between feminist activism and the women historians were especially . unusually.. Reflecting on her response to the new feminism much later.39 Banner taught history at Douglass College. New Jersey.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. presupposing that women’s exclusion from formal political rights meant they had no power at all. and developing new woman-specific ways of measuring women’s achievements. it is flawed’. and pondered the implications of the new feminism for historical practice. and assuming that ideas about women’s place at any one time accurately reflected their actual status. Banner taught women’s history for the first time..

.43 There she encountered many American exchange students. the Luddite cropper. Born in 1940. from the enormous condescension of posterity’. One was Barbara Winslow.. including Ruskin College at Oxford. E. thinking about Marxism and the ‘woman question’. he on a Rhodes scholarship. it became by February 1970 a very large conference establishing at a national level the British Women’s Liberation Movement itself. with most of the young women historians also feminist activists. very often socialist feminist activists. Winslow was especially taken with Thompson’s declaration of intent in the famous preface: ‘I am seeking to rescue the poor stockinger. socialist. A close friend was Juliet Mitchell. announcing that virtually nothing was known of women’s history. Both Davin and Winslow remember Thompson’s attitude to the new history favourably. Anna grew up in Oxford. some were founders of the journal New Left Review. .. involved. Raphael Samuel. and Perry Anderson.. who was already. and absorbed the passionate opposition of some of them to the American war in Vietnam. the “obsolete” hand-loom weaver. and who was also inspired by Thompson’s book. combining labour and social history. and now feminist historians in Britain were very often concentrated in adult education colleges... both seeking a literary bohemian life in Europe. Her parents had emigrated from New Zealand to Oxford in the 1930s.. strong. one of the organisers of that first women’s history conference at Ruskin.The Feminist Challenge . married young and had three children. 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. who had been active in Women’s Liberation in Seattle. publishing her revolutionary article ‘Women: The Longest Revolution’ in New Left Review in 1966. in the mid-1960s. she mixed in left-wing circles that included Stuart Hall.P. which had changed its name from Ruskin Hall in 1913 and in 1967 had developed the radical History Workshop movement. 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. Winslow later wrote: ‘It changed the way I looked at history’. activist historical and theoretical approach’. was made by British historian. where Thompson was teaching. 167 . she loved its ‘passionate.44 Like many others. the “utopian” artisan and even the deluded followers of Joanna Southcott..The labour. Anna Davin. social.42 A particularly stirring call to arms.

.47 One of the young historians teaching in adult education was Sheila Rowbotham.48 She. 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’.. ‘he was not hostile.. Moving to London. and later wrote that it ‘restored individuals making choices in their workplaces and communities. but ‘it is still more important to discover first what was the ordinary condition of women’. For Davin. under the supervision of Eric Hobsbawm whom she found formal. publishing in it an 168 . she began work on her doctoral dissertation on the lives of the late nineteenth-century London working class.46 ‘We now’. ‘in adult education.. argued with them and mentored them’. aloof. too. to discover the history which is relevant to us now’. It was important to look at the history of women’s struggles. too. 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. ‘have to reject what has passed for history. she wrote in an article entitled ‘Women and History’ (1972)..Is history fiction? . listened to them. had been very much influenced by Dorothy and Edward Thompson. and the new feminist history.. or university extension. Davin was deeply involved in the History Workshop movement. to redefine the word. She. had mixed in New Left circles while studying for her history degree at St Hilda’s.49 She worked on the editorial board of a socialist newspaper. whom she knew well. Instead she found intellectual support and encouragement from historians working outside the universities.. ‘While he was not politically sympathetic to the women’s liberation movement’.. he called upon women in seminars. and the hard work undertaken in the home by the working-class married woman. She read some of The Making of the English Working Class in manuscript.Winslow wrote. Oxford. becoming aware of themselves in new ways through ideas and action’. Since oppressive ideology is justified by reference to a false past. Black Dwarf. . as suffragettes for instance.45 By 1970. She emphasised the high levels of women’s employment in working-class communities. and then undertook research for a doctoral thesis on the adult education movement. in the women’s movement and in the community’. and uninterested in women’s history. in trade unions and political groups. Unlike other graduate professors.

programmatic articles appeared during this time in other countries. They were in 1970 mainly graduate students.. her Women.. she explored the history of women revolutionaries. 169 . She had been involved in the Australian civil rights movement. 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’.. Kay Saunders. though influenced by the same women’s movement activism. ‘Women’s liberation brings to all of us a strength and audacity we have never before known. In 1972. Davin. Jill Matthews.. must be questioned’. Rowbotham noted women’s invisibility in history. appeared. ‘Women’s Liberation and the New Politics’ (1969). ‘the concepts usually operating in historiography. having participated in the 1965 ‘Freedom Ride’ protesting against racial discrimination against Aboriginal people in country towns. Sue Bellamy. 53 .. and reflected. and also by her own socialist feminist politics. Carmel Shute. Beverley Kingston. It was important to critique and explain history’s emphasis on ‘public life and politics’. which included some other doctoral history students. She was also involved in the first Women’s Liberation group in Sydney. Jill Roe. and Mary Murnane. defining what is important. These and the other Australian feminist historians emerging at this time – Anne Summers. a history of British women’s political struggles. Patricia Grimshaw. Resistance and Revolution. Unaware of Lerner’s article and with those by Kelly. though Kingston and Roe were already junior lecturers.. especially opposition to Australia’s involvement in the American war in Vietnam. Susan Magarey – came from an environment that exhibited many of the features of the American and British scenes. such as Lyndall Ryan.The Feminist Challenge . and by Marxist ideas through a lively labour history movement. and was in 1970 half-way through her doctoral thesis on race relations in colonial New South Wales. influential article. and others yet to appear. Most had been involved in or at least influenced by radical politics.50 Influenced by reading Edith Thomas’ The Women Incendiaries (1966) about French women’s role in the Paris Commune of 1870–71...51 In the introduction. Ann Curthoys published a rather similar essay entitled ‘Women’s Liberation and Historiography’ in the Australian neo-Marxist journal Arena in April 1970.’52 Largely independently. Marilyn Lake.

.. 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.‘Such inquiry’.Is history fiction? . Many were beginning to feel that the new scholarship tended to portray women as victims. she suggested.54 By 1975 the stream of articles about women’s history and how it might be written had become a flood. or more precisely to a ‘male-defined conceptual framework’. at the annual meeting of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians (an organisation founded in 1929 by women teachers of history. The . or been excluded from... though still under the auspices of the Berkshire Conference. including Mary Beard..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. and the Berkshire Conference on Women’s History has been held regularly ever since. in 1971.. in colleges in the eastern United States in response to their feeling of exclusion from conferences organised by male historians).. they reacted to male pressures or the restraints of patriarchal society’. Banner recalls that they expected about ten papers to be delivered to an audience of 75 or so.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). Lois Banner describes how. the older women historians were not interested in women’s history. Lerner and others now wanted to look not at what women had suffered. but what they had actually done. so popular was the new women’s history already that 500 people heard 75 papers. 170 . With her friend Mary Hartmann. Echoing Mary Beard forty years earlier. 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. Too great a focus on oppression returns the historian to the study of the actions of men. Here was an essay that focussed on female experience..‘fails to elicit the positive and essential way in which women have functioned in history’. VI The movement for women’s history gathered pace throughout the Englishspeaking world and beyond. Banner organised at Douglass College in 1973 a separate meeting on women’s history.

. These two essays raised some new issues for feminist historians.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’. An expert in sixteenth-century French social history. ‘the sexual order’.. or minority group. In the early years of the new women’s history. ‘sex role differentiation’.. quantitative history more generally. of gender groups in the historical past’. and a greater focus on the history of sexual and erotic activity. From 1975 Gayle Rubin’s term ‘sex/gender system’ became popular within feminist scholarship. It was important. Davis argued that understanding of women’s history could be enhanced by new developments in demography. and ‘the roles and positions women hold in society by comparison with those of men’. as a form of women’s culture that sustained itself without the help of men. she was by the early 1970s developing insights into the carnivals and festivals of early modern Europe. After criticising attempts to categorise women as a class. Women’s history raised the issue of periodisation.. and ‘patriarchy’. caste.. historians usually spoke not of ‘gender’ but rather of ‘women’s oppression’. a ‘patriarchal’ social order. perhaps.. by demographic changes or changes in sexual practice. it is notable that these early essays used it very slightly indeed.57 Considering how foundational the concept of gender became for women’s history and many women historians. essay embodied the popular notion of ‘separate spheres’ but recreated it as something more positive.The Feminist Challenge . published that same year. clever. to ‘understand the significance of the sexes.‘male domination’. but feminist historians took some time truly to adopt gender as a category of historical analysis. . using anthropology and Mikhail Bakhtin as her guide to explore festive practices of male–female inversion and images of a ‘world upside-down’.. Full attention to women might mean entirely new divisions in European history.60 She wrote not of gender but of the ‘social relation of the sexes’. 171 . 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. she uses a variety of expressions: ‘we are a sex’. marked. ‘categorization by gender’.61 Davis brought something important to the developing world of women’s history.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). In pictorial representation or at festival time she appeared as full of life and energy.. she felt.

based on major turning points affecting human reproduction. a further development of the History Workshop movement that had started at Ruskin. witty.. meanwhile. and riots of the Middle Ages.. 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. resourceful. and men dressed as unruly women. 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. fighting for equality if not dominance.Is history fiction? .64 She opposed. but they could also prompt new ways of thinking and acting.. Images of the unruly or disorderly woman could indeed function to keep women in their place (she might do what the men should do). most attention was focussed on the study of the relationship between women’s work and the family. licentious. Women. which sometimes tipped over into rebellion. In the new History Workshop Journal (1976). she wrote in the former essay. VII In Britain. Rather. however. to strengthen and support the social order. powerful. Davis’ suggestion that women’s history might require entirely new periodisation. on the basis that this would detach the history of reproduction from changes in the general social order.. lusty.. 172 .63 Indeed..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. and could sanction political disobedience and riot for both men and women.‘what emerges is a fairly regular pattern of relative loss of status for women precisely in those periods of so-called progressive change’. exercised the carnival right of criticism and mockery. She pointed out that the meaning of a given historical period for women might be quite different from that for men.. Davis suggests that to the contrary the cultural play with the topos of the woman on top was multivalent and contradictory. games.. Amazonian. periods of advance from a male perspective might be the opposite from a female one. In ‘Women on Top’ Davis directly challenged the then prevailing functionalist view that such cultural inversions have a single unidirectional meaning. Sally Alexander and Anna Davin drew attention to .

69 The effect of this critique on Australian feminist scholarship was an increased interest in ‘sex’... especially around the terms gender and difference. and Barbara Taylor. Jill Matthews. Sally Alexander. gradually replacing ‘patriarchy’. At a History Workshop conference held at Ruskin College in December 1979. ‘Patriarchy’. attended by over 1000 people. too. 173 . British historian Jane Lewis’ essay. ‘Women Lost and Found: The Impact of Feminism on History’ (1981). which ought to be explained.‘gender’ came to replace ‘patriarchy’ in feminist histories. since they took for granted social institutions. Gatens contended... she argued. and the sex/gender distinction thus collapses: sex and gender are both products of culture. used the category ‘gender’ in a confident way not found in the earlier essays. posited ‘sex’ as a given and ‘gender’ as malleable when in fact ‘sex’.‘Patriarchy’. Feminist historians had pause for thought when philosopher Moira Gatens in 1983 provided a strong critique of the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. such as the sexual division of labour. she continued. the term ‘gender’ was being rapidly popularised by a number of scholars. Such a distinction.67 Though the notion of patriarchy as denoting a ‘theory of women’s oppression’ was ably defended by Alexander and Taylor. The sexed body.. for example. structured her history around the notion of ‘gender order’. in Good and Mad Women: The Historical Construction of Femininity in Twentieth Century Australia (1984). specifically the sexed body. seeing it as a way of identifying the social organisation of the . new issues were emerging. the failings of both labour history and social history. notably in the history of the body.The Feminist Challenge . Rowbotham’s doubts were increasingly shared by many feminist historians.66 The problem was. for example. too. there was in one session a major debate on the concept between Sheila Rowbotham. is not outside the domain of culture. ‘suggests a fatalistic submission which allows no space for the complexities of women’s defiance’. moreover it tended to suggest ‘a single determining cause of women’s subordination’. was historically constructed. It constructed two separate systems of oppression: ‘We have patriarchy oppressing women and capitalism oppressing male workers’.... Rowbotham suggested.65 By the 1980s. was being discarded. that ‘patriarchy’ was being used to denote ‘a universal and historical form of oppression which returns us to biology’. In Australian historical writing. originally so central a concept in women’s liberation. What was needed instead was a ‘historical concept of sex-gender relationships’.70 ‘Gender’ grew in popularity as well.68 Through the 1980s.

. exploited. making the term ‘patriarchy’ too limited in its application. was not the same as adding women’s history to history.72 Mary Beard would have approved. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese.. As early as 1976. and to recognise the variability of male dominance. The implications of women’s history for history she saw as multiple. Other Aboriginal women stressed how their suspicion of white feminists had its origin in the role white women had played in the . 174 . and at this point still a Marxist (she was later to experience a dramatic swing to political and social conservatism). With a PhD in history from Harvard. in ‘Placing Women’s History in History’ (1982). warning that it is ‘fruitless to look for a uniform oppression of women.Is history fiction? . probed the question of women’s history’s significance for history at length.. relations between men and women without adopting the assumption embedded in ‘patriarchy’ that women were necessarily subjected or oppressed.. She emphasised ‘the mutability of gender systems’. By the 1980s.. Historians would need henceforth to ‘adopt gender system as a fundamental category of historical analysis’. 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. and made sharper distinctions than before between women’s history and feminist history. 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. she was in 1982 teaching at the State University of New York at Binghamton. They worked for all contending parties – for the Klan as well as against lynching’. neither the bad in that world nor the good. feminist historians were pondering the meaning of their labours for the discipline generally. she pointed out.. or a universal form of male dominance’. author of The Origins of Physiocracy: Economic and Social Order in Eighteenth Century France.71 Adding women to history.. and discriminated against racial group. VIII Within the growing field of women’s history.. Australian Aboriginal feminist Pat O’Shane had queried feminist expectations that Aboriginal women would foreground their gender rather than their experience as a dispossessed.

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 Gender: Prospects for an All-Inclusive Sisterhood’ (1983). and that stereotypes created then persisted into the present. Another New Yorker. and class. and modern feminists’ inability to acknowledge that history. and when I cried out with my mother’s grief. In the United States. and a continuing interest in class. and lifted over ditches. 175 . with its echoes of Shylock’s great anti-racist speech in The Merchant of Venice. race. and to have the best place everywhere. 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.73 Yet feminist historians.The Feminist Challenge .. Bonnie Thornton Dill..... and gathered into barns.. though taking the point that race divided white and Aboriginal women. Joan Scott in effect removed the word ‘system’ from Fox-Genovese’s ‘gender system’ to produce a more open and flexible concept of gender. in ‘Race. 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. Australia. Canada. Class. none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?74 hooks picked up Truth’s cry. From the early 1980s the question of race became vastly more important.75 With growing attention in the United States. Nobody ever helps me into carriages. United Kingdom. took some time to build this awareness into their histories.The critique by black women of white feminism continued apace. where the women’s rights movement had itself been racially discriminatory. and elsewhere to the effects of race. to argue that sexism and racism combined to assign black women low status during slavery...76 One answer to the problem came in a shift from ‘structures’ to poststructuralist concepts like ‘discourse’ and ‘identity’. and seen most all sold off to slavery. Each seemed more fundamental than the other. pointed out that white feminists had forgotten their own history. Scott . or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted. historians were finding it increasingly difficult to manage the separate dimensions of gender. or over mud-puddles. Black women faced a patriarchal black nationalist movement and a white middle-class feminist movement that had no understanding of black women’s experience. exploitation of Aboriginal women historically.

gender. for example.. not least because she crossed the United States/United Kingdom divide much more freely than anyone else. how to decide which was the most important or determinative of the others. Her work was extremely important.. and ‘gender’. and argued that gender history could be anywhere. and a turning away from a notion of social structure as something underlying the surface of society.With Louise Tilley she wrote Women. she continued. 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. class. helped many historians out of the conceptual minefield in which they now found them- . one of the most famous products of the intersection of feminism and history. Work. do we relate to one another the multiple differences marking individuals – by race. ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’ (1986). was gendered.. Scott brought to the debates in women’s history a new emphasis on fluidity.80 Two major further contributions to the debate over how to relate ‘race’.. even when (or especially when) women were formally absent. Lacan..Though a cultural critic rather than a historian. received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin in French history in 1969. or specific. and Irigaray. necessitated abandoning earlier frameworks that took men’s experience as general and women’s as particular. she asked. namely ‘subject’. The Glassworkers of Carmaux.. sexual preference? For ‘women’ to be understood properly. ‘Eccentric Subjects: Feminist Theory and Historical Consciousness’ (1990). ‘gender’ was a most important analytical tool. 176 . and published her first book. and ‘politics’. she suggested. for it. influenced by poststructuralist approaches derived from French theorists such as Derrida..79 Scott argued that feminist historians needed a more open notion of gender. she argued in her essay ‘Women’s History’ in 1983.78 The question of gender became the focus of Scott’s essay three years later. in 1974.Is history fiction? . a major work of women’s labour and social history. ‘class’. came from scholars outside history. too. It was time. Foucault. and Family (1978). and instead seeing all human subjects as particular and specific. How. need not be seen as somehow conventional male history. to examine and redefine some of the key terms of analysis. where the distinctions between male and female could be any kind whatsoever. Recognition of women as historical actors. then.‘gender’. could all these particularities be conceptualised? How.. Teresa de Lauretis in her essay.77 By the mid-1980s. Political history.

mutually contradictory’. In trying to take account of all the complexities of race. but now these concerns were embedded in a range of others. and transnational histories. as something that is performed in daily life. or the ways in which the experience of gender is itself shaped by race relations. spoke of identities.. and gender they had. she wrote. de Lauretis. and of ‘engendered’ social processes. Rather than add. The liberation of gender by Scott. class. 177 . selves. de Lauretis. from environmental to colonial and postcolonial. ‘The Politics of Respectability: Identifying the Masculinist Context’. or men. like Scott. Rather than structures. feminist scholars needed to grasp ‘their constant intersection and mutual implication’.. or gender or sexuality per se to a whole range of human activities that had a gendered aspect. retained their initial gender dualism and then tried to add to it concerns of class and race. the aggressive defence of the rights of men against the claims of feminism. she felt. or even gender history.. to understand how gender affects racial oppression.The achievements of feminist historians in the 1990s and 2000s were less to do with women’s history. not only developed a specific analysis of gender conflicts in Australia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. and gender relations are a process involving strategies and counter-strategies of power. must see itself as ‘multiply organized across positions on several axes of difference and across discourses and practices that may be. Marilyn Lake.84 The focus of many feminist historians shifted from women. Feminists turned their attention far more than ever before to the history of masculinity. Something of the change in mood and focus can be . and the importance of women.81Also important for historians’ changing and increasing use of ‘gender’ was the work of political theorist Judith Butler in Gender Trouble (1990)... is produced in a series of competing discourses. The new feminist consciousness. which stressed ‘gender’ as a process. but effectively introduced to historical debate the notion of ‘masculinism’. Lauretis suggested. Butler suggested.82 Gendered subjectivity.. ‘new imperial’. than with applying a pluralising and diversifying gendered perspective. Butler and others from ‘system’ and ‘structure’ had long-term consequences. rather than by a single patriarchal ideology...83 Butler’s work led to a growing fashion for speaking of ‘gendering’ and ‘engendering’. Feminist historians in the 1990s and 2000s came to the forefront of a range of historiographical movements. They continued to insist on the salience of gender. and often are. in her essay.The Feminist Challenge .

‘The Evidence of Experience’. and especially the notion that ‘history can faithfully document lived reality. 178 . too.. Scott’s poststructuralist intervention into feminist history was not confined to the question of gender. that archives are repositories of facts. Following Derrida. that the fact of someone being a man or a woman may not be the most important thing about them and their behaviour..86 Not only were her critiques directed towards conventional male or male-centred historians. Scott urged historians to recognise that ‘experience’. 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.85 IX We have not quite finished with feminism and historiography. and rhetoric of the discipline’.Is history fiction? . She ends by reflecting that ‘experience is. It means sometimes using gender as a tool to analyse other more important historical categories. that the presence or absence of women sometimes does not matter. without realising it.. practices. put these ideas into practice. in this approach. To understand how historians have represented the past in particular ways requires ‘attention to the assumptions. rather than making it the central issue. Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (1996). including feminist historians.87 Here she challenged radical and critical historians.. She provided a history of the ways French (and other) feminists inevitably both opposed and reinforced the ideas of sexual difference that . She questioned the appeal to experience as uncontestable evidence by feminist and other historians. for using the category of ‘experience’ as somehow prior to historians’ conceptual categories.. Scott’s later work. and that categories like man and woman are transparent’. not the origin of our explanation but that which we want to explain’. Scott followed Gender and the Politics of History with an influential and controversial essay in 1991.. She also advocated a greater self-consciousness about historical knowledge itself. is understood within a textual or linguistic framework. remained ‘within the epistemological frame of orthodox history’: they assume that ‘the facts of history speak for themselves’.. suggesting that in doing so they. they were applied also to her fellow feminist historians..

The Feminist Challenge


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

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.




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



Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism


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.

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



Is history fiction?


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



Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism


‘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



Is history fiction?


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



. he says. in terms of heterogeneity and difference as guiding concepts. In these formulations. writing. not relations of meaning’. ‘dominant if not exclusive’. that is to say.We should analyse history according to the intelligibility of struggles. Genealogy. with Derrida’s poststructuralist writings of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Each society has its regime of truth. its ‘general politics’ of truth: that is. the media.Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism .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’. as much as for economic production and political power. truth is produced and transmitted under the control. it is the issue of a whole political debate and social confrontation.And it induces regulated effects of power. We should talk. with relatively little detailed attention to language and rhetoric. that which is usually referred to as ideological struggle. or lacking in power’.. History’.. army.17 We should also study critically the historical search for truth. we should refuse to analyse the ‘symbolic field’ or the ‘domain of signifying structures’. the means by which each is sanctioned.. Foucault insists that the ‘history which bears and determines us has the form of a war rather than that of language’... about ‘relations of power. of certain political or economic apparatuses. we should study genealogy.18 Croce had argued in his 1917 ‘History and Chronicle’ that the historian writes out of the interests of the present. the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements.. in The Archaeology of Knowledge and ‘Nietzsche. the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true. Here. relations of force. A major difference is that Foucault evoked history as the scene of events and forces.. 185 . the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth. the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true. III We can observe many similarities. of strategies and tactics. Truth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint. the university. Foucault observes that there is in society a constant demand for truth. for truth is not ‘outside power. Foucault is .

... For those influenced by Marxist desires. . work stories around and from examples. On the other hand. yet the general was forbiddingly. We see no warrant in Foucault’s formulations to conclude that he believes there is no truth. and methods. Such historians anxiously felt that if they did not understand everything. and desire a master narrative. difficult to apprehend. pursue. 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.19 These writings and manifestoes of the late 1960s and 1970s proved inspiring and liberating for many historians. to relate everything to everything else. or write in the present. Foucault’s metaphors are often of war and confrontation. to trace and chart particular genealogies. impossibly. 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. History could be decentred. History’ of the genealogist possessing a ‘true historical sense’. and draw out meaning as they went. After all. bloody and lethal character’. counts as worthy of research. 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’. The particular had meaning only in reference to the general. he clearly feels that the genealogist will produce historical interpretations that reveal what he. thinks are the decisive forces operating in history. understand. Now. Foucault. is anxious to understand. selects for documents to study) is not beyond historical contextualising and explanation. In ‘Truth and Power’. this was no return to the empiricist conception of history. that truth is only an effect of power. avoiding history’s ‘violent.. for it was too conscious of the speaking position of the historian (at least in theory). and monumental. Historians could again focus on instances. they understood nothing.. it had seemed necessary to attempt total history. Genealogy. 186 . and write about.Is history fiction? . stable. he had spoken in ‘Nietzsche. too aware of the impossibility of a neutral or objective place from which to view the past.. concepts. to write specific histories of discrete discourses.. its discontinuities and interruptions. to explain the smallest event or phenomenon in the most global and evolutionary terms. and historians did not have to seek.. Foucault gave permission to historians to conceive more modest aims.

exemplary stories. seeking to make sex mute. silent. narrative. to produce such effects? To answer this question. Discipline and Punish itself became.What he will do instead. representational tableaux. between Foucault’s prescriptions and proscriptions for writing history and his own practice.. he writes. his own histories written in the 1970s tell a different. the contested and the discontinuous. After centuries of relatively open sexuality. happened to all the other procedures? The effect.. though.. a more totalising. is define the ‘regime of power-knowledge-pleasure’ that sustains the ‘discourse on human sexuality in our part of the world’. Famously. and restrained. dominant type of disciplinarity. de Certeau suspected. and rhetorical art. 187 ..Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism . this view hypothesises that the bourgeois order in the seventeenth century established the long age of repression of sexuality. story.22 In the introductory essay ‘The Incitement to Discourse’. we examine in detail the rhetoric and use of metaphor in The History of Sexuality... and denial.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. Foucault constructs an alternative historical narrative for ‘these last three centuries’. a ‘panoptical fiction’. which continues even now. What. he suggests. totalising. and notes its various tactics for turning unusual quotations. He also asks what apparatus might determine Foucault’s own discourse. Foucault questions the assumption of the repressive hypothesis that power has indeed worked during this time through prohibition. the entangled. Where his writing about the writing of history stresses the specific. what one sees is not censorship . de Certeau asks. as others have noted.Through theoretical. and controlling? How does Foucault’s own language and narrative work. When one looks back on them.. Foucault opposes in The History of Sexuality (1976) what he terms the repressive hypothesis. and displays of erudition into convincing evidence.21 We ask: How is that Foucault the theorist of fragmentation and discontinuity can seem so authoritarian. negation.. starting from ‘certain historical facts’. IV There is a disjunction. is to reduce the functioning of a whole society to a single.

. and prudishness but a ‘veritable discursive explosion’..24 Foucault’s text provides an interesting example. The scope of the Catholic confession continually increased. when his argument suddenly moves from positing the Catholic pastoral confession as a new historical development to claiming it as foundational. .. therefore. when a rhetorical ‘therefore’ jumpstarts the narrative from early on. In 1942 the philosopher of science Carl G. either official or anti-authoritarian. because.. consequently. linked to an intensification of power in the realms of pedagogy. Sex was taken charge of by a ‘discourse that aimed to allow it no obscurity. directive. and inclusive for all sexual discourse that follows. including writings like those of de Sade or the libertines generally that attempt to be scandalous. there was an ‘institutional incitement to speak about it’. The ‘injunction’ to tell everything becomes a peculiarity of ‘the West’. when such terms are not necessarily warranted by the argument.Is history fiction? . no respite’. 188 .. more and more.Yet he uses metaphor and rhetoric to push his argument much further. a ‘whole web’ of discourses. Foucault argues. and one can ‘plot a line going straight from the seventeenth-century pastoral to what became its projection in literature’.Through the political economy of population there came about a ‘whole grid’ of observations concerning sex. The Catholic pastoral confession then becomes the originary discourse of three centuries of proliferating speech and writing about sexuality.. Particularly important was the multiplication of sexual discourse in the field of the exercise of power itself. become the ruling discourse of ‘the West’. in terms of a centring image. obviously.‘everything had to be told’. 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’. naturally. controlling its every expression..A particular (Catholic) genre has suddenly. a steady proliferation of discourses concerned with sex that in the eighteenth century became a ‘ferment’. to take in every aspect of the flesh: in this ‘new pastoral’.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. Hempel reflected that most explanations in history hope to suggest connections and acquire persuasive force by the use of terms such as hence.. by virtue of ‘therefore’. and we might agree on the importance and influence of the Catholic confessional in inciting discourse about sex.23 Foucault’s critique of the repressive hypothesis is persuasive. The confessional injunction.

the supporting examples are few indeed. Foucault tells a story of a farmhand. sentences are often launched with phrases like:‘it would seem in actual fact’.‘doubtless’. and all highly articulated around a cluster of power relations’. In the ‘line’ that goes ‘straight’ from the seventeenthcentury pastoral to its ‘projection in literature’. but then rescues the analysis with the suggestion that they represent ideal behaviour for all. in the assertion that for three centuries the discourse on sex of Western man was ‘meant to yield’ effects on desire itself. scatterings. and administration. loosenings.‘the important point no doubt’. dispersion. but it was ‘meant’ to have the effects it apparently had.. In more metaphors of connection and linking.Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism . not only for three centuries was there a single. we find that these discourses were ‘interlocking. a threatening shadow on the landscape of argument.29 One of Foucault’s few examples for the nineteenth century is particularly disturbing to read and ponder..Ah. At the border of a field he had ‘obtained a few caresses . in the village of Lapcourt who one day in 1867 was turned in to the authorities. diversity.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. 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). ‘what is essential’. dominating. hierarchised.. to Sade. medicine.27 In developing his argument about sexual discourse and power. In one paragraph alone we jump from an example of the Catholic confessional. For the passage of the confessional imperative through the eighteenth century..‘one can be fairly certain’. ‘the central figure’. it appears ‘one only has to glance over’ something to see the controlling discourse in action: a ‘glance’ will do. Foucault’s text betrays an anxiety that such writings from the seventeenth century on might have applied to a ‘tiny elite’ only. ‘this is the essential thing’.. a ‘few examples will suffice’. But by then it is far too late to roll back the totalising tide.. along with the ‘vignette’ that appears soon after to ‘serve’ as a representative example. That is to say. A further rhetorical strategy is to make a very few examples represent the linear master-narrative.. how often historical writing has had to call on a few examples that ‘will suffice’! In relation to secondary schooling in the eighteenth century.28 There is also a rhetoric of intentionality..‘but this was undoubtedly’.‘so it was that our society’.‘somewhat simpleminded’. and continuous discourse. and ‘above all else’. 189 . though meant by what or whom is left opaque.

Is history fiction?


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

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:



Is history fiction?


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,



Is history fiction?


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.

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



and suggests that.40 One historian to make good use of Bakhtin is Dominick LaCapra. He made an important distinction between two kinds of novel. there is a monolithically monologic narrative.. where each character represents a different troubled worldview. it is possible to see Marx in a new light.. but also a regenerative carnivalesque culture and language. there is a play of voices. and therefore of different worldviews. and he recognised that in any one novel there would be competition and mixing between them. capable of answering the author/narrator back. He urges attention to the importance of Marx’s rhetoric and style. 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. where each historical character is given a total finalised meaning. attempting to create their historical actors as psychologically coherent individuals. He helps us... to clarify what it is in some of Foucault’s writing that leads towards the authoritative narrative.. already created in the ‘almost Rabelaisian exuberance of Marx’s writing’: an exuberance which is not merely critical or destructive. For Bakhtin the dialogic and the monologic novel were ideal types. on one pervading set of values. was critical of this essentialised conception of character. the polyphonic or dialogic and the monologic. which is not narrowly didactic.Is history fiction? . for example.. Instead. for example.42 . In the story of the farmhand Jouy. is never finalised or completed.. Bakhtin. The utopian future for Marx could include not only transformed relations of production. have tacitly agreed.. parody and other carnivalizing forces would not disappear’. In the dialogic novel. which exceeds the desire to gain full mastery over an object. different bookends (as it were) of a continuum. Not only that. he argues against the usual view that Marx was preoccupied with processes and modes of production. 196 . but such performative use of language suggests that for Marx. The various characters do not become relatively free figures with their own independent discursive presence. however. The intense polemical invective of The Eighteenth Brumaire creates a carnivalesque mode of parody. with Bakhtin’s notion of carnivalesque in mind. and which might encourage ambivalence and uncertainty. there is in Bakhtin’s terms no diversity of viewpoints. by contrast.41 In ‘Reading Marx:The Case of The Eighteenth Brumaire’. and where the clash of characters. The monologic novel insists. ‘in a transformed society.

scientifically. 1978. held no or little evident theoretical interest for him. The discourse of Orientalism. Where Foucault believes that the individual text or author counts for very little when discussing a discourse. By such means. Said considers that individual writers left their ‘determining imprint’. The interactions between metropolitan societies in Europe and the colonies and empires they established around the world and sought to subdue..43 We agree with Said’s critical qualification here. Said suggests. ideologically. and as we note in our introduction. helps us understand the ‘enormously systematic discipline by which European culture was able to manage – and even produce – the Orient politically. Said reflects. the disaster that empire can bring upon the home society in terms of ethical deterioration and willingness to wage war. taking . In the same year as Hayden White’s Tropics of Discourse appeared. anti-colonial desires and actions. violence and cruelty.Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism . Yet Orientalism also contrasts with Foucault’s writings in another way: Foucault conceived ‘Europe’ as a self-enclosed entity. manage and gain vast wealth from. govern. Said noted... sociologically. the period particularly of English and French imperial power.’ Foucault’s notion of discourse.. European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a ‘sort of surrogate and even underground self ’.. and imaginatively’ during the post-Enlightenment period of the nineteenth century and then into the twentieth. Said is writing less in a Foucauldian than in the expansive spirit of Herodotus and Thucydides. Said qualifies his use of Foucault in one important respect. 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. to identify Orientalism. as described by him in The Archaeology of Knowledge and in Discipline and Punish. militarily. 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. VII Foucault proved inspiring for the development and flourishing of postcolonial theory in the latter twentieth century... He also wrote as an outsider and exile. the deprivations of freedom colonialism entailed. also produced the Orient erotically. we also have tried to follow such a working rule in this book.44 In his interest in the hubris of empires.. 197 . the Orient as scene of sensuality and splendour mixed with despotism.

to criticise ruling power. Through the journal Subaltern Studies. taking the perspective of the nationalist movement itself. the development of poststructuralist approaches to history.Is history fiction? .48 In terms of intellectual personalities we consider in this book. seeing the Indian national movement as the work of a tiny British-educated elite.. 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.45 In Said’s view. of an overemphasis on the systematic. In this sense. always willing to scandalise.. a nationalist school. they wrote in opposition to major schools in Indian historiography – one.. 198 . sought ways to understand the history of the non-elites.. body.. less desiring to control and regulate.’47 Said commented critically that Foucault became the scribe of domination. with Ranajit Guha a leading figure from its foundation in 1982 until his leaving the role of editor in 1988. Guha. the people. as scene of ever-expanding control of mind. but also influenced by Said. more fluid and self-questioning. a welcome contrast to nineteenthcentury Orientalist discourse. only certain great writers of the nineteenth century (like Flaubert and Nerval) retain the more generous and hospitable notions of the Enlightenment.. emanating especially from Cambridge. in the 1980s and 1990s. especially. as they had done. Originally Marxists. to oppose the state. Said can be compared not only to Foucault but also to earlier figures like Nietzsche and Croce. the . VIII The relationship between historians and the state was also a major concern of the Subaltern Studies group of historians. of the enabling perspectives of the outsider and exile.46 He drew attention to the ‘sheer folly and derangement stirred up by the Orient in Europe’. Said also does not share Foucault’s dark view of the Enlightenment. and also significantly contributed to. and instead wrote affectionately of a late Enlightenment literary and cultural history that was open to the Orient. who wrote mainly on Indian history. Said is as like Herodotus and Thucydides and as unlike Leopold von Ranke. these historians were increasingly attracted to. advantage. as possible. and the other... and soul by various discourses.

long-term historical processes’ which left little room for human agency.49 In the search for methods for understanding Indian peasant rebellion..J. and advocated the use of fragments – ‘a weaver’s diary.As Dipesh Chakrabarty points out. all another way of leaving the people ‘outside history’. the larger over the smaller. He challenged nationalist historiography’s privileging of the general over the particular.. its reduction of ‘the lives of men and women to the play of material interests’. Thompson.P... 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.Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism . its emphasis on ‘complex. peasants. and E. not as ‘prepolitical’ (as Hobsbawm had argued in relation to European social bandits and ‘primitive’ peasant revolts ) but as a specific kind of politics. in a way that did not see them as simply by-products of the actions of elites.. Hobsbawm. whether British or Indian. and hoped for ‘a new third world historiography that will resist both nativist romanticization and Orientalist distancing’. and analysing in Derridean deconstructive fashion their textual character in detail. E. The turn to poststructuralism in the Subaltern Studies group led to a range of writing on the nature of history in the 1990s.50 The emphasis on close textual reading of the archive thus brought these hitherto largely Marxist historians to their own linguistic turn. a . and the mainstream over the marginal. 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. the Subaltern Studies group looked increasingly to the work of Foucault and Derrida. Yet he differed from those historians in understanding peasant rebellions. 199 . 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.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. Their focus on practices as a clue to consciousness (in the virtual absence of direct evidence.. with their strong grounding in popular religious and supernatural belief.. He also criticised historians’ reliance on official sources.. and which made assumptions about the essential nature of ‘the people’. 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.

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.Is history fiction? . a European influence. their own location in a specific context. he urged the importance of historians’ acknowledging more than they do the provisionality of their statements. He makes the telling point that third-world historians ‘feel a need to refer to works in European history. nativist histories’. but rather arises from the nature of the discipline itself.. 200 . he wrote.‘a gesture.” “Kenyan. that “we” cannot return’. however. In doing so.52 In the same issue of Representations.” “Chinese. This is not a matter of cultural arrogance on the one hand or cultural cringe on the other. and ‘consequently their privileging of particular forms of knowledge’. ‘remains the sovereign. We are stuck. What historians could do was (in Foucauldian fashion) trace how European experience came to be seen as universal.. Dipesh Chakrabarty’s essay. Now Chakrabarty saw it as more specifically implicated in ‘Europe’ and ‘modernity’. historians of Europe do not feel any need to reciprocate’. a ‘deep collusion between “history” and the modernizing narrative(s) of citizenship’.” and so on’. with ‘European’ modernity.. ‘Europe’. a ‘critical historian has no choice but to negotiate this knowledge’. have often empowered marginal social groups. he suggests. and acknowledged as well that the rhetoric and claims of citizenship rights within a sovereign nation-state.. collection of poems by an unknown poet’.. there is.. he said. including the ones we call “Indian. Lévi-Strauss had described history thirty years earlier as an inevitably Western system of thought.53 Chakrabarty advocated a project of ‘provincializing “Europe”’.. he did not want ‘atavistic.. By ‘Europe’ he meant not the geo-political entity we call Europe. theoretical subject of all histories. ‘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. both through the operations of European . Furthermore. but saw this as arising from a deeper and more general problem. he sought neither cultural relativism nor the rejection of (inevitably European) modernity. but rather that imaginary figure loosely related to it from which we generalise about modernity and its history. History is embedded in the nation-state and its history. those working on European histories can ignore non-Western histories without damaging the quality of their work. Methodologically.

imperialism and the complicity of national movements.55 As we have seen.54 IX By the late twentieth century. historical texts continued to ‘recount calmly events and situations located in the past as though the “age of suspicion” had never dawned’.Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism .This was none too soon: as Lionel Gossman pointed out in ‘History and Literature: Reproduction or Signification’ (1978). The 1980s and 1990s would become a kind of Herodotean period of extended thinking about history as literary form. 201 . Historians were becoming increasingly interested in finding new ways of writing – especially micro-narratives. many historians had absorbed from the discussion of postmodernism a new interest in form. wrote in a traditional monologic authoritative way. and while uncertain where they stood on the more theoretical debates about history and language.. he warned.. Chakrabarty suggests that historians at least make visible. of stories which at the same time offered competing and conflicting interpretations and explanations.. while realism was still pervasive as historians’ chosen genre. historians in the late twentieth century were still doggedly writing in a nineteenth-century tradition. within the very structure of their chosen narrative forms. multiple points of view. Yet Gossman’s complaint came just as things were changing. the project of ‘provincializing Europe’. discourse. and subjectivity. the theorist of discontinuity and genealogy. is also bound to fail. The influence of postmodernism and postcolonial theory meant a return and resurgence of the Herodotean delight in storytelling. though a necessary one. even Foucault. Europe’s foundational presence in historiographical practice is inescapable... Whereas in literature under the influence of modernism a focus had long been to push outward the limits of language. and also .. In a more pessimistic version of Pandey’s emphasis on historians foregrounding the framework of knowledge within which they worked. and of historians engaging in literary experimentation in imaginative and innovative ways. 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. history’s inescapably ‘repressive strategies and practices’.. Yet..

and Natalie Zemon Davis’ The Return of Martin Guerre. Conversely. Burke noted.. ‘History of Events and the Revival of Narrative’. alternative endings. the book is built round a small number of individuals... In his celebrated 1991 essay. fragmentation.57 Through use of official and especially legal sources. 202 . more or less. or multivocality. Peter Burke reported on and encouraged further development of the experimental in form and technique. unreliable first-person narrators. a soldier-academic.Is history fiction? .. using emergency health officer Cristofano Ceffini’s journal.The boundaries between history and fiction that had held.. He instanced Carlo Cipolla’s Cristofano and the Plague (which. some writers. many writers of fiction were turning to history. Particularly famous instances of the genre were Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms (1976) and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s Montaillou (1978). Spence’s .58 Burke regarded Jonathan Spence’s The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1982) as an exemplary micro-narrative.. developed the art of micro-history to a high level. plundering historical records and the works of historians to create historical fictions. Invoking Bakhtin’s notion of heteroglossia. historians seemed to have found a way to narrate the lives and thoughts of the relatively unknown. in 1629–31). 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. ascribing to the latter entirely invented actions and words and speeches. montage. For Burke. an acccount of the origins and development of the Chinese Revolution from 1895 to 1980. a scholar. and genre-crossing. told of a devastating plague in Prato. Burke was interested in attempts to represent directly competing or alternative points of view. which used court and other records to tell the story of a sixteenth-century farmer whose identity is assumed by an impostor. and non-chronological narration through a variety of techniques. Historians of French and Italian history had. the ordinary and powerless people of the past. He drew attention to the rise of micro-narratives or micro-histories. who did not play a leading part in the events of the revolution.. In some they blended invented characters with real historical figures. the telling of a story about ‘ordinary people in their local setting’. and perhaps avoiding the idea of the single narrator altogether. Tuscany. for a century and a half were being breached. drawn from novels and film. akin to ‘thick description’ (Clifford Geertz’s tireless phrase)..

could make the work more ‘open’ in the sense of encouraging readers to reach their own conclusions. influenced in part by his reading of Hayden White. perhaps. The historian might give the reader a number of endings according to the date chosen to end the story. Burke stressed more generally how much historians had to learn. the ancient capital of Japan. Historians could. a bandit.59 Some historians took up the challenge. many elements are shared but there is also a great deal that is different. and discuss the recent crime. along the lines of John Fowles’ novel.Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism . John Demos. told through a medium). and Virginia Woolf. probably the best-known example of the use of multiple viewpoints. such as offering alternative endings. a history of Poland which started with the post World War II period.. indeed irreconcilable. from novelists and filmmakers.61 Based on the stories ‘Rashomon’ and ‘In a Grove’ by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. where several people shelter from a storm. They could emulate the early twentieth-century moderns like James Joyce. The French Lieutenant’s Woman.. in terms of narrative form. Alternative endings. Marcel Proust. with their decomposing of temporal continuity.The frame story is set at the crumbling once-great Rashomon gate in Kyoto. and flashforwards. flashbacks. a narrative history of World War I ending in 1919 will give a different impression from one ending in 1933 or 1939. Burke mentions the film versions of The Return of Martin Guerre and Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers. and moved back. and the dead man. concludes his The Unredeemed Captive (1995) with three ‘different endings’. Burke suggested experiments. as Norman Davies had done in Heart of Europe (1984). They could look to novelists like William Faulkner and Lawrence Durrell who tell their stories from more than one viewpoint. 203 . through to earlier times.. They could look for inspiration to Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza (1936). Or they could learn from film how to play with chronology and multiple points of view while still maintaining a sense of historical sequence. 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.. through techniques such as montage.60 Burke also drew attention to Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon. 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. for example. a novel that is determinedly non-chronological. In the different tellings.... write history backwards..The viewer is left to decide for him or . chapter by chapter. the raped woman. Burke suggested.

62 In terms of multiple points of view. herself what happened. the ex-African slaves. even when just off-stage’. A study of early eighteenth-century Suriname in northern South America. Mirror in the Shrine (1988). Price writes that the ‘fourth and controlling voice’ is his own. established as a detective figure attempting to work out from the (incomplete and sometimes contradictory) evidence what may have happened in the past.. He would like to decentre the narrative. with their narratives and description. 204 . Alabi’s World presents its narrative through different voices (the Samarakas. and their own processes of trying to decipher and decide what might have happened.63 In Bakhtinian fashion. but without retaining for himself the final word. the difficulty in knowing much at all about the thoughts and passions of the people of the past. creating a character called ‘the biographer’ who might complain of the problems involved in writing the book.64 Postmodernism also influenced another method of destabilising the authoritative narrator – to focus on historians’ inevitable lack of omniscience. some historians were attracted to the idea that they should more openly foreground what they did not know. that of the ethnographic historian. we can add. which is indeed an innovative and remarkable text. Burke admired Richard Price’s then just-published Alabi’s World (1990)... Creating a quizzical distance between himself as author and the narrator on the page was. though he also recognises that his voice as author is ‘always present. 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 . Robert Rosenstone foregrounded his involvement in the stories he was telling.Is history fiction? .. to ‘fragment the power of the author’s inevitable authority’. Such an approach reintroduces the historian as a first-person narrator in his or her own text... In an experimental work not discussed by Burke. Price says he wishes to return to seventeenth. the German Moravian missionaries).and eighteenth-century travel literature.. In the prologue. Price as author acts as organiser and participant in the play of conflicting positions and voices. 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. Rather than present a narrative which seemed to know everything.. the Dutch colonial officials. rather than reproduce any usual authoritative ethnographic mode. each voice with its own typeface.

the biographer quotes from some diary entries and letters. 205 . one who already bent evidence on similar sensitive issues – drinking. remember all those other details you have no space to capture.’66 Towards the end.. including invented speech and ‘the inventions of someone’s stream of consciousness’.William Elliot Griffis. prostitution. those important images that can suggest more than words? In relation to another of his subjects in Japan. How it came to an abrupt end.. hears.. the Screw (1898) and thence into literary modernism and postmodernism. . John Williams. ‘it goes something like this’.65 At one point. And how about the experiences that don’t quite fit in. Mario Vargas Llosa. that you now know Griffis in Tokyo. Rosenstone himself says he looked to novelists like Gabriel Marquez. then comments: There it is.We are at the mercy of a single firsthand report from a witness who can hardly be neutral. Or at least all the available evidence. and Milan Kundera.And don’t exaggerate his sense of leisure. the whole story. At one point in The Unredeemed Captive. 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’. Italo Calvino. smells and feels. but never commits to paper. Sunday parties. Demos imagines a character.. making an angry speech: ‘Perhaps. Remember everything he sees. those odd moments. or at least dwindled to a trickle. the biographer admonishes: ‘don’t overdo the artistic sense... secret moments … Sometimes the author seems to be chiding himself: Don’t leave the impression that this is all. despite Burke’s misgivings.. How we wish for more … What we want are those lost. to the delight of some and the consternation of others.’ Demos says. the wandering. some historians showed a new willingness to speculate on how historical personages may have talked in various situations. talking of a young American in Japan. The 1980s and 1990s were indeed a time of great literary experimentation in historical writing. the poetry.69 Such speeches and dialogue recall Thucydides’ set-speeches and invented dialogue.68 Yet. will be the story of the following chapter.Postmoder nism and Poststr ucturalism .. and then he hazards what Williams might have said.

. not since the cold war. in a historical analysis – and especially if it is concerned with thought. many of these varied opponents defended the idea of a single knowable truth about the past..CHAPTER 10 AntiPostmodernism and the Holocaust The cry goes up that one is murdering history whenever. These opponents crossed all usual boundaries. they included Marxists. 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. and die-hard positivists. literary experiment. A ‘Rankean’ empiricism and faith in objectivity was reasserted with a vigour unseen for many decades. and disappear entirely. In the course of mounting a critique of postmodernism. ‘anti-theory’ ‘working historians’. 206 ... feminists. 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. Yet these rejoinders of the 1990s and 2000s also took on board a good deal of the postmodern spirit of self-reflection. ideas. and anti-determinism.They feared the discipline would be killed. (Foucault.. ex-Marxists turned conservative.

a preference. so that it was quite a surprise when we actually came to read it that it frequently has a very moderate even-handed tone. 207 . Hunt an expert on the French Revolution. Joyce Appleby. Palmer does not effectively challenge the methodology of the linguistic turn in history so much as worry about its political implications. based at Queen’s University in Canada. I One group of historians strongly opposed to postmodernism and the linguistic turn was the Marxists. ‘Much writing that appears under the designer label of poststructuralism/postmodernism is..3 Appleby a specialist in early modern Europe and the United States. they recognised that Marxism.All three were history professors at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). he felt. offered one of the first book-length responses. and Jacob a historian of science. ‘is no substitute for historical materialism. Directed at an American student audience.. and historiography. Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob set out to explain the strengths and weaknesses of postmodernism and the linguistic turn for the history profession. quite bluntly. the Marxist labour historian Bryan Palmer. material. a kind of academic wordplaying’.2 Yet Palmer’s preference for historical materialism over postmodernism seems in the end to be just that.. and subsequently one of the most commonly used texts in courses on history and historiography. but this is his discussion of what he sees as the extremes of postmodernism rather than his actual case against it. was being foundationally challenged and perhaps displaced. Telling the Truth about History argued strongly against postmodern . His point was to reassert the importance of understanding ideas in their social.. Much more determined critiques were to follow. cultural history.. crap.. language is not life’. He saw the interest in language and discourse as a ‘drift toward idealism’ and a ‘movement away from materialism’... It is true that at times Palmer lets fly with statements like. In Descent into Discourse (1990). and class context. Critical theory. II In Telling the Truth about History (1994). Palmer’s book title suggests an all-out assault on the linguistic turn.Anti-Postmoder nism and the Holocaust . with its traditional emphasis on structures and determination and notions of totality.

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

. can be developed by communities of scholars which enable us ‘to discriminate between valid and invalid assertions’.. 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 .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. and others.269).283). one which recognises the importance of present perspectives.. revealing perhaps an awkward moment in the debate among historians over postmodernism and the linguistic turn. Postmodernism has done nothing less than restore individual human beings to history (p. especially the little-known individual (p. III The most important English attempt to assess the value of postmodernism for history was Richard J.. it argues. Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth. but it also recognises that these standards themselves are historically created and specific (p.70). It advocates a limited notion of objectivity.248). 209 . Natalie Zemon Davis. Evans thinks some of the effects of postmodernism on history have been positive..243).. Diane Purkiss.. 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. Like them he welcomes postmodernism’s offering ‘a way out of the impasse into which social determinism. Keith Jenkins. influenced by postmodernism and its Crocean antecedents than its authors seem to realise. this is another curious contribution to the debate. Evans’ In Defence of History (1997).Anti-Postmoder nism and the Holocaust . above all in its Marxist variants.189). Common standards. and its concomitant drawing attention to the individual. Sande Cohen. Like the authors of Telling the Truth about History.. Telling the Truth about History is an ambivalent text. and (sounding very like Carr or Collingwood) suggests using this self-understanding to ‘probe the past with imagination’ (p.5 An English historian specialising in German history. Geoffrey Elton. had run by the beginning of the 1990s’ (p. and he largely welcomes the work of Simon Schama. while also including an almost obsessive discussion of and attack on that extreme positivist. Indeed.

Roland Barthes.219). Curiously.. than those Peter Burke had noticed (p. that had become old and tired (p. surely. he says. 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. this would not be a problem..243). Historians have long been aware of different forms of historical time.83). Yet the book was not called In Defence of History for nothing. Even if it didn’t.107). however. or insignificant. While agreeing that ‘the same document can be legitimately used as evidence for a variety of purposes by different historians’ (p. since readers are not taken in: ‘In practice. In these terms. Evans refers to examples of writing history backwards. Maitland’s Domesday and Beyond (1897).. like the history of royalty. 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. ‘Historical writing’... such readings have ‘been the stock-in-trade of the profession for a very long time’ (p..109). their irreducibility to a single linear narrative’ (p. And: ‘No historians really believe in the absolute truth of what they are writing. Far too many histories do not exhibit the self-consciousness and caution Evans is here claiming they do. Nor did Evans accept that historians have usually written in an omniscient style.94). Hayden White. such as F. In relation to the ordinary practices of historians.. from documents. Historians did not need these theorists. simply in its probable truth’ (p. Evans was very defensive in response to critiques from Foucault. to tell them to read their sources ‘against the grain’. Evans reserved his major attack. and the revitalising of others. no reader comes to a history book naïvely willing to believe everything it says’ (p.Is history fiction? . 210 . he points out. Evans does not indicate just who he thinks . and others.152). Yet surely the postmodern critics had a significantly greater point than Evans allowed. and have been willing to disrupt chronology in their narratives. we can say that Evans is welcoming the manifold ways the postmodernists and poststructuralists reintroduced the Herodotean into historical writing. he said. ‘makes a point of conveying the provisional and uncertain nature of interpretation’ (p.143). it does not follow that a document is open to an infinity of readings or meanings (p.W.106). Nor are historians as naïve as postmodernists suggest: ‘Every historian is aware of the complexity of the facts. much older.. for versions of postmodernism which he sees as denying that anything at all can be learnt from primary sources.81).

that since we apprehend the world through language. 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. but he does not support his criticism by engaging with relevant Derrida texts. 211 . 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. and that different histories can be distinguished from one another only on moral.‘everything’ (in Evans’ words) ‘was a text’ (p.White is making a distinction between the historical record. Evans is especially critical of the (supposed postmodernist) idea that different histories have equal validity. What Evans means by ‘objective criteria’ surfaces again in a very odd moment in his next book. and the meaning historians might give to it. than its critics’ (pp. with the result that ‘if one version of the past was more widely accepted than others.195–6). objectivity and the Holocaust in a more direct fashion when. however. political.. argues that there is an infinite number of valid readings of sources.. truth. Consequently.238–41). this was not because it was nearer the truth. Hayden White. The ‘increase in scope and intensity of the Holocaust deniers’ activities since the mid-1970s’ reflects the ‘postmodernist intellectual climate’ (pp.100–1).Yet once more the reader looks in vain for detailed discussion of the relevant Foucault texts. He claims that Foucault ‘saw truth and knowledge as the products not of cognition but of power’..Anti-Postmoder nism and the Holocaust .. has agreed (p.. or aesthetic grounds. He repeats the misunderstanding of Derrida we have critiqued in chapter 7. or within society in general. IV Evans was soon to confront the question of history. Evans himself.83) that ‘the same document can be legitimately used as evidence for a variety of purposes by different historians’. postmodernism paved the way for Holocaust denialism. or conformed more closely to “the evidence”... but because its exponents had more power within the historical profession.95). two months after his book .239). yet in the passage indented for inspection. Here he actually quotes from someone. Nevertheless. and not on their greater or lesser approximation to the actual past (pp..

. to which historians can draw attention. Jay expressed surprise at White’s unwillingness ‘to efface the boundary’ between the facts or events of history and their narrative representation..... Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution (1992). but that they had removed the ground for proving the denialists wrong. appeared. but rather by historians as a collectivity. dialogic exchange. As Deborah Lipstadt put it.9 There were a number of replies. as many were suggest- . he agreed to act as an expert historical adviser in a legal case involving David Irving. and especially for public debate over and awareness of many of the issues explored in this book. Jay points out that historical judgments are not made individually.8 Hayden White. ‘trying to convince each other about the plausibility of their reconstructions’. others sympathetically critical.Two of the most thoughtful came from Martin Jay and Dominick LaCapra. between which there is a process of negotiation. Holocaust denial had for some time seemed to be the ultimate test and disproof of postmodernist ideas about history.10 Dominick LaCapra also saw a process of negotiation.. some intemperate.7 The issues were explored in a collection edited by Saul Friedländer. and Judgments’.6 By the end of the twentieth century. a historian of World War II who by this time had become a Holocaust denier. Holocaust history and Holocaust denial had become litmus tests for historical theory and method. In ‘Of Plots. 212 . argued that it was not the events of the Holocaust that were in dispute but rather the form and nature of their narration..Is history fiction? . or as he put it in a favourite Mikhail Bakhtin term. thus making a distinction between ‘a specific body of factual “contents”’ on the one hand. 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’. between the two there will always be incongruence.. He suggests replacing White’s unsatisfactory fact/narrative distinction with one between first and second order narratives.The charge was not that postmodernists themselves denied the Holocaust. in his chapter entitled ‘Historical Emplotment and the Problem of Truth’. 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’. and historical narratives on the other. since the former are not accessible other than through documents which have their own linguistic mediation or figural signification. For many opponents of postmodernism. Witnesses.

213 . she said. distorting facts and misrepresenting data in order to reach this conclusion. in a psychoanalytic sense. demanding absolute proof for establishing Nazi guilt and only circumstantial evidence by which to condemn the Allies.. Her book. and is always negotiating.. Belief in freedom of speech and hearing all sides of a story had given the deniers audiences they did not warrant. Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (1993). 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... She described Irving as ‘one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial’. Irving and other deniers. she specifically opposed taking the deniers to court as a desirable strategy. and as someone who bent historical evidence until it conformed to his ‘ideological leanings and political agenda’... Irving. he said. so that ‘truth and reason … can prevail’. ing.. she did recount how he became a denier in the late 1980s. . was a Hitler admirer and apologist who argued that Hitler did not know about the Final Solution until October 1943 or later. she wrote.What was needed was to ‘expose these people for what they are’. is necessarily engaged in a ‘dialogic exchange with the past’. the Holocaust exposed their limits.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. convinced by ‘evidence’ that it was chemically and physically impossible for the Germans to have gassed Jews on a significant scale. In considering the options. The historian. ‘transferable relations’ with the object of study. ideologically driven (unconscious) distortion. Though Irving was not one of her main targets.. used a double standard for evidence.Anti-Postmoder nism and the Holocaust . She opposed directly engaging with their arguments. Where were the distinctions to be drawn between legitimate alternative views. had provided a detailed history of denialism since World War II. 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. The distinctiveness of the Holocaust is that it ‘presents the historian with transference in the most traumatic form conceivable’. Yet the Holocaust denialists had presented a particular challenge to historiographical debate.11 It confronts historians with the importance and difficulty of their work. 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.

but there was a shift in perspective.. as distinct from simply making haphazard mistakes or presenting an unorthodox and unpopular interpretation. to do so takes enormous time. Historians generally assume that the work of their fellow historians is reliably footnoted.Is history fiction? . what the limits are of historical disagreement. or the accidental omission of relevant material and the deliberate suppression of inconvenient evidence? (p. and more pointedly. while David Irving chose to conduct his own defence. As he pointed out.39) His method was to study Irving’s published work in detail. 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.. an assumption which underlies their necessary reliance on each other’s work (p. When can we say that a historian has lied? Evans’ particular task was to establish whether in his histories Irving had deliberately falsified evidence. ‘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). minor errors of fact and deliberate distortions of the documents. Richard Evans’ book about his experiences as one of the expert historians. surrounded by considerable media attention. followed from In Defence of History in many ways. History and the David Irving Trial (2002).‘transform the deniers into martyrs on the altar of freedom of speech’.. the outcome is unpredictable’. After all. imaginative readings of the sources and outright manipulations of them. ‘be completely impossible . who worked on the case through 1998 and 1999. even greater is the problem that when ‘historical disputes become lawsuits. It would. however. argument and tendentiousness. checking its text and footnotes. Lawsuits.13 Irving’s lawsuit against Lipstadt. and ‘most historians had better things to do with their time’.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). Before he and his assistants undertook this exercise. meant her case had to be argued in court after all. 214 . Telling Lies about Hitler:The Holocaust.. after all. had told lies... Evans rightly points out.24). How was it going to be possible to distinguish between interpretation and fantasy.. It resulted in a verdict against Irving.. Lipstadt and Penguin’s legal team hired expert historians. she said. but also. this is an unusual task for historians to carry out.The trial was held in the High Court in London in the early months of 2000.

and claim that sources proved points which they did not..And he did not think Irving an impressive figure at all:‘A lumbering hulk of a man. He pointed out that this was a ‘civil trial’. 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. with the appearance of a leading QC … asking. Evans himself shows in considerable detail just how poor Irving’s self-defence was (pp. and is puzzled that some observers thought he performed well.208). his suit did not seem to fit him properly.. He thought the case had been well conducted. is that not only did Irving make innumerable errors. who described Irving as ‘a large. who could not see the wood for the trees. and his graying hair for the first few weeks was untidy and clearly needed cutting’ (p. 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. or keep to the points at issue. where what is in dispute hangs ‘on the balance of probabilities. and that Hitler did not order the extermination of the Jews.198). handsome man.207–25). he says. precise questions which demonstrate his detailed knowledge of an enormous body of material’ (pp. well supported by the evidence he provides. with Evans’ own expert assistance. excellently dressed.15 (The discrepant observations .. 215 .110). Evans was very pleased with the court case. He was. And on this.Anti-Postmoder nism and the Holocaust . Yet Irving was a weak opponent. a vast apparatus of deception and deceit’ (p. but also these errors.. is the view of the defence editor of the Daily Telegraph. Irving’s work on this issue was ‘a house of cards. much as it does in history’ (p. he pointed out that the trial turned on ‘how historians used historical evidence’ (p. after all. he did not look well-dressed to me. no gas chambers.207–8). and misrepresentations were designed to prove that there was no organised slaughter of the Jews.. proving his own value and objectivity against a powerful opponent. Especially odd. Evans concluded that Irving’s errors were falsifications which ‘taken as a whole … amounted to a systematic distortion of the historical record’.Against those who felt that historical disputes could not be resolved in court.24)... On the key point concerning Hitler’s knowledge and role. Sir John Keegan. selections.198).This all has the air of the victor basking in the sun. on the winning side. strong.. Evans thought Irving a poor performer. provide unacceptably selective quotations from his sources. in a firm but courteous voice. he felt the correct decision had been reached. Evans’ key conclusion.

as if they are artists. as Lipstadt herself had earlier pointed out.272). They will paint it in different styles. using different techniques and different materials. or some of its features. here might remind us of Thucydides in his History (1. he turned for help to the metaphor of the mountain.) Although he makes it very clear that Irving hired no legal counsel and conducted his own defence. But they will all be painting the mountain. it has objectively either no shape at all or an infinity of shapes.H. they will see it in a different light or from a different distance according to where they are.22) talking of the difficulties in constructing even the history of the present. 216 . incidents and events for which there is no historical evidence’ (p.... though rather curiously he does not mention that E. Real historians. observing: ‘It does not follow that. indeed.. If one of them paints a fried egg. and we agree. or knowingly present forged documents as genuine.. After all. because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision. and they do not invent ‘words. Carr had already used it in What is History? Recall that Carr had imagined a mountain seen from different angles. The possibilities of legitimate disagreement and variation are limited by the evidence in front of their eyes. In an attempt to explain the difference between legitimate disagreement and historical falsification.Is history fiction? . the outcome could be unpredictable. resolves a dispute as best it can. when historical disputes become lawsuits. we are entitled to say that they are wrong: whatever it is that the artist has painted. Evans does not seem to realise just how important this was for the nature of the trial. They may even disagree about some aspects of its appearance. So what conclusions does Evans draw from all this for the vexed question of truth in history? The trial. he argues. Supposing we think of historians like figurative painters sitting at various points around a mountain. phrases.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. and they will view it from different angles. ‘taught the difference between real history and politically motivated propaganda’ (p. realist artists: Perhaps the point may be best put in a metaphor.257)...’16 Evans now imagines historians representing a mountain. A legal decision. it is not the mountain. and perhaps for its ultimate judgment. or a railway engine.. after all. he says. or avoid using documents that do not suit their case. An objective historian is simply one . do not suppress parts of quotations from documents that do not suit their case. it is not necessarily a guarantee of truth. quotations. or misrepresent the meaning of documents or books by other historians.

from Dada to surrealism to abstract expressionism to pop art and beyond. simply do not exist. issued a direct challenge to the anti-postmodernists. by which he wants to blanket all representation.20 There is nothing.. in postmodern awareness of the importance of subjectivity.. but they are limits all the same (p. an ‘objective historian’ can be ‘simply’ defined as one who knows the difference between a mountain.. perhaps the surreal image of mountain as fried egg is not so absurd after all. and a fried egg (why a fried egg.. where a huge rock. the prominence of the Holocaust in historiographical reflection provides ‘irrefutable evidence of the centrality of questions of good and evil to the historical enterprise’.19 He takes issue (p. They are limits that allow a wide latitude for differing interpretations of the same document or source. who works within these limits. Perhaps this is altogether too simple. a railway engine.. perspective. V After surveying debates about the Holocaust. Let’s recall surrealist René Magritte’s 1961 painting Le château des Pyrénées. on the side of evil – an abetter of evil? Dan Stone. egg-like in shape.18 In these terms. rather than see realism as one possible form of representation among others. In the end. Stone suggests. Evans assumes that twentieth and now twenty-first century painters will be realist. is postmodernism. which was reproduced on the cover of Keith Jenkins’ Re-thinking History (1991).. and speaking position that disallows a . hovers over a sea with breaking waves: suggesting that what might appear solid can have the most fluid of foundations.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.. one wonders?). as if other modes of artistic representation. Michael Dintenfass observed that however epistemologically an argument begins. in Constructing the Holocaust (2003). as the anti-postmodernists allege.257). it always becomes an ethical and moral one..Anti-Postmoder nism and the Holocaust . 217 . So. What might be more absurd is Evans’ ingenuous realism.17 If Magritte in nonrealist fashion can represent a huge rock in egg shape.

in the wake of the Holocaust. it is only a ‘multiplication of interpretations of the meaning of history’ that can ‘safeguard historical freedom’ (p. the Holocaust demonstrates that in history ‘absolute moral standards’ are ‘necessary’. asks us to change the way we write history (p. Far from allowing it to change the way we think as it ought to have done. commitment to truth and rigorous reliance on the evidence (pp. He also directly answers Telling the Truth about History. in making us ‘aware of general problems of representation that are normally passed by with ease’. 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 . In an effort to bring the chaos of the Holocaust under some kind of control.27)..16) In Stone’s view. the Holocaust. Stone argues.. which he sees as the most sustained attack of recent times on postmodernism as a philosophy of history. cannot comprehend the ‘very excess.. Such a framework cannot explain the extreme character of the Nazi period and the Holocaust.15–16).22).233). The Holocaust is characterised by a disruptive excess that cannot be assimilated into the ‘cognitiverational framework’ of conventional historical writing (pp. they have produced very straightforward conventional narrative histories and avoided innovation. (p. the rush of energy which permitted normal societal structures to become organs of mass murder’ (p. have reacted to the difficult task of representing the Holocaust by domesticating it. Historians..Is history fiction? .16). Surely the opposite is the case? Nazism was anything but a form of cultural relativism.16). 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. and challenges conventional realistic modes of narration (p. 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’. Surely.. 218 .21 Stone passionately replies: This is an astonishing assertion...21–2). It reminds us of the importance of foregrounding the gap between the texts historians write and the past itself. he reflects.. historians have simply fitted it into existing frameworks of knowledge (p.

challenging humanity to understand and know itself at its most ordinary and its most extreme. darkly probing the limits of the human in world history.. It recalls as well Raphaël Lemkin in modernity suggesting that the story of humanity is a story of violence.22 In Constructing the Holocaust Stone deploys a wide-ranging Herodotean approach to historical understanding.262–4).Anti-Postmoder nism and the Holocaust ... .... 219 . Stone’s pessimistic view recalls Herodotus’ and Thucydides’ perceptions in antiquity that world history reveals no narrative of progress.The horror of the Holocaust. adventurousness of interpretation of the meanings of the past... as he puts it. can ‘invade the present’ (pp.

There have also been a series of ‘history wars’ which had a similar. Israel. Britain.. to some degree. But the violence and hatred of the past.. In the media and other public arenas historians encountered some very positivist assumptions about the difference between truth and falsity in history. 220 . It formed the material world and the ideas with which we live. Historians found their work the subject of national attention in new ways. Australia..CHAPTER 11 History Wars We who live in the present did not create the violence and hatred of the past. indeed greater. it was also very confronting. (Tessa Morris-Suzuki. Most journalists and public . created us. Japan.. In the United States. while this was pleasing (what one does actually matters). and will continue to do so unless we take active steps to unmake their consequences. and in many other countries troubling historical questions came to the fore. 2002)1 Debates over the Holocaust have not been the only forum for bringing the problem of historical truth to public notice. These are historical controversies in national contexts where questions of national shame and responsibility came to be vigorously and vociferously debated. effect.

the display was to be called ‘The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II’..With the Enola Gay. and ask visitors to consider the moral and political dimensions of Truman’s decision. hatred of their own country. at worst. display photographs of people in Hiroshima suffering burns. audiences expected historians to know the truth about the past. 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. the plane from which the first bomb was dropped. guilt-tripping. in which there had been considerable critical discussion of America’s colonial past.. We consider here just three of these disputes: the debates in the United States over the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.. saying the exhibition would encourage a perception of the Japanese as victims rather than as military aggressors in .. 221 . When historians were seen to disagree among themselves. In particular. They would tell about the internal debates in the Truman government... lay audiences were dismayed and expressed profound doubts over the value of their work. in wartime or colonial frontier or other settings.2 The museum’s plans began to unravel when the Air Force Association and other veterans groups complained. and. The curators planned to foreground the now fifty-year-old controversy over the reasons for and morality of dropping the bomb. the historical curators at the Smithsonian began planning an exhibition to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima. and in Australia over the extent of violence on the frontiers of settlement in Tasmania in the first three decades of the nineteenth century. It was to open in the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in 1995 to coincide with the bombing’s fiftieth anniversary. and to explain it clearly and simply. In 1992. telling lies about the past to serve their own political agendas. morbidity.H i s t o r y Wa r s .. in the context of the quincentenary of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas. distortion. historians critical of the national past in some way. as a centrepiece.. and over a planned exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC on the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. in Japan over the Nanjing massacre of 1937. were especially likely to find themselves accused of ‘political correctness’.

Eventually a number of American historical associations agreed on a statement of ‘Standards for Museum Exhibits Dealing with Historical Subjects’. World War II.4 The curators had come up against not only veterans’ organisations and the government. 222 .. advised museum curators to ‘acknowledge the existence of competing points of view’.Is history fiction? . The political implications of the affair were clear. 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. both for the curators inside the museum and the historians outside. unbalanced.Yet here was the US government openly interfering in the production and dissemination of historical knowledge. however. but also a deeply held national narrative. proved to be too powerful.After the election of November 1994. The curators agreed to revise the script to take greater account of the sensitivities of American veterans. This statement pointed out that exhibits inevitably involved ‘interpretive judgments about cause and effect... the Senate voted unanimously for a resolution condemning the exhibit’s script as ‘revisionist. agreed to cancel the exhibition.3 In January 1995.. and meaning’. that the bomb was dropped to bring a speedy end to the war and thus save enormous numbers . and the consequences for future historical and museological practice. the exhibit leader Martin Harwit resigned as director of the Air and Space Museum. while historians’ organisations and groups signed letters objecting to proposals to censor the exhibition. The veterans’ groups. when truth becomes an issue of political debate and social confrontation. As Foucault had pointed out twenty years earlier. and offensive’ and threatened to hold hearings on the matter. originating from statements made at the time by US President Truman. I.. significance. In public debate. and in May. and urged administrators to ‘defend exhibits produced according to these standards’... 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. Michael Heyman. under pressure from Congress. the Smithsonian’s new director. During the long decades of the cold war. 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’. opposed ‘attempts to suppress exhibits or to impose an uncritical point of view’.. perspective.

Yet these shifts of opinion and disagreements within the historical profession had had little effect on American collective memory or public debate. by insisting on ‘unconditional surrender’. Atomic Diplomacy.8 They continued to disagree. contended that the real reason for dropping the bomb was to demonstrate American atomic power to the Soviet Union.. and thus closed the door to an earlier end to the war. and triggered a spirited historiographical debate. based on his doctoral dissertation and involving research into recently released material. it was no wonder that veterans groups were outraged.H i s t o r y Wa r s . As John W.. and political considerations were involved.M. After some criticisms of the bombing were aired within the United States immediately after the war.6 Particularly damaging to the Truman–Stimson case was the realisation that Japan had been ready to surrender months earlier.Truman had refused to reassure the Japanese that Emperor Hirohito would not be deposed. the estimate of hundreds of thousands of combat deaths was unrealistically high. 223 . An early exception was P. Secretary of War at the time and now retired. Stimson’s explanation. wrote an article to explain the administration’s view which was published in Harper’s Magazine in February 1947. Dower pointed out. an English Nobel prize-winning physicist. When the curators at the Smithsonian proposed to show that many historians now questioned the accepted national wisdom. became the basis for received wisdom thereafter. the effect of the Legion’s own intervention and indeed of the whole controversy .. It. 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’. too.7 J.. Stimson. of American lives. that the atomic attacks were authorised to avoid an American invasion of Japan which could have cost ‘over a million casualties’. Blackett... an invasion of Japan was not necessary. There were few critics.. 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..5 Debate among historians was much stimulated by the appearance in 1965 of Gar Alperovitz’s book. 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”’. or tried as a war criminal. for critics like the American Legion’s spokesmen. Henry L. however. some historians argued. over whether political or military motivations predominated. Ironically.S.

while some members of the foreign community in Nanjing at the time wrote letters describing the actions of Japanese soldiers. 224 . rape.. The dispute is over whether Japanese soldiers then embarked on a campaign of widespread murder. A Chinese-born specialist in Japanese history. but this began to change in the 1960s. was to prompt further historical research and debate.Tillman Durdin reported for the New York Times.Witness testimony and other evidence was produced at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial (1946–48).. a higher figure of 300 000 deaths was found.Yang tells us. however. On 13 December 1937... One of the longest running and extensive of the Japanese debates concerned the Nanjing (or Nanking) massacre. leading to a conclusion that 200 000 were killed and 20 000 raped. capital of Republican Kuomintang China. the massacre had received little attention within Japan itself. both within Japan itself and between Japan and China.. of thousands of civilians. fresh from their successful invasion of Shanghai. few if any signs of agreement. Chinese citizens who had escaped from Nanjing reported their experiences in Chinese newspapers and magazines. that historian Daqing Yang likened it to Rashomon.Is history fiction? . especially over the representation in school textbooks of Japan’s own role.At a separate trial in Nanjing. where ‘drastically different evidence or interpretation seem(s) to disclaim the very existence of a single historical truth’.There are. Yang outlines the nature of the historical sources used in discussions over what happened in Nanjing. said to have occurred between December 1937 and March 1938. was experiencing its own historical controversies over World War II. perhaps hundreds..10 In 1990 the debate had been rarely discussed in English. and another round some time in the future of historiographical and public conflict seems very likely..Yang had studied at Yokohama City University and Keio University in Tokyo and by 1990 was a PhD student at Harvard. partly as a result of . so Yang was now explaining it to an English-speaking audience. meanwhile. Journalists such as F. captured the Chinese city of Nanjing. and looting.11 During the 1950s. So divergent were the opposing histories of this event. Indeed these controversies were of a much older vintage than their American counterparts. Japanese troops.9 II Japan.. killing tens.

indicating a growth in historical research within a framework of uniformity of views that a massacre of massive proportions had actually happened. 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.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. the foreigners’ reports. which challenged the evidence they had used and argued there was no massacre. he thought. Further accusations of distortion and inconsistency were made of both sides. interviewed survivors. 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. Meanwhile.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. Historians like Hora Tomio. 225 .. his articles recorded vivid reminiscences by survivors and were accompanied by powerful photographs of the mutilated bodies and severed heads of the Chinese victims. Honda visited war memorials in China. the efforts of these two men brought the Nanjing incident out of oblivion in Japan... and collected other evidence. He and his supporters argued that relatively few people were killed. An energetic denouncer of mistakes in the work of his opponents. and even fewer by illegal means. there was a resurgence of denial concerning the massacre.. As Yang puts it. publishing a chapter about it in his book Riddles of Modern Military History in 1967.This. made extensive use of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial transcripts. was especially true in the case of the Nanjing massacre.. and postwar Japanese war reminiscences. The Illusion of the Nanjing Massacre (1973).13 Yang also summarised the state of historical work in China in these years... Hora expanded his chapter into a book. Further. At the end of his survey Yang recalled Croce’s dictum that all history is contemporary history. he noted. and published source documents. based on his 40-day tour of China. it was the political and diplomatic . In the early 1980s. not so journalist Katsuichi Honda’s series of newspaper articles in 1971. a professor of Japanese history at Waseda University. that historians bring into their work the influence of the times in which they live. to write extensively about the massacre.. Japanese visitors to China learning about Chinese memories and memorialisation of the event.H i s t o r y Wa r s .

the latter important for using the very significant and revealing diary she had discovered kept by John Rabe. Hata Ikuhiko. 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.. She also examined why the events were so little known outside China. 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. and Western eyewitnesses. claimed.. such as using unsubstantiated estimates of numbers killed and unknowingly using photographs that were. many of whom thought the Japanese were denying the truth of the massacre. timed to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of the beginning of the massacre. 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. rather than the disagreements between academic historians. and change.. a new generation of Chinese Americans. forgeries. Chang’s book was well reviewed in newspapers.. with mutually incompatible views continuing to be expounded. Meanwhile.Yet Chang was not a trained historian.. which made the controversy a major event in Japanese society.Very soon.. staying on the New York Times bestseller list for several months. she said her structure was ‘largely influenced by Rashomon’. ‘a combination of fakes.Is history fiction? . He predicted that the Nanjing atrocity would remain a ‘Rashomon phenomenon’. context of Sino-Japanese relations and huge media interest. was entering the field. Chinese victims.14 Yet as it turned out that is not quite what happened. nor could she read Japanese or German. Chang had a journalism degree and was now a full-time author. making a case for a massive Japanese denial of war crimes. her work was criticised for errors. one expert historian. Chang described the events in Nanjing from three perspectives – Japanese perpetrators. a German national who remained in Nanjing after the KMT leaders and military had fled. 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’. 226 . The 1990s saw the controversy continue. and composites’. for her conclusions as to what happened are perfectly clear. this is not really a Rashomon tale. and quickly became an international success. Joshua ...15 Yet while she does indeed explore the three points of view separately. Chang was a 29-year-old American of Chinese descent.

The long acrimonious debate. he thought. and erroneously claiming that Japan had suppressed all historical knowledge of the Nanjing massacre..H i s t o r y Wa r s . there had been.. Chinese.. that errors and confusion in the Chinese defence contributed to the staggering loss of Chinese life. is an outstanding discussion of the Nanjing debate. and American scholarship in great detail.. the emergence of new evidence especially from Japanese former soldiers themselves and also from Western eyewitnesses like John Rabe. Historians had been reminded of the limits of written evidence. Yang had by this time completed his PhD. That most perceptive of commentators on Nanjing-massacre historiographical debates. discussion. had led serious historians of the massacre. a process of convergence on several important issues. Daqing Yang.. It had led. In the essay. to some serious consideration of proper historical method. and that the International Safety Zone organised by Westerners had played an important role in saving many Chinese lives.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.There was now considerable agreement that Japanese troops committed atrocities on a massive scale. Yang suggested. and the historiographical issues it raises. though deleterious in many ways. and even when it is. and much negotiation. surviving documents have to be read very carefully. The convergence was in part a product of improved international communication between scholars. in fact. He referred to his own earlier description of the Rape of Nanjing as a ‘twentieth century Rashomon’. 227 . research. important documents can go missing. and the renewed recognition on all sides of the importance of empirical historical research. straining at an analogy with the Nazi genocide of Jews. that Chinese POWs had been executed on a mass basis under orders. . and exchange of findings had occurred since 1990. since much is not written down. His essay. In fact.. Fogel described her work as ‘seriously flawed’. and thought the analogy now less appropriate.. he considered Japanese. ‘Even perfectly reliable evidence’. ‘Convergence or Divergence? Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing’ (1999).. Furthermore. concluded that Chang’s book suffered from inadequate footnotes and numerous factual inaccuracies.The views of different historians had in fact not proved entirely incompatible. to be more careful with their sources and their analysis of them. and was now teaching Japanese history at George Washington University.

after suffering from depression. and observers) with care. Political differences both within Japan and between Japan and China would continue to have an effect..19 Historians belong not only to nations but also to an ultimately transnational interpretive community with a reasonably shared framework of historical inquiry. When Iris Chang. soldiers. such as rejecting an entire source on account of minor irregularities.‘the city was abuzz. or equating the absence of proof with proof of absence. it would be a slow and uneven process. emphasising other atrocities in China’s past to prove that Japanese atrocities were not so bad. but rather interpreted alongside other evidence. from taxi drivers to shopkeepers. historians need not forever be entrapped within their own national identities. they should be neither used uncritically. ‘if taken out of proper context.. Each has multiple identities. cannot always speak for itself ’. In Nanjing.Is history fiction? . and one should not expect the remaining differences to disappear entirely.. Historians had also learnt to treat reminiscences (by survivors. her death made headlines in China.. profession and gender..20 Yet clearly. the debates over the Nanjing photographs had served as a reminder to historians to be careful in authenticating and analysing photographs.. On the other hand. ‘different interpretations of the same evidence can yield different conclusions’. nor rejected out of hand. the San Francisco Chronicle reported.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. Chinese. Historians had learnt to recognise and avoid some of the poor practices that had emerged in the Nanjing massacre debates. but it should not exonerate perpetrators of particular atrocities. furthermore. In particular. about what may have led to such a sad ending for the “young warrior”’. He warned that while the convergence was likely to continue. There were ethical issues arising from the debate as well.. 228 . in public awareness. . profound passions continue to be stirred. In addition.. Yang pointed out. committed suicide in November 2004. and other historians (though not necessarily governments) for the question of truth in history. by virtue of locality. it was important to avoid using comparison to downplay ‘other distinctly painful experiences of human suffering’ – for example. enabling historians to develop a plurality of vantage points from which to relate to an event in the past. as research and dialogue went on.’18 Yang considers the implications of the gradual convergence of views between Japanese.

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.. in some cases finding the footnoted documents did not support the point made in the text. had witnessed a violent frontier. though there were disagreements between them over how many died directly as a result of violent confrontations.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. In tribute to Chang.H i s t o r y Wa r s . Historians had also emphasised the destructive effects on the Aboriginal population of the clearances conducted in 1830–31. what can we draw from yet another historical debate.. 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... Lyndall Ryan. the charge of ‘fabrication’ placed the debate on a new footing. the southernmost of the Australian British colonies. survivors in Nanjing held a service at the victims’ memorial hall. Though Australian historians had accused each other of errors of fact. whose visitor numbers had doubled since her book was published. Its attack was sharpest against the main historian of the Aboriginal Tasmanians. 229 . Fabrication went further than any other Australian historical work had done.22 Fabrication’s method was similar to that Evans and his associates employed to discredit David Irving. In accusing her and others not only of making mistakes in their footnotes but also of ‘fabricating’ their claims. and especially in the second half of the 1820s... whose The Aboriginal Tasmanians first appeared in 1981 and was reprinted in 1996.. It checked the footnotes of those historians with whom it disagreed against the original documents. as well as of transnational historical scholarship..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. when the remnant Aboriginal population was .

24 Fabrication now suggested that the rapid indigenous population decline in Tasmania was the result not of frontier violence (which. and settlers. feature articles. 230 ...25 It was condemned by indigenous spokespeople and their supporters. robbery and murder were ‘two customs they had come to relish’ (p. the indigenous peoples themselves. 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. Fabrication contends (p. one of the least bloody of all colonial frontiers. Most indigenous people refrained from entering into the details of the debate.‘was the least violent of all Europe’s encounters with the New World. Fabrication argued that there was no policy of removal or destruction of the Tasmanians.. When settlers responded with force to such attacks.386). book reviews. and news stories appearing in the mainstream press.. a trifling number of Aboriginal people were killed. defeat.Is history fiction? . in fact governments had tried to protect them. where many died and few were born. Aboriginal attacks should be viewed as simply the products of mindless lawlessness and ‘senseless violence’. family history and community history. Many saw the . who were lawabiding good Christians defending their persons and property. who owed their survival through thousands of years of isolation ‘more to good fortune than good management’ (p. telling a story of survival and achievement rather than one of violence. 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..129). and 120 in the second. a small island off the Tasmanian coast. The Fabrication of Aboriginal History was greeted with praise by conservative commentators in both Australia and the United States. biography..3). the blame must be placed not with the colonisers..Where there was violence.’ The book concludes with a list of ‘plausible killings’ of Aboriginal people. plus some coverage on television. it concludes. with well over 100 substantial articles including opinion page pieces. those who write history usually focus on autobiography. 118 in the first edition. making Tasmania. but with the colonised. Rather. and loss. removed or enticed to Flinders Island. sealers. ‘The British colonization of this continent’.. and indeed the Australian continent generally.The furore was huge. and also met with a variety of conceptual and empirical criticisms from historians with expertise in Australian indigenous history. Their attacks on settlers were not motivated by resistance to the loss of land and food sources.

the debate has become very muddled..29 There are some conceptual and ethical issues as well. 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. Robert Manne edited a collection of responses under the title. If one understands it. in which various historians took up different parts of the argument.. 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. Stuart Macintyre published The History Wars (2003). thought that it was necessary to see this as a serious debate about history.Yet historians have been concerned by what they see as the misrepresentation of their work. argues that some of the footnotes Fabrication queried were indeed correct. Ryan had emphasised indigenous survival and continuity.27 Fabrication is very long (436 pages).. as the attempt to destroy the foundations of life of a society so that it can no longer continue as a society. Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Aboriginal History (2003).. and to engage in the details. A number of historians. whole discussion as ‘white historians’ business’. following Lemkin’s original definition. Many contributors to Whitewash also saw problems with the way Fabrication reads and interprets historical documents. and in some cases suggests that what is involved is not ‘error’ but matters of definition and interpretation. Fabrication charges that the main historians of Tasmania have portrayed it as a case of genocide. and the book certainly does elide the many differences between historians it classifies as orthodox. as we do.26 Many nonindigenous people reacted similarly: this is a political and not a serious historical debate. Yet historians like Ryan and Reynolds had not seen Tasmanian history as a case of genocide.H i s t o r y Wa r s .. published in Whitewash.. however. and makes great play of the inappropriateness of comparing the Tasmanian frontier with the events of the Holocaust. then . Its extensive scholarship has been one reason for the extent and longevity of the debate.. with a huge amount of detail and many footnotes. partly because the participants have very different understandings of the meaning of ‘genocide’. In our view.. while Reynolds had actually published a book two years earlier specifically opposing the application of the concept of genocide to the Tasmanian case. acknowledges that some were wrong but then provides the correct details. which included some incisive discussion of Windschuttle’s text. 231 .28 Ryan’s essay in reply.

Indeed the image in Fabrication of settlers in Tasmania having to defend themselves. for its being so welcomed by right-wing journalists and commentators. and reminded us that where evidence is sparse and partial.. Lemkin himself argued in a long essay that the British colonisation of Tasmania was an example of genocide. Tasmania becomes a candidate for inclusion in the large category of cases that can be called genocide. some cherished national narratives were at stake. ‘but that . one reason. that public audiences find the idea of historical disagreement difficult and unsettling.31 And as in the historiographical conflicts over the Nanjing massacre. political understanding. our moral sympathies. just as the Enola Gay debates did. IV History wars.There was a much older assumption within white Australian culture that the settlement of Australia had been peaceful and just.. wherever they occur. reprised a longstanding trope of victimology in Australian historical consciousness. have a way of driving historians back to the sources.Is history fiction? . Fabrication was in line with this traditional understanding of events. the ‘Australian history wars’ illuminated the perils historians routinely face. in response to their opponents.. checking the relationship between historical narration and analysis on the one hand and the documentary and other records on the other.30 The Australian history wars show some similarities with both the American and Japanese cases. this historical understanding was a phenomenon mainly of the latter decades of the twentieth century. 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.They also reminded historians. we would argue... 232 .. 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..As in the United States. While Australian historians had generally agreed on the violence of the colonial frontier. Furthermore. Those who say there is a single knowable historical truth were welcomed with relief. that they rather than the people whose lands they took were the victims..They highlighted how difficult it is to decide what constitutes reliable historical evidence. and cultural assumptions all affect what we judge as likely to be true.

explain just how and why they reached their conclusions. but it is not enough merely to point out that there can be different. and historical debate itself all ultimately require that the representation of multiple points of view be accompanied by the historian’s own conclusions. politics. Yet bitter public conflicts over history do not mean we must return to naïve historical positivism with its monologic narration.H i s t o r y Wa r s . In the American debate over the bombing of Hiroshima... far from returning to conventional omniscient narration.. nor does it mean wide-ranging Herodotean interests will not resurge. and there have been few formal innovations in the new millennium. 233 . and foreground the existence and normality of interpretive difference. simply isn’t true!’ Our sense of there being more than one historical truth is sorely tested. extensive research. as a literary-historical narrative strategy. and indeed quite radically opposed. Audiences.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). Historians’ wars have an intimidating effect on experimentation with literary form.. necessary though it is.. 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. is not enough. and careful interpretation. It is true that we often have incompatible accounts of the same events. rigorous use of sources. versions of the truth. Historians can combine formal experimentation and recognition of the contingent. provides no answer to versions of the past with which one strongly disagrees. political. Indeed. and relative nature of historical narration with a commitment to truth.. 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.. In the long-running debate over the Nanjing massacre. 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. by eyewitnesses or by others who attempt to construct from the evidence what happened. They have also learned that all this. left-wing historians saw their opponents as unable . as we learn that the Rashomon effect.. some historians have learnt from these disputes that it is all the more important to explain to readers their historical method and assumptions.

but have participated in the process by which the memory of those massacres has been obliterated. the question of humane feeling within the humanities ‘goes to the foundation of intellectual life and beyond that. and therefore the interaction of different peoples and nations..Yet history. It is the status of those who have not stolen land from others....33 In the ensuing discussion many did not agree. ‘Implication’ means that the prejudices which sustained past acts of aggression live on into the present.35 In every case. . As Tessa MorrisSuzuki phrased it so eloquently. they are as often conducted within nations as between them. though very much a nationally organised enterprise. to face the truth about Japanese war crimes while the right thought the left had abdicated moral responsibility to their own – Japanese – people. in some cases successfully.Is history fiction? .. the status of those who have not injured others. to the character of civil society’. Even though they are often about war or colonial dispossession. and will lodge themselves in the minds of the present generation unless we make the effort to remove them. as the demand for national apologies for past actions grows. but also the reality of being (in a legal sense) ‘an accessory after the fact’. witness Israel’s divided historiography focussing on 1948. the moral connection between ourselves in the present and the events of the past is coming under new scrutiny.34 V The history wars are notable for their national importance and meaning.. to which he replied that the task of the historian was to be not ‘compassionate’ but ‘dispassionate’. for example. it seems. is also constantly bursting through national barriers.. And in the debate over Keith Windschuttle’s refutation of the violence of the Tasmanian colonial frontier. Alan Atkinson. the status of those who have not participated in massacres. but allow the consequences of past injury to go unaddressed. In addition to the examples discussed here.. his book was frequently criticised for lacking compassion for those whose lives and society were so rapidly destroyed. Everywhere. 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 who live on stolen land. 234 . as Burke would say. the morality of the nation is seen to be at stake. arguing that writing history is a social activity which depends on ‘an assumption of shared humanity’.

and processes around the world. 235 . and post-imperial histories. societies. and cultures. approaches that dominate the field of world history. often economic. to the concern in postcolonial history with empires and colonialism. and war. global. national boundaries are far less important. after all. plants and animals. And for historians of earlier periods. made it difficult for historians to trace and follow people. many point out. of course. and even politically – there is a greater sense of the interconnectedness of (and often differences between) local histories.. before there was a nation-state.. an entirely new development. to write accounts of the origin of the nation that reveal it to have a sure historical footing. to the interest in individuals. organisations.. historians in many countries have recently become increasingly restive with history’s old and resilient national framework. too great an attention to the nation has inhibited the study of important themes.The focus on national history has... And transnational approaches are often in response to problems arising in specific national . seeking to play an important role in their society. The pleasures of national historiography are.H i s t o r y Wa r s . much less publicly but no less importantly.. In the context of globalisation – economically. Alongside the history wars there has been. 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. a national focus ensures historians a large and interested audience. Yet despite the seduction of national recognition. a steady growth of interest in transnational history. colonisation. as historians have long sought to understand global and multinational phenomena such as trade. Historians are looking for new ways to write transnational. But historians have also very often been firmly national..36 The nation still constitutes a central organising concept for historians of all political and theoretical persuasions. providing advice all the more helpful because it is held to be based on impartial objective historical research. sometimes to act as an adviser to governments. networks.37 These newer transnational histories vary. the idea of pursuing historical themes and topics across national boundaries to a greater extent than has been usual over the last half century. from the concern with the holistic. and enables their historical work to count in current debate and contemporary local culture. This is not. beliefs and ideas across and beyond national borders. culturally. goods. patterns.. economies. immense. and lines of influence of many who specifically identify their history simply as ‘transnational’.

After working on indigenous Australian. for the search for historical truth. he was an innovative advocate of transnational approaches to history. to understand quite different connections from those which had governed historical scholarship to date.. specifically Gurindji. Key essays and books we have discussed. In a later paper. 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). France. India. a young Japanese scholar of Australian history. not least the methodological difficulties of accessing and mastering diverse archives. 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. histories.. Russia. the United States. 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. too. he sought to globalise indigenous Australian histories by ‘unfocusing’ on Australian national history and connecting Aboriginal and Asian histories. As Daqing Yang pointed out. that is. In ‘Anti-Minorities History: Perspectives on Aboriginal-Asian Relations’.G. In England. 236 .39 An important contribution to the search for transnational approaches came from Minoru Hokari. and huge diverse historiographies. notions of history for his doctoral thesis. In bringing these two totally disparate historiographies together. England. and elsewhere. Japan. he sought further to emancipate indigenous histories from a ‘national agenda’ and place them in a global perspective. The move to transnational history and to greater historical communication across national boundaries more generally has many implications.40 He sought.. It has implications.. for example. who died in 2004 and to whom we have dedicated this book.38 Australian desires for transnational history also bear a national imprint. Italy.Is history fiction? .. A.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. some of whom came to the north-west Australian coast. Australia.. Canada. have come from Germany. ... 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.

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

also Rose..57–8.16. 2 3 4 5 6 7 .43. pp. 1995). and Dan Brown’s historical thriller The Da Vinci Code (2003). Sydney.). Re-Thinking History (Routledge. 2004). 1994). Leopold von Ranke:The Secret of World History. 2000. Asian American Studies after Critical Mass: New Directions in Asian American Studies (Blackwell. 238 . Keith Jenkins. 2003). Island. Ranke. ‘Foregrounding Native Nationalisms: A Critique of Anti-Nationalist Sentiment in Asian American Studies’. Hidden Histories: Black Stories from Victoria River Downs. 56. History and Theory. Introduction to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations (1824) in Roger Wines (ed.). ‘Flirting with fiction’. New York. Refiguring History: New Thoughts on an Old Discipline (Routledge. no.56–9. p. See Candace Fujikane and Jonathan Okamura (eds). 51 (1992). 1991). review of Keith Jenkins. vol. Whose Vision? Asian Settler Colonialism in Hawai’i. vol.Notes I N T RO D U C T I O N 1 Deborah Bird Rose. pp.26.. ‘Hidden Histories’.). Malden. The Killing of History (Macleay Publications. 2004). 9. On ‘What is History?’ (Routledge. October 2004. pp.5. Canberra. 1991). The Historian’s Conscience (Melbourne University Press. London. Master of Magic in the Age of Reason (HarperCollins. pp. New York. Roth. Keith Windschuttle. ‘Classic Postmodernism’. London. London.. Selected Writings on the Art and Science of History (Fordham University Press.2. a special issue of Amerasia Journal.151–61. 2003). Melbourne. in Kent Ono (ed.372–8. discussing the difference between his own The Last Alchemist: Count Cagliostro. 1981). in Stuart Macintyre (ed. See Iain McCalman. See also Michael S. Candace Fujikane. MA. Humbert River and Wave Hill Stations (Aboriginal Studies Press. pp.. Keith Jenkins.

Men in Dark Times (Jonathan Cape. p. What is Philosophy? trans. 1966). 37 (Winter) 1992.6. London. in Jacqueline Lo. pp. pp. 1970). no. 1986. 12 Nancy Partner. London. London.9. 1995). Dipesh Chakrabarty. especially ‘Conclusions: Investigating Genocide’ by Gellately and Kiernan. Cambridge. JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. pp. 2002. See also William E. 194–5. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson (Verso. The Enchantment of Modern Life (Princeton University Press. New York Times Magazine.32. 1999.192.Truth. 19 See Ned Curthoys. See also Debjani Ganguly.1.. London. 20 Cf. and Death: History as Allegory’. Memorials and Museums’. History and Theory. Formations of the Secular: Christianity. and Debjani Ganguly (eds). Princeton and Oxford. esp. 16 See Talal Asad. Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution (Harvard University Press. ‘Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They’re Anti-White’. ch. Janet Lloyd (University of California Press. p. Melbourne. Century’s End: A Cultural History of the Fin de Siècle from the 990s through the 1990s (Doubleday. 14 Dipesh Chakrabarty. 262.. Cambridge.. The Holocaust and Collective Memory:The American Experience (Bloomsbury. London.3.33. 1999). See also Dan Stone. ‘Time. The Savage Mind (Weidenfeld and Nicholson. 249. Eternity. 2003). 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. no. 2000). and Historiographical Theory after the Linguistic Turn’. and Jane Bennett. pp. ‘Their History.330 note 102. 2003). p. The Historiography of the Holocaust (Palgrave. pp. Connolly.. 17 Cf. Minneapolis.. Hillel Schwartz. Princeton. 8 Cf. 18 Cf. MA. The Spectre of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge University Press. vol. at 349. Speculum. Why I Am Not a Secularist (University of Minnesota Press. 1988). Melbourne. no. Stanford. pp.10.304–9) of Asad’s book along with Slavoj Zizek’s The Puppet and the Dwarf (2003).. 2005. ‘Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History:Who speaks for ‘Indian’ pasts?’ Representations. Provincializing Europe. 1999). Partner.380–1. Los Angeles.1. London. and Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan (eds). 9 Michael Dintenfass. ‘Hannah Arendt and the Politics of Narrative’. ‘Memory..). and John Docker’s review in Political Theory (vol. in Frank Ankersmit and Hans Kellner (eds). in Dan Stone (ed. Hannah Arendt. Novick refers to James Baldwin. pp. no. Impossible Selves: Cultural Readings of Identity (Australian Scholarly Publishing. 10 Peter Novick. 2004). 2000. Humanities Research. New York. . 1992). The Nervous Nineties (Oxford University Press. trans. On p. 239 .26–31. 1. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton University Press. ‘Historicity in an Age of Reality-Fictions’. p. 15 Chakrabarty. CA.1–26.519–20.1–20. 1999). 13 Claude Lévi-Strauss.39.232–6.Notes to pages 6–11 .378. pp. 1991).). the History of the Holocaust. ‘Making Up Lost Time:Writing on the Writing of History’. 1999). p. Duncan Beard. vol. pp. vol. 257. 6. ‘Truth’s Other: Ethics.348–70. 1990). 11 Saul Friedländer (ed.15–23. A New Philosophy of History (Reaktion Books.73.. and John Docker. 9 April 1967. Ann Curthoys and John Docker.92.2. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Rachel Cunneen. (Y)our Memories: Provincialising Europe in Dalit Historiography’. 2001). Modernity (Stanford University Press. pp. Islam. Nancy F.

pp. London and New York. London. Bakhtin and “World Literature”’. trans. 4 Luce. Herodotus the Historian: His Problems. 2005). ‘Are Settler-Colonies Inherently Genocidal? Re-reading Lemkin’.xix. Divinity and History. p. chs 4 and 5. The Mirror of Herodotus:The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History.23. ‘Wry humour’ is his phrase for the tone of much of The Histories.32. ‘Women and Culture in Herodotus’ Histories’.. 5 See Harrison.. Pioneers of Genocide Studies (Transaction Publishers.44–45 and p.Notes to pages 12–22 . 1966). 15 Mary Spongberg. 2002). Foley (ed. p. p. 14 Cf. Divinity and History:The Religion of Herodotus (Clarendon Press.5. 2 See Arnaldo Momigliano. ‘Totally Unofficial Man’.266–92.18–19. London.377. Oxford. 9 See Katerina Clark. Munson. The Greek Historians (Routledge.J.27. and to Euripides’ Helen being blown ashore in Egypt.). trans. 36. New Brunswick. Ann Arbor. New York. The History (Chicago University Press. Luce refers to Cicero.91–125. 1973).Waters. who explores Herodotus’ beliefs in the workings of divine agency and retribution in history. 2002. 240 . also K. 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. in Helene P. London. Who Needs Greek? Contests in the Cultural History of Hellenism (Cambridge University Press.78. p. 12 Plato. Luce. M. Introduction to The Histories. 11 See John Docker. Herodotus (St Martin’s Press. 275–7. pp. Methods and Originality (University of Oklahoma Press.44 note 2. pp. London. 7 Hugh Bowden. Telling Wonders: Ethnographic and Political Discourse in the Work of Herodotus (University of Michigan Press.127–42. Luce. which refers as well to the Republic 586C. The Greek Historians. vol. David Grene’s introduction to his translation of Herodotus. On the Laws 1. 6. pp. Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave. George Rawlinson. JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. Cambridge. 1985). comments that Herodotus’ anti-ethnocentrism would strike us now as admirable. 1997). Cf.H. pp. 1989).21.. 2001).17–18. in Dirk Moses (ed. 1981). no. Phaedrus (243). The . 1972).. Rex Warner (Penguin. in Samuel Totten and Steven Leonard Jacobs (eds). ‘The Place of Herodotus in the History of Historiography’. 2000). 6 François Hartog. Janet Lloyd (University of California Press... p. Studies in Historiography (Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ‘The Émigré Sensibility of “World-Literature”: Historicising Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers’ Cosmopolitan Intent’. 1988). Also Stewart Florey.272–3. and introd. vol. p. The Greek Historians. Norman. ‘M. pp. CHAPTER 1 1 Herodotus.59. edited Hugh Bowden (Everyman. New York. pp. The Greek Historians. Genocide and Colonialism (Berghahn Books.32–3. Luce. 3 T. ch. pp. New York. Reflections on Women in Antiquity (Gordon and Breach Science Publishers. 8. also Ned Curthoys. 2005. pp. pp. Berkeley. The Histories.Walter Hamilton (Penguin. 8 Simon Goldhill.8. Theory and Event.3. History of the Peloponnesian War. 2000). pp. Carolyn Dewald. Rosaria Vignolo Munson. trans. trans. 1987).). John Gould.1–2. 2002). and she was represented at Troy by a phantom. 2002). no. also Thomas Harrison.M. Phaedrus.. See Plato.I. Chicago.3. 10 Raphaël Lemkin. refers to stories that Helen never left Sparta. London.. Finley. Introduction to Thucydides.xxiii–xxiv. pp. Telling Wonders.

Herodotus. Daiva Stasiulis and Nira Yuval-Davis (eds). pp. no. pp. Gorgo. speech to National Press Club. pp. 1988). ‘The Wise Adviser in Herodotus’. and shall chase him/Far away …’ For contemporary cultural theory. The Arabian Nights in English Literature (Macmillan. ‘Time shall be when the female shall conquer the male.3. and ‘The Enlightenment and Genocide’. ‘Women on Top’. trans..172–6. also 6.57.). ‘Whose Home? Expulsion. pp. 2002).1–18. Cf. London. pp. 184–7. Queen Atossa’s powerful speeches in Aeschylus’ The Persians (472 BCE). nevertheless. p.186–8. John Docker. 1492:The Poetics of Diaspora (Continuum. Basingstoke. 69–73. Faber and Faber London. Also. 1987). In The Histories 7. Unsettling Settler Societies: Articulations of Gender. Dewald. delighted. Sheherazade Through the Looking Glass:The Metamorphoses of the Thousand and One Nights (Curzon. 2001). 14–17. vol. 1984). Mikhail Bakhtin.33. Walter Benjamin. The Histories 2. Hartog. pp. 2003. The Other Side of Eden: Hunter-Gatherers. Cf. 111–37. Stanford. 13 February 1997. Classical Philology. Surrey. ‘Women and culture in Herodotus’ Histories’.296–304. gives crucial advice to the Lacedaemonians on how to read a message on wood from Demaratus. and this vapour serves them instead of a water-bath’ (4. enigmatic oracle which begins. London. cf.7.Notes to pages 22–31 . The Literary Absolute:The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism. shout for joy. Race. London.1. Journal of Australian Studies. Farmers and the Shaping of the World (2000. and Galarrwuy Yunupingu. In contemporary terms. Richard Lattimore.42–6 concerning the motif of the clever vengeful queen. the Scyths. 1975). vo. Melbourne. no. older and now married to Leonidas.. The Origin of German Tragic Drama.239.134–5 mentions that Rhodôpis had been a fellow-slave of ‘Æsop. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (Manchester University Press. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Archaic Smile of Herodotus (Wayne State University Press. Said. Manchester. See Ann Curthoys. pp. Cf. 87–90. Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy. in exile in Persia. cf. The Nervous Nineties (Oxford University Press. cf. 1983). see Francis Steegmuller (ed.34. 1991).. The Histories 4. 1988). John Osborne (Verso.The Scythians..61. Orientalism (Penguin.129–30.. Ethnicity and Class (Sage. Philip Barnard and Cheryl Lester (State University of New York Press. while they disliked bathing in water. which then gave off ‘such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed. JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory.xxiii. London.75–6.193 concerning African peoples: ‘Next to the Maxyan Libyans are the Zavecians. Exodus.). Our thanks to Ned Curthoys for knowledge of the Jena Romantics. Edward W. 1999). Albany. whose wives drive their chariots to battle’. trans. John Docker. pp. Hugh Brody. pp.5. and that Charaxus the man who ‘redeemed’ her for a ‘vast sum’ was ‘brother of Sappho the poetess’. Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford University Press. xxiv.. 1939. .26. also records a story about Scythian flax growing. p. The Mirror of Herodotus. Cf.75).116–19. 1996). pp. pp. 1995). and Exile in White Australian Historical Mythology’.. 1999. p. Caracciolo (ed..5–7. 241 . See Peter L. London. no. 1991). Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour (Michael Haag. ch. Detroit. the fable writer’. see especially Natalie Zemon Davis. Eva Sallis. were wont to throw hemp-seed upon red-hot stones. Concerning Kuchuk Hanem. warning of Xerxes’ intention to attack the Greeks.77. Canberra.109.

30–1. Juillet–Septembre 2003. London. 1907). and trans. 1991).. Luce. 1972). pp. in Larry May and Jerome Kohn (eds). 113. Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (Columbia University Press.. The Tragedy of Political Theory (Princeton University Press. 29 Benjamin. 1961). Peter Euben. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. pp. pp. ed. 1999. 86. p. Luce.51–2. NJ. (Our thanks to Ned Curthoys for this reference. 2002). pp. 1996). trans. p. 1944). ed. Oxford.. introduction by M. The Three Literary Letters. p. p. Ann Curthoys and John Docker. notes that Herodotus also neglected documentary research. 30. pp.5–7. see Mary Spongberg. The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens. London.Notes to pages 32–45 .79–80. The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens. Mikhail Bakhtin (Belknap Press. no. and Death: History as Allegory’. ‘The Political Dimension of the Public World: On Hannah Arendt’s Interpretation of Martin Heidegger’. 146 AC’. Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave. Cambridge. also Luce. Humanities Research.32–48. 1997). 44–7.240.167–201. 6 Cf. Cf. 9 Hannah Arendt. also Luce. observes that Thucydides does at times draw on documents. CHAPTER 2 1 Thucydides. and trans.72. 7 Mikhail Bakhtin. Luce. Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured (Southern Illinois University Press.116–17. Susan C. Carbondale and Edwardsville.70–1. Cf.W.241. 2 Dionysius of Halicarnassus. 35. suggests that ‘disciples of the Sophists’ like Euripides and Thucydides deployed Sophist methods in ‘works of tragedy or works of tragic implication’. 1990).264–5. 41. Jarratt. Manchester. Rex Warner.318–24. The Greek Historians. See also F. in books 5 and 8.73. Janet Lloyd (Clarendon Press. 11 Cf. . see also Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist. Diogène. Between Past and Future (1954. Eternity. J. The Greek Historians.24... ‘Time.. pp. Hannah Arendt:Twenty Years Later (The MIT Press. pp. History of the Peloponnesian War.205. see Ben Kiernan.63. pp. Cf. London.J. preferring oral tradition.10–13. writes that Thucydides was a disciple of the Sophists. Romilly.) 10 See Finley’s introduction to the History of the Peloponnesian War. Princeton. The Greek Historians (Routledge. pp. Jeffrey Andrew Brush. Thucydides Mythistoricus (Routledge and Kegan Paul. 106.. The Greek Historians.T. 2000). New York. ‘Le Premier Génocide: Carthage. London. MA. 5 See Marnie Hughes-Warrington. pp. I. London. Cambridge. pp. 47. pp. 1991). 90.69. MA.109. pp. 70–5. pp. pp. trans. 242. 4 For an interesting discussion of Thucydides in relation to gender.19–20.26–7. Finley (Penguin. 12 Raphaël Lemkin. (Our thanks to Ian Higgins for this reference. Cambridge. 8 Jacqueline de Romilly.I.Truth. Rhys Roberts (Cambridge University Press. The Greek Historians. Caryl Emerson (Manchester University Press. 1992). pp. Finley. Faber and Faber. Cornford.203. p. 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. London. and John Docker.) 3 Cf. introduction to Thucydides.. 242 . The Origin of German Tragic Drama. pp. Fifty Key Thinkers on History (Routledge. 1984). pp.M. Melbourne.28–9. 1901). The Nervous Nineties (Oxford University Press. 1984).

6 Cf. 2 Leonard Krieger. in Frank Ankersmit and Hans Kellner (eds). 2001). 1965). 1996). 1999). p. Passmore (ed. 1956).W.103). he feels entitled to use the evidence of Homer and other early poets in making his arguments. ‘The Concept of History’. p. Divinity and History:The Religion of Herodotus (Clarendon Press. Cambridge.312–35. ‘History and Literature: Reproduction or Signification’. J. Herodotus. vol.). Princeton. that she feels was established by Homer. New York. Cambridge.N. 162 note 56. 1967).). ch. p. The Pillars of Priestcraft Shaken:The Church of England and its Enemies.90.4. Priestley’s Writings on Philosophy. Kozicki (eds). p. London. in R.132–3. The Greek Historians. Princeton University Press. A New Philosophy of History (Reaktion Books. 2000). p. p. in three volumes (Edinburgh.. Canary and H. The Tragedy of Political Theory (1990) and more recent works like J. 1992). 13 Hannah Arendt. Oxford. 1986–87.74: ‘Since he [Thucydides] accepts the basic historicity of the Trojan War and even of a personage like Minos of Crete (1. Interests and Orders (Cambridge University Press. 1995).105. Nancy F. Princeton. The Origins of Totalitarianism (George Allen and Unwin. The Portable Nietzsche (Penguin. 20 Cf. pp. The Tragic Vision of Politics: Ethics. discussing the ‘impartiality’. R. Between Past and Future. pp. New Literary History. 4 See Linda Orr.’ 19 Cf. 14 We can note here that Thucydides is also usually considered the founding figure of international relations. p. Mearsheimer. Champion. in Knud Haakonssen (ed. Luce.A..46.2. Lebow. ‘The Revenge of Literature: A History of History’. The Greek Historians. 18 Cf. ‘Historicity in an Age of Reality-Fictions’. Iain McCalman.102–3. 7 Lionel Gossman. New York. ‘New Jerusalems: Prophecy. London.1–22. New York.110–11.I. The Moral Purpose of the State (Princeton University Press. The Writing of History: Literary Form and Historical . Norton.18. Dissent and Radical Culture in England.51. 1786–1830’. 1977). The Myth of Egypt and Its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition (1961. Hannah Arendt. 1660–1730 (Cambridge University Press. pp. 243 .H. London..123. 1993). Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in Eighteenth Century Britain (Cambridge University Press.Notes to pages 47–51 . Partner. 1823). 17 Concerning Thucydides’ interest in Sophist notions of probability and likelihood.) 15 Cf. pp. Jack. Luce. 3 Walter Kaufmann (ed.). pp. CHAPTER 3 1 Sir Walter Scott. Chicago.. 5 See Erik Iversen. ‘Divine Retribution’: ‘Herodotus believes that certain actions will inevitably receive retribution from the gods’ (p... Quentin Durward. 8). which would help explain Hannah Arendt’s interest in his writings in relation to the Athenian public sphere. p. Jarratt. 2003). and Thucydides. and Christian Reus-Smit.4.. 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. Cambridge. ch.. the sign of ‘all true historiography’. esp. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (W. Ranke:The Meaning of History (University of Chicago Press. cf.30: ‘Broadly defined.Thomas Harrison. John A. Science and Politics (Collier. Rereading the Sophists. 1982).47. The Gandhi Reader (Grove Press. see Euben. (Our thanks to Barry Naughten for invaluable notes concerning Thucydides and contemporary international relations debates.

vol. trans. Ranke. ‘Ranke Revisited:The “Dubious”Values of a Universal Historian’. and Arendt.. 143–4. Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation. pp. Dennis (George Bell and Sons..11–12. 209.9. p. Ibid. p. Cambridge. Iversen. 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.. London..10–16. pp. no. 121–2.). p. 193.56–8.17. pp. 45–54. 1990). 20. pp.56–9. trans.20. 1978). 19. John Osborne (Verso. 168. 1998). 1948). London. The Clothing of Clio.59–60. Jan Assmann. History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations.5.23. 1996).38. pp. ed. 1997).14.7–8. History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations. Ibid. Ranke. Walter Benjamin. 18. Cambridge. p. 15. pp.58. .241. Ranke. MA. Cf. Ranke. Ranke.2. pp. 136. MA. The Clothing of Clio. Bann. New York. Rahel Varnhagen:The Life of a Jewess. History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations (1494 to 1514).56–7. MA.Wines’ ‘Introduction’. 11. Steven Nadler. pp. Proposals for Redress (Columbia University Press. The Clothing of Clio (Cambridge University Press. 1944). 18–19.1–5. See Lord Acton. Richard and Clara Winston (Johns Hopkins University Press. p. Cambridge. 1981).3–9. The Gender of History: Men. p...111.. London. concerning Ranke’s view of Fichte. Ibid. Ibid.23. Cambridge. Raphaël Lemkin. Cambridge. Between History and Literature (Harvard University Press. pp.9. Stephen Bann. Baltimore. Roger Wines (ed.. Ibid.. Madison. Journal of Religious History. Cf. Ibid. John Moses. pp.Notes to pages 52–62 . 5–6. Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge University Press. Cf. Ranke: The Secret of World History.. pp. Cf. 1986.174. Ibid. 1909). Essays on Freedom and Power. Analysis of Government. Lionel Gossman. 126–8. p. The Origin of German Tragic Drama. in 1824 Champollion published Précis du Système Hiéroglyphique.3..Wines’ ‘Introduction’. 217.246.. p. p. Leopold von Ranke:The Secret of World History. 34. pp. pp.80. and that Ranke thought history could be superior to philosophy. Smith. Moses the Egyptian:The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism (Harvard University Press. ‘The Holy Hieroglyph’. 116. See also Bonnie G. p. in Ranke: The Secret of World History. Ibid.168–9. Leopold von Ranke. p. 1997). Bann.117–19. trans.R. pp. pp. Selected Writings on the Art and Science of History (Fordham University Press. ed. Ranke: The Secret of World History.4–5.8. Ill. Glencoe. Ibid. and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press. 7–11.. Ibid. Gertrude Himmelfarb (The Free Press. p. p.Women. 1999). The Burden of Our Time (Secker and Warburg. G.. 1984). pp.. Ranke: The Secret of World History. Liliane Weissberg. 244 . Hannah Arendt. New York..11.. Cf.240–1. ‘The Holy Hieroglyph’. ‘Introduction’ to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations in Ranke:The Secret of World History. 1951). pp..

2001). and the Waverley Novels (Cornell University Press.523–4. Cf. p. Peter Novick. 1994). 43 Cf.130. pp. 206. vol. 1991). London.13. 49 Ferris.15. Chicago. 2005). vol. vol. 1981). very shrewd. England in 1819:The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism (University of Chicago Press. pp. 156–7.106. 52 Trumpener. Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave.9–11. Katie Trumpener. 350. 347–9. Waverley (Penguin. 1997). 245 .. primarily by women writers. .20. 69. 1984).II: pp. 51. History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations.86–110. 36 Scott. 31. vol. p. Bardic Nationalism. The Achievement of Literary Authority.II: pp.493. 44 Scott. ‘Ranke Revisited…’. 47 Lukács. Penguin/Peregrine. 41 Scott. London. Quentin Durward. trans. 1985). Waverley. The Dialogic Imagination (University of Texas Press. The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland (Cambridge University Press. and Barbara Caine (eds). Quentin Durward. 1991).72. The Historical Novel. and discerning enough besides’. 29–30. refers to Louis XI as ‘very suspicious.II: pp. 118. p.173. 8. Oxford. over the decade preceding the publication of Waverley’. 2002). 162. 485–6. 130–3. 39 Scott. Hannah and Stanley Mitchell (1937.30–1. Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire (Princeton University Press. Cambridge. 111–137. pp. ch. 127. The Achievement of Literary Authority: Gender. 51 Marilyn Butler. That Noble Dream (Cambridge University Press. 38 See Mary Spongberg. Ann Curthoys.. 135. 40 Mikhail Bakhtin. 87–97. pp. vol. Manchester. also John Docker. The Clothing of Clio. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (Manchester University Press. London and New York. 42 Cf. Princeton. in Mary Spongberg. also Bann. 45 Ranke: The Secret of World History. 1492:The Poetics of Diaspora (Continuum. Austin.27.242. The Historical Novel. ch. Quentin Durward.4. p. also pp. Quentin Durward. pp. vol.21. 69–73. 2002). 31. Cambridge.I: pp. pp.7–10. p.I: pp. 121–7. NJ. Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press.11–13. 1988). pp. ‘Women’s Historical Fiction’.11. 1998). See also Ina Ferris. vol..271. ‘a genre developed in Ireland. 35 Georg Lukács.131–2 apropos the influence on the historical novel of the national tale. History. 1829’. Maria Edgeworth: A Literary Biography (Clarendon. ch.I: pp. Harmondsworth. The Nervous Nineties: Australian Cultural Life in the 1890s (Oxford University Press. 174.120–1. Ina Ferris. Ithaca.257–9. and Moses. and ‘General Preface. Cambridge. ch. James Chandler. 53 Our debt here is to the fine essay by Clara Tuite. pp. 1969). p. 46 Scott.2.237–56. pp.16.II: p.. 14–17. Quentin Durward.III: pp.2. p.Wines’ ‘Introduction’. ‘Introduction’ by Andrew Hook... A Companion to Women’s Historical Writing (Palgrave. 1972)..Notes to pages 62–8 . 50 Scott.. pp. 183.57. Harmondsworth. 394–8. also John Docker. 167. vol.124. Mikhail Bakhtin. NY. p. 36. Melbourne. 34 Cf. John Docker.282. pp. 48 Sir Walter Scott.5–7. 37 Ranke. 144.

. 1838–1886 (Cambridge University Press. pp. CHAPTER 4 1 Blaise Pascal. and Archaeologists in Victorian England. 1973). 212–14 note 8.293. 99. 120.). ed. Stern (Cambridge University Press. Man on His Past:The Study of the History of Historical Scholarship (Cambridge University Press.Wines’ ‘Introduction’. 20. Dark Riddle: Hegel.23. and the question of Burckhardt’s possible antisemitism in contrast to Nietzsche’s gathering dislike of anti-semitism.A. pp. R. 91. 17. pp. ‘On the uses and disadvantages of history for life’.. 141. MA.Wines’ ‘Introduction’. 121–3. 4 Ranke. 222.148–9. 56. ch. Reflections on History. Aram Veeser (ed. 15 Ibid. pp.. Acton and History. 3 Cf.119–20. in H. Fitzsimons. Cambridge. 18. p. 10 For Nietzsche’s attitudes to Burckhardt. Dent and Sons. The Amateur and the Professional: Antiquarians. pp.Wines’ ‘Introduction’. p. Cambridge. Ranke: The Secret of World History.77–8. London. H.. and the Jews (Polity Press. Cambridge. p.58.T. 42–4. Cf. 246 .M.). 30.. Historians. 115.59–64. Acton and History (Cambridge University Press. p. trans. 137–8. New York. concerning Ranke’s ‘celebration of the great nation-states’. 38. 1998). 5 Ranke: The Secret of World History. Cambridge University Press. trans. 25. pp. 50. Louis Lafuma. see Paul Collins. 169. 62.104. 1983). 18 Cited in Herbert Butterfield. 41..27. New York. pp. pp.. 1948). 40. p. trans.2. p. The Amateur and the Professional. 180. Ill. 69. The New Historicism (Routledge. J. Bann. p.1–6. See Stephen Bann. 205. 1986). ch. 86 note 1. 20 Chadwick. John Warrington. introd. pp. Concerning the long tradition of Vatican censorship of Catholic intellectuals. 130– 1950). 64. in Roger Wines (ed.. 14 Ibid. 86–7. London. 1981). 6 See Bonnie G. 20–1. 75. Nietzsche. Notre Dame and London. 1995). 21. 120.. Pensées. 29. Smith. Reflections on History. ‘Introduction’ to History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations.D.8. introd.102–4. 12–13. 8 Jacob Burckhardt. 11. see Yirmiyahu Yovel. The Past Recaptured: Great Historians and the History of History (University of Notre Dame Press.. Cambridge. cf. 2 Friedrich Nietzsche. pp.16–17. p. The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals.13.J.20. 20–23. 1998).P. 135. p. Untimely Meditations. 9 Burckhardt. Hollingdale.3. and Object in the Formation of Historical Consciousness in Nineteenth-Century Britain’.30 (number 90). p.Text. From . ‘The Sense of the Past’. also Ranke: The Secret of World History. 1989).. Untimely Meditations. The Gender of History: Men. trans. Essays on Freedom and Power. 17 See Levine. 7 Lord Acton. 12 Ibid. ‘The Sense of the Past: Image. New York.Women and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press.2. 35. 1998). ‘Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History’. London. pp. Cambridge. pp.4. 35. 83. edited Gertrude Himmelfarb (The Free Press. Cambridge. also Peter Novick. M. 16 Friedrich Nietzsche.Notes to pages 69–77 .. Leopold von Ranke:The Secret of World History (Fordham University Press..103. 1956). Francis Golffing (Doubleday Anchor.H. 19 Owen Chadwick. 90–4. 11 Friedrich Nietzsche. M. 1983). (George Allen and Unwin. That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession (1988.68–75 13 Ibid. Barnwell (J. p. 65. 54. 1955). Philippa Levine. Glencoe. pp.

pp. Cf..The inaugural lecture is also printed in Harold Temperley (ed. 29 Acton. pp..24–6. 2002). 115. p.215–16. pp. 41 ‘Clio.)..202–4.. 43 Ibid. pp.. 62. 24 Ibid..3–22. Genocide. p. 40 See G.151–6.223–5. ‘Autobiography of an Historian’. ‘The Enlightenment. Gertrude Himmelfarb. Cleveland.226. pp.4. ‘The reconstruction of an historical episode: the history of the enquiry into the origins of the Seven Years War’. 218. pp. 215–25. 1949). London.214–15.227. ch. 234–5. 26 Mary Spongberg. 31 Ibid.23. 39 Ibid. Selected Essays of J. Green and Co. 221. New Perspectives on Historical Writing (Polity Press..24. pp. That Noble Dream. pp. pp. pp. vol. Cambridge.20. Fritz Stern (ed.. 1966). London. 220. Bury. 22–8.. though shorn of the polemical references to Bury. 33 Ibid. Peter Burke (ed.73.5.Notes to pages 77–85 . Chadwick.5–6. 45 J.. 231.14.. pp. Man on His Past. pp. Evans.248.. The Varieties of History. p. The Varieties of History. In Defence of History (Granta Books. 13.). Bury (Cambridge University Press.‘Autobiography of an Historian’. Chadwick. p.The Socinians. pp.).343–52.17–18.Trevelyan. 2001). pp.13. pp.142–70. 38 Ibid. Clio.. Journal of Genocide Research. pp. in Fritz Stern (ed. pp. 34 Lord Acton. Chadwick. p.. following on from an Italian theological sect of the sixteenth century. ‘Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History’. Acton and History.211. 25 Ibid. 192–9. London.3–5.3.). Acton and History. Concerning ‘Socinian’ figures like Spinoza and John Toland. A Muse’ was published in December 1903 in the Independent Review. pp. Inquisition to Freedom (Simon and Schuster. 42 Fritz Stern (ed. introductory note. Novick. 20. ‘Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History’. London. Sydney. 37 Bury. ‘The Holy Hieroglyph’. 32 Ibid.251–2.228–35.).247–9. see John Docker. Acton and History. 21 Chadwick. pp.).. 1997). 11. Cf. did not believe that Jesus was of divine origin. A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great.231–5.5. . 2003.. 187–8.1. London. 35 Ranke: The Secret of World History. 28 Cf.13. Lord Acton: A Study in Conscience and Politics (Routledge and Kegan Paul. In Defence of History. 150. 1977). p. Butterfield. The Varieties of History: From Voltaire to the Present (Meridian. ch. 145–6. writes of Acton’s Letter: ‘American historians had parallel aspirations for their collective labors’. 223. 247 . 16–21. pp. 44 Trevelyan. The Varieties of History. Acton and History. p.B.M.5.241.. pp. pp. 1952). 27 Chadwick.B. p. 30 Ibid. 9–13. ‘The Science of History’. fourth edition (Macmillan. Bury.239–43. 9.210–11.210–16. in Fritz Stern (ed. Acton and History.3–29. London. 23 Acton. An Autobiography and Other Essays (Longmans.B. 22 Chadwick. for Trevelyan’s portrait of Acton. ‘Letter to the Contributors to the Cambridge Modern History’. pp. 1930). p. and reprinted as the lead essay.. pp. 1991). ‘The Science of History’.25–7. in Trevelyan’s 1913 volume of the same name. A Muse. 228. pp. Postmodernity’. ed. pp.Wines. Richard J. Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave. See also Evans. Acton and History. 36 J. no.

100–2.60. 52 ‘Cleopatra’s Nose’. Bury. ‘Thucydides. E. Harmondsworth. 48 Cornford. pp. Carr. p. It should be noted that Cornford was not concerned with Thucydides’ conscious intentions.51–2. 2 H. 6 Croce. Harmondsworth. 142–3. 125–9. 1983). 54 Temperley (ed.. Thucydides Mythistoricus. Kieran Egan. London. ‘Cleopatra’s Nose’. CHAPTER 5 1 R. Evans.. 1978). in Robert H. 53 Ibid. 138–9.134. Philip Vellacott (Penguin. London.. Canary and Henry Kozicki (eds).122. The Idea of History (1946. 4 See Marnie Hughes-Warrington. pp. Brace and Co..130.Vintage Books.237–43. Collingwood. Tragedian’. Novick gives an account..111–28.B. 1965).B. p.. History: Its Theory and Practice. 248 .viii. 66–8. Thucydides Mythistoricus. p. Cf. History and Theory. London. Oxford. New York. New York. Stuart Hughes. ‘History and Chronicle’.60–9. 50 Temperley (ed. 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.70–1. 46 F.. trans. Cf. 5 Benedetto Croce. p. pp. pp. In Defence of History. Cambridge University Press.. reprinted as ‘History and Chronicle’ in Hans Meyerhoff (ed. 145.G.. Fifty Key Thinkers on History (Routledge. p. 1921). 9 Ibid.M. Oxford.). pp. 1965).46. Collingwood. but with a structure of mind: see Thucydides Mythistoricus. The Philosophy of History in Our Time (Doubleday Anchor. That Noble Dream:The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession (1988. 136. R... See Aeschylus. pp. p.).123–4.). pp. New York. Cornford.60–1. The Ancient Greek Historians (Macmillan. 1977). pp. Madison. Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1995).63–92.B.H. Lionel Gossman. pp.G. 49–52. p.55. 2003. vol. p. Thucydides Mythistoricus (1907. 1978). pp. 1970). 47 Cornford. Consciousness and Society:The Reorientation of European Social Thought 1890–1939 (1958. Cf. The Writing of History: Literary Form and Historical Understanding (University of Wisconsin Press. p. Bury.90. 8 Ibid. of the impact of World War I on American historiography. Selected Essays of J.11–26. Selected Essays of J. Penguin.241.45. Oxford University Press. pp. Prometheus Bound and Other Plays. ‘Anecdote and History’.69. 1959).47. 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.. Douglas Ainslie (Harcourt. An Autobiography (1939.vii–ix. pp. pp. Cornford is suggesting that the tragedy of hubris evoked in The Persians – where King Xerxes’ naval force. 7 Ibid. 51 Ibid. 2000).42 (May). Bury. sardonic yet also rather saddened. What is History? (1961. with its ambition to move westwards to expand the Persian empire. Preface.161.48–55.. trans. . pp. Peter Novick. 3 In That Noble Dream. Oxford University Press. Cf. Cambridge.Notes to pages 86–93 .149–51. pp. p. and introd. 1909). pp. 62.. 49 J. 130–1.

. 1993). in Ann Curthoys and Ann McGrath (eds).169.137. 217–18. 32 Ibid.64. cautions that Croce’s influence on American historians like Beard and Becker is difficult to assess with precision. JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. 35 Novick.. 23 Becker. ‘Of Skulls and Stealth: Reflections on the Image of the New Military Technology’.). 22 Carl L. 2003. The Philosophy of History in Our Time. 26 Ibid.. and passim. The Origin of German Tragic Drama. see Mark Dorrian. The Gender of History. 31 Smith.. 27 Ibid. Amherst. no. pp. Los Angeles. ‘Writing from fragments’. vol. 18 Ibid. 29 Butterfield. 105. 1998).. The Origin of German Tragic Drama. 2000). pp. 1958). The Origin of German Tragic Drama. 1955. 217. May 2000. Melbourne. Carbondale and Edwardsville. 28 Herbert Butterfield.. The Origin of German Tragic Drama.121–3.. Detachment and the Writing of History. see pp. The Whig Interpretation of History (1931. See also Bonnie G. The Whig Interpretation of History.154–6. 1994). pp.327–40.131–2. In his introduction. 78.7). London. pp..100.41–64. Human Beings. pp.74–6. The Whig Interpretation of History. Animals. 19 Cf. 30 Bonnie G. 24 Ibid. 20 Cf. 34 Ibid. 247 n. Melancholy Dialectics:Walter Benjamin and the Play of Mourning (University of Massachusetts Press. That Noble Dream..1150–76. American Historical Review vol..68.1. 182. 1950). pp.. p.8. pp. pp.252–8. 16 Benjamin.. pp. Beard: An Intellectual Biography (Southern Illinois University Press. ‘Gender and the practices of scientific history: the seminar and archival research in the nineteenth century’. 36 Ellen Nore. Smith. pp. For the friendship of Becker and Beard. edited Phil. 15 Max Pensky. Bell and Sons.. 1996). pp. 222.Notes to pages 93–100 .266–7.72–5. The Western Political Quarterly. Ithaca. 92–3. pp.28–39.131–2. trans. ch. Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press. 12 Cf. Smith.98–111. 58–70. .100–2. George Steiner refers to its writing and publication history (p. 21 Benjamin. 1998). pp.128. pp. 17 Ibid. pp. 164–6. and Angels (University of California Press. 91.33.120–37. Snyder (Cornell University Press. pp. reprinted in Meyerhoff (ed. 88–91.1–3. vol. 81. Becker.Women.177–80. Concerning the death’s head in contemporary theory. 99. pp. John Docker. Writing Histories: Imagination and Narration (Monash Publications in History. John Osborne (1928. pp. 140. L. pp. 2.136–7. Melbourne. pp. Mass. no. 11 Novick.Verso. Walter Benjamin’s Other History: Of Stones. p. G. NY..116. p. ‘What are Historical Facts?’ in Meyerhoff (ed. Charles A..130–3.50.. John Docker’s review in Seminar: a Journal of Germanic Studies. 14 Benjamin. The Philosophy of History in Our Time. Cambridge. Cf. 13 Walter Benjamin. The Gender of History: Men. including similarities and differences.3.. pp. pp. 25 Ibid.). pp. London.160.. 72. 1983). Becker. 33 Butterfield. also republished in Carl L. Beatrice Hanssen. That Noble Dream. 10 Ibid. no.21.45–6.119. pp.4. 249 . p. ‘What are historical facts?’. John Docker. 1995.124–6.104. and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press. chs. pp.

42 Ibid.254–5. ‘Making Up Lost Time:Writing on the Writing of History’.255–8.. 1997). The Idea of History. 2003.. pp.262–3. however.89–90. 2002).212. 38 Beard. A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard through her Letters (Yale University Press.3. 1978).). edited and introd.). pp. pp.45. The Language of the Third Reich. pp. trans. 50 Collingwood. New Haven. London. ‘Nazism as Modern Magic: Bronislaw Malinowski’s Political Anthropology’. New Haven.The section on ‘The Historical Imagination’ is reprinted in Meyerhoff (ed. 55 Momme Brodersen.. 1986. Hannah Arendt (Schocken Books. pp.51. and defraud the public. p. 45 Collingwood. 48 Ibid. p. pp. Hannah Arendt’s introduction to Illuminations. 49 Collingwood. . The Idea of History. It has been argued by the Holocaust historian Dan Stone. 41 Ibid. ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’. ‘History and Chronicle’. pp. 60 Homer A.151. Cf. 1982).253–64. The Gandhi Reader (Grove Press..142–3. Continuum. Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (Temple University Press. ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’. pp. interpreting Nazism as a kind of primitive religion. steal from one another. did try to understand processes that seem irrational to the Western mind. pp.. p.’ 58 Benjamin. Oxford University Press. 52 Beard. pp. London. ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’. ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’. 40 Ibid. The Philosophy of History in Our Time. Walter Benjamin: A Biography. 61 Croce. Jack (ed. 1969). p.. no.115. 37 Nancy F. pp.66–84.254–6.254. History and Anthropology. 51 Ibid. vol. 262. p. pp. 101. Oxford.173–5.141. 47 Ibid. 250 . p.149. Green and Ingrida Ligers (Verso. in Meyerhoff (ed.. 43 Ibid.142. 1956). Malcom R.10.144–7.. pp.Notes to pages 101–09 . 261. An Autobiography. 39 Ibid. Harry Zohn. New York.214. vol. pp. pp. that in his as-yet unpublished studies of folk tales Collingwood.G. 62 Benjamin. 95–7. cf.201–4. pp.110: ‘Scientists can fiddle their data.. pp. ‘Written History as an Act of Faith’. Illuminations. 46 Ibid. 54 Gerda Lerner. Nancy Partner. pp. p. CT. 64 Elisabeth Young-Bruehl. 63 Ibid. Philadelphia. pp..236–7.241. 44 See R.. trans..14. 110–15. only historians can betray all the generations of the dead. The Philosophy of History in Our Time.6. The Idea of History (1946. Concerning the notion of crystallisation. 166–7. p. p... Our thanks to Ned Curthoys for suggesting we read Klemperer’s deeply moving book.. no.162. 56 Walter Benjamin. Martin Brady (1957. See Dan Stone.1991). Speculum.. pp. 55.107. ‘Written History as an Act of Faith’.251–8.110–11. 53 See Victor Klemperer.1. 2002).91–2.. Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (Yale University Press.).140. 101. 242–7. New York. 257. 57 Benjamin. Collingwood.. p. trans.Cott.. 59 Ibid. p.

71 Hempel. Theories of History. 78 Lemkin Papers. 69 Ibid. ‘The Holocaust and Genocide’. 2005). Durham. p. vol.39–43. pp. accessed at <http://www. 68 Ibid. 353. 2003). pp. p. ‘Totally Unofficial Man’.3. pp. Philosophy of History (Prentice-Hall. History and Theory. Illinois. also Edward W.164. pp. 1995). NC. 79 Cf. box of manuscripts entitled ‘History of Genocide’. Proposals for Redress (Columbia University Press. New York. Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World. Journal of Philosophy. vol. ‘The Function of General Laws in History’. New Brunswick and London. Said.org/lemkin/freeworld1945. ‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide (HarperCollins Perennial. pp. London. 351. ‘M.214–15.). 70 Novick. Freud and the Non-European (Verso in association with the Freud Museum. p. 1944).32. 67 Carl G. Cambridge University Press. Breathturn (1967). Ann Curthoys and John Docker. p.htm> 76 Cf.). See also William H.2. April 1945. trans. Dirk Moses.346–50. ‘The Image of Ranke in American and German Historical Thought’.344.).351. Cambridge. That Noble Dream. 80 Power.. pp.378–81. New York City. pp. Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History (Berghahn Books..266–92. 2 Georg G.345–6.393–4.78 and 535 note 48.Notes to pages 109–15 .M.5–7.57. Folder 6..533–55. Pioneers of Genocide Studies (Transaction Publishers. Series III. That Noble Dream:The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession (1988. . forthcoming 2006). pp. 1964). 65 See Patrick Gardiner (ed. 75 Lemkin.1–15. Our thanks to Christine Winter. in Samuel Totten and Steven Leonard Jacobs (eds). Bakhtin and “World Literature”’. 1995). Ann Curthoys. in Dan Stone (ed. Settlercolonies’. Katerina Clark.. ‘The Function of General Laws in History’. 2004). 66 Novick. vol. That Noble Dream..392. ‘A Problem from Hell’. London. 74 Raphaël Lemkin. See chapters 2–5. Axis Power in Occupied Europe.. 2001. 73 Young-Bruehl. reprinted in Gardiner (ed. 81 Cf. no. New York. p. 385. 356. ‘Genocide: Definitions. 2003).79.344–5. ‘Genocide – A Modern Crime’. p. ‘The History of Killing and the Killing of History’. 2002. Raphaël Lemkin. ‘A Problem from Hell’. 351. pp. Box 8. also Samantha Power. Dray.25–6. 72 Ibid. the American Jewish Historical Society. Ann Curthoys and John Docker.26. 1962. Englewood Cliffs. p.20. 3 Peter Novick. New York. 251 . pp.. Hempel. CHAPTER 6 1 Paul Celan.. 2004). London. pp. Questions. Power. Archive Stories (Duke University Press. See also Dirk Moses (ed. p. pp.preventgenocide. The Historiography of the Holocaust (Palgrave..25. 15 West 16th Street. p. Axis Power in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation.). Iggers. Los Angeles. 2002).. JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. Analysis of Government. 77 Lemkin. Theories of History (The Free Press. Free World – ‘A Magazine devoted to the United Nations and Democracy’. Sub series 2. 1959). ‘Defining Genocide’.79. 1942. Glencoe. in Antoinette Burton (ed.. The Historiography of Genocide (Palgrave. pp.).347. pp.). vol. Aboriginal History.39. NJ. 398–9. in Dan Stone (ed. Pierre Joris (Sun and Moon Press.

Oxford University Press. 50. New Haven. 1981).205–7.34. 1972).Vintage. Cf. Oxford. 25 See. pp. 75.9. New York..). ch. New York. Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (Yale University Press. Hanover.). Illuminations. bring forth ironies. 16 Hannah Arendt. Cohen. pp... The World. 32–4. 78. Historical Inevitability (1954. Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence (Clarendon Press. Batsford. pp.Tucker (ed. Language (Cornell University Press. also 93. 1997). 17 Ibid. 25. ‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in History’. p.. 1983). trans. pp. p. Use and Abuse of History (Yale University Press. New York. pp. 7 See Michael Ignatieff.436.. 19 Ibid. London. Faber and Faber. The Philosophy of History in Our Time (Doubleday Anchor. 1969). Said.20. Norton. 23 See Tucker (ed. ‘The Concept of History’. Rethinking Intellectual History.). Theories of History (The Free Press. 1959). pp. vol.Notes to pages 117–24 . 14 Ibid.Vintage. 1955).233–41. 244. 21 For another categorisation of Marx’s theory of history. p.86. Debates with Historians (B. 71. p. see pp. ‘History and Chronicle’.53–4. 11.. p. 50–53. p. p. 1984). 11 See Benedetto Croce. 1955). 24 Tucker (ed..272. 8. Adamson. ch. ‘Reading Marx:The Case of The Eighteenth Brumaire’. 252 . 1978). pp. 18 Ibid. 20. see G.56. ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’. 1955). p. and introd.52–3.51. Historical Inevitability. pp. The Dialogic Imagination. convicts The Eighteenth Brumaire of various kinds of snobbishness and elitism.).255. ‘Historical Determinism and the Philosophy of History. and the Carnivalesque’. London.. 13 Elisabeth Young-Bruehl.5–6.A. ‘Marx’s Four Histories: An Approach to his Intellectual Development’. enable multi- . Contexts. 18. Edward W. Iggers. for example. History and Theory. For a detailed philosophical analysis. 230 notes 12 and 14. Historical Inevitability. Isaiah Berlin: A Life (1998. London. 9 Ibid. The Marx–Engels Reader. see Walter L. ed. 20 See Robert C.. 22 Mikhail Bakhtin. 1961). from History: Its Theory and Practice. the Text..2.3–6. Between Past and Future (1954. 57. pp. pp. 18. in Patrick Gardiner (ed. 86. London. 6 Isaiah Berlin. concerning Historical Inevitability. See also Geyl.43. New Haven. LaCapra.T. ‘Bakhtin.200–1. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (University of Texas Press. 89–90. Glencoe Illinois. 1991). 16–17. 13.124–5. NY. 15 Benedetto Croce. 8 Berlin.. Georg G.The essay is part of chapter IV of Croce’s History – Its Theory and Practice (1917). ch.VI.46.).. pp. and the Critic (1984. pp.8. Rethinking Intellectual History:Texts.. Marxism. Dominick LaCapra. by Hannah Arendt (Schocken Books. argues that The Eighteenth Brumaire reveals how much ‘repetition’ can unsettle meanings. 26 Tucker (ed. 2000). London.).379–402. Austin. 5 Geyl.4–12. The Marx–Engels Reader (W. reprinted in Hans Meyerhoff (ed.335. Debates with Historians.6. Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge (Wesleyan University Press. Ithaca. pp. The Marx–Engels Reader. 10–11. 4 Pieter Geyl.48–50. 1981.15 note 1.88. 12 Berlin.Walter Benjamin. p. p. 1959). 10 Ibid. The Marx–Engels Reader. 18–19..W.

. Said. trans. ‘An Autobiography’. pp. Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays (1955.). Orientalism (1978.. pp. The Marx–Engels Reader. 1962). Barbara Fuchs. Deke Dusinberre (Routledge. p. Methuen. Peter Burke.xiii–xxii. Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses (Routledge. 1995). see. 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. E. Rethinking Intellectual History.19. p. Harvey J. London.William Collins and Sons. 1990). Ibid. The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (1986.480. pp.. 1995). Willie Thompson et al. vol. 1993).129. 1972). G. Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays. The Marx–Engels Reader.1 (1949. 479–80. Rethinking History. no.. 2001). 1980). See also the moving tributes and appreciations entitled Raphael Samuel 1934–1996 (London. See LaCapra. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton University Press. Mass. ‘History and the Social Sciences’. Braudel. 1996). The Mestizo Mind. The Whig Interpretation of History (1931. New York.. ‘History and the Social Sciences’. Ibid. Historiography and the British Marxist Historians (Pluto Press.. Ibid. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. New York.171–84..). commenting that Marx creates the French society of the time as a ‘carnival of dunces’. NY. Gertrude Himmelfarb. E. 253 . 1997. Ibid. Cornell University Press.166–7. Ann Curthoys and John Docker. Cambridge. London. p.441. p.283 re ‘topsy-turvy’.. p. London. Ithaca. in On History (University of Chicago Press. 1987). p.33. Said’s notion of repetition as destabilising can perhaps be compared to recent theories of mimesis. Cambridge. 1994). Bell and Sons. 1984). Ibid. Ibid. pp. 2002).1. p. Cambridge. The New History and the Old (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. London. Fernand Braudel.97.131–2. p. Oakeshott. London. chs13 and 14. Routledge and Kegan Paul.47. Ithaca. 2000).160.. 206. 1950).. The British Marxist Historians: An Introductory Analysis (Polity Press. has noted the important place of sexual metaphors in this pessimistic account of the historical enterprise. and Serge Gruzinski.).. (eds).. Mimesis and Empire:The New World. pp. Tucker (ed. 1980). p. London.H. London. See also John Docker.Notes to pages 124–30 . ‘The Two Histories: Metaphor in English Historiographical Writing’. NY. Chicago. pp. Michael Oakeshott. Michael Taussig. also p. Kaye.H.153–7. also 513. Fernand Braudel. pp. . p.259–73. see Dipesh Chakrabarty. vol.3.159..The verbal energy of Marx’s evocation of the Paris lumenproletariat drew the attention of Peter Stallybrass and Allon White. 51. Islam.288.164. for example. Carr: A Critical Appraisal (Palgrave. in Michael Cox (ed. p. Cf. Tucker (ed. For critique of Eurocentrism in European history generally. Postmodernism and Popular Culture (Cambridge University Press.. Cambridge.48 Herbert Butterfield. 2000). pp. Carr. See comments on Marx in Edward W. The French Historical Revolution:The Annales School 1929–1989 (Polity Press. and European Identities (Cambridge University Press. 21.

46. Leopold von Ranke.9. pp.26. 1990). Ibid. ‘On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense’ (1873). That Noble Dream.126–31..14. Margins of Philosophy. 1986.. p. ‘The Decline and Fall of the Analytical Philosophy of History’. 10.29. See also Roger Wines (ed.213. in Frank Ankersmit and Hans Kellner (eds). Puffin. 254 . p. University of Chicago Press.242–3. 1982). Leopold von Ranke:The Secret of World History (Fordham University Press. pp. Leopold von Ranke. Novick. ‘Ranke Revisited: The “Dubious” Values of a Universal Historian’. p.26–7. Moses. 101.). pp. pp. John A.ix.. 334. 16. pp. pp. also Peter Burke.172. Harmondsworth. 1986). p. p. pp. New York.Wines’ ‘Introduction’. trans. 1995).. Leopold von Ranke and the Shaping of the Historical Discipline (Syracuse University Press. Iggers. What is History? (1961.18. King Solomon’s Mines (1885. p. no. Danto. ‘Ranke the Reactionary’. Harmondsworth. Ibid. Indianapolis.. ‘The Crisis of the Rankean Paradigm in the Nineteenth Century’. Landscape and Memory (HarperCollins. p. Novick. Iggers and James M. 1977)..82–8. Ibid. vol. 25. A New Philosophy of History (Reaktion .189–91.. pp. p. Chicago. 1973). That Noble Dream. Ibid. Historiography in the Twentieth Century. in Iggers and Powell (eds).37–42. 1965). Simon Schama. Haggard. 4 Arthur C. in Iggers and Powell (eds). Alan Bass (1972. 2 Jacques Derrida. That Noble Dream. pp.. Anne McClintock. Carr.2. in Georg G. Powell (eds).). p. Journal of Religious History. 30.Notes to pages 131–8 .73–80. pp. ed. 8. Ibid. Cf. Ranke:The Meaning of History (University of Chicago Press. Ibid.7. London. David Simpson. London. pp. pp. Iggers. 1995). p. Rider H..28. pp. ‘The Image of Ranke in American and German Historical Thought’. 26–7.. ‘The Image of Ranke…’. pp. 3 Ibid.26–31.23. for example. Chicago.. The Nervous Nineties (Oxford University Press.. ‘Ranke as the Teacher of Jacob Burckhardt’. 1975). See. Leonard Krieger. p. Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Conquest (Routledge. Melbourne. 29–36. Berlin.. Ibid. The Theory and Practice of History. 30. Historical Inevitability. 20–1. 1981). Ibid. London. Novick. Nationalism.19–21.16. 143. Imperial Leather: Race. pp. Ibid. Felix Gilbert.7–9.. pp. See Iggers’ introduction to Leopold von Ranke. pp. pp. 1991).22.178.. p.23.18–21.. p. and the Revolt Against Theory (University of Chicago Press.xix–xx.258.. Chicago. NY. Penguin. 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 Carr.38.23. Iggers. John Docker. What is History?.2–3. Iggers. Cf. The Portable Nietzsche (Penguin. Georg Iggers and Konrad von Moltke (Bobbs-Merrill. Syracuse. CHAPTER 7 1 Walter Kaufmann (ed. Romanticism. 1993).

London. 14 Vann. Carr: A Critical Appraisal (Palgrave. pp. See Marc Manganaro (ed.). pp. in Ankersmit and Kellner (eds).xiv.56–97. 42.Thompson. The Savage Mind (1962. 1968). Lévi-Strauss’s own writing like Tristes Tropiques influenced the break in anthropology towards considering ethnographic texts as literary. The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays (Merlin Press. pp. ‘Turning Linguistic’. NJ. pp. says that Hexter’s reality rule is ‘helpful’.. 69. pp. 7 Ibid.. Alan Bass (1967..Notes to pages 139–47 . 1970). Doing History. ‘The Lessons of What is History?’. ch. pp. See also Vann. 28 A point made by Barbara Johnson: see Jacques Derrida. Granada.Vann. 15 Thompson. 1978). London. in Michael Lane (ed. 1967). 21 Ibid. Cambridge.H. 1971). For a more extended discussion of Lévi-Strauss. also Novick. London. 9 E. and introd. pp. 2000). 24. Introduction to Structuralism (Basic Books.Thompson. pp.40–1. 23 Ibid. E. A New Philosophy of History. 1995). 11 Anders Stephanson. ‘Time.. Dissemination. Mythologies (1957.47–8. 26. London.).Work-Discipline.27–30. ‘The Rhetoric of History’. Books. 217–69.10. Modernist Anthropology: From Fieldwork to Text (Princeton University Press. pp.. 249 note 32.71–116. pp. in Michael Cox (ed.H.). pp. trans.56–9.13. though he adds that Hexter uses it oppose any Marxist history. 1966). London. . pp.. 61. That Noble Dream. London.12–22. 85. no. ‘Turning Linguistic: History and Theory and History and Theory. trans. pp. cf. 24 Claude Lévi-Strauss. Cambridge University Press. 29. 43. 13. 8 Ibid.30–1. Green. New York. 1990). pp.22. Hexter’s Reappraisals in History (1961. 20 Ibid. 69–71. 16 J. 19 Ibid. 13 See Peter Novick.286.70–8. pp. White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (Routledge. 40. Cambridge.P.278–93... Barbara Johnson (Athlone. 71.P. 1994). 52–3. Past and Present.67.P. 249. 255 . 1995). Doing History (George Allen and Unwin. p.52–6. especially pp. pp. That Noble Dream (1988. 66.. and Co. 1979). London.394. pp. 1978)..52–5. ‘Labour History and Cultural Studies’. 1960–1975’. Harmondsworth. Introduction. p. London.38.387 note 37. 232–6.16. p. Penguin Books. Writing and Difference.. p. 6 E.19..21. Introduction. Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press. 10 See E. 17 Hexter.68. Labour History. 75–6. 21. London. The Poverty of Theory..145–55. 54–8.. The Making of the English Working Class (1963. 262. pp. 1967. ‘Historical Discourse’. Hexter.Thompson. 48.17–19. 26 Roland Barthes. pp. and Industrial Capitalism’. pp. p. November 1994. 12 See J...622–4. for well-known essays like ‘The Myth of the Middle Class in Tudor England’. see also John Docker.H. 1990). 22 Ibid. Docker. 41–7. Longmans.Weidenfeld and Nicholson. 1981). pp. ‘Turning Linguistic’. Princeton. Ann Curthoys. p. see Robert Young. 5 Richard T. 257. University of Chicago Press. 25 Roland Barthes. 27 Jacques Derrida.9–10. no. 18 Ibid. 46. p.

127–8. See also Devoney Looser. 31 Ibid. pp. Parshley (1949.uk/USAWritter. pp. 1976).157–9. 121 (re Collier). stranger.158..65.M. 10–13.. 2003). pariah. pp. Catherine Macaulay. 97. Routledge.spartacus.. 89. quote at <http://www. The Second Sex. The Gender of History. British Women Writers and the Writing of History. Woman as Force in History.1150–76. 63. pp.. Smith. 80–86. see Smith. 69. The Gender of History: Men. 10 Beard. Cambridge. pp. which has chapters on Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. 34 Derrida. 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. 1931). 129. 38 Ibid.157–9. 102. 30 Derrida.Women and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press. 32 Ibid. 109–12.6.htm>. 9–10. pp. ‘White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy’. Baltimore. 33 Ibid. pp. 4 Smith. 89. Women and the Historical Enterprise in America.96.30–4. 1992).. 39 Jacques Derrida.70–2. 1975). A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard through her Letters (Yale University Press. 40 Ibid. CT.. p. 29 Jacques Derrida. 74–9. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1967.4. 1995. Collier Books. vol. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. Postmodernism and Popular Culture. pp. The Gender of History. Of Grammatology. p. 9. Harmondsworth. 35 Derrida. pp. Penguin. Frank Cass. New Haven. CHAPTER 8 1 Mary R.. pp.11. London. 1880 to 1945 (University of North Carolina Press. 239 (re AHA). Of Grammatology.’ American Historical Review.. Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century (1919. pp.100. trans. 20. 70. 37 Ibid. 87.67–9. 12 Mary Beard.Notes to pages 147–58 .7–8. 112. 65–6. Postmodernism and Popular Culture. London. 1991). Of Grammatology. On Understanding Women (Longmans.co. Dissemination. 3 Bonnie G. 8 Cf. ‘Gender and the Practices of Scientific History:The Seminar and Archival Research in the Nineteenth Century.. 16. 5 Ibid. 7 Spongberg. 36 Ibid. Chapel Hill and London. New York. pp. 2 Simone de Beauvoir. 6.We would like to acknowledge the value of discussions on Derrida we’ve had with Ned Curthoys. Dissemination. .1. trans.66–7..132–3... 101–3. Docker. pp. no. London. MA.. foreigner. p. 2002). Beard.1–62.258–64. H. Concerning Germaine de Staël as exile. Julie Des Jardins. pp. Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance (Palgrave. 11 Information in this paragraph comes mainly from Nancy Cott. Green and Co. 60–2.3. 1670–1820 (Johns Hopkins University Press. 68. pp..schoolnet. 68.63–4. Ivy Pinchbeck. 107. 2000). p. Baltimore. 207–1. Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution 1750–1850 (1930. 1973). pp. p. pp. 73. pp. Cf. 106. Woman as Force in History:A Study in Traditions and Realities (1946. 75–6. 256 . Writing Women’s History since the Renaissance. 1968). 70. p.. pp.xiii–xv. 6 Mary Spongberg. 9 Alice Clark. also Smith..3. 68. 1998). London.. and Jane Austen.1–2.135–7.282..

1965). 288. No Farewell.3. 1996).16. p. Belknap. 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. in the work of Robert Stoller. see also Ellen C. Following the uses of ‘gender’ emerging in sexology and psychoanalysis in the 1960s. Baltimore. 295. 29 Jennifer Scanlon and Shaaron Cosner.. Eleanor Flexner reviewed for the Daily Worker in April 1951 a musical by Gerda Lerner and Eve Merriam.. Boston. p. in Cott. Gerda Lerner. 1967)... the Political. 1989). 26 See the use of the notion of ‘second wave feminism’ in Firestone. Voices of Women Historians. Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (Temple University Press. See Karen Offen.81–90. 10 November 1944. 27. 22 Kate Weigand.142. 257.. 282. which despite its title is organised almost entirely along national lines. at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. I couldn’t have written Sexual Politics without it. 31 Gerda Lerner.html>. pp. 25 Kate Millett. pp. and Millett. Ibid. see Weigand. p. p. on the Temple University Press website. the Professional (Indiana University Press.254. The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement 1890–1920 (Anchor.144–6. 1955). 282. Daughters of de Beauvoir (Women’s Press.. Red Feminism. Abacus.Westport. Aileen Kraditor. Ibid. Sexual Politics.27–33. Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women’s Liberation (Johns Hopkins University Press. The 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 . Ibid. in Eileen Boris and Nupur Chaudhuri (eds). 33 Boris and Chaudhuri (eds). 132. 1968). 1971).3–10. New York. London.. p.. 333–4. Singing of Women. Ibid. 23 Weigand.temple.88. Voices of Women Historians:The Personal. vol.Weigand. 1991. pp.1–2. 158.63–4. Red Feminism. Writing Women’s History: International Perspectives (Indiana University Press. New York. Beard to Publisher.245.144. 1970). pp. while Kate Millett later wrote: ‘I owe a great debt to The Second Sex. <http://www. Ruth Roach Pierson and Jane Rendall (eds). no. Sex in Society (Penguin.Notes to pages 159–64 . 28 Gerda Lerner. p. American Women Historians. 2001). The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina: Rebels against Slavery (Houghton Mifflin. interview with Gerda Lerner in The Chronicle of Higher Education. 1999). and Alex Comfort. Red Feminism. ‘Eleanor Flexner and the History of American Feminism’. Gerda Lerner.22. ‘Women among the Professors of History’. 110–14. 24 Eleanor Flexner.. Philadelphia.144. 214. Sex and Gender: On the Development of Masculinity and Femininity (Science House.318. pp.. Red Feminism. New York. p..48. Century of Struggle:The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States (1959.147. 317–18. Shulamith Firestone. 68. Ibid. Bloomington. p. A Novel (Associated Authors.363. See also Gerda Lerner. pp.. pp. Boston. 2003). p. Dubois. 257 . pp. 1991).105. Woman as Force in History. and passim. Harmondsworth. pp. Beard. 3 May 2002. The Dialectic of Sex (William Morrow and Co. American Women Historians. 1700s–1990s: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood Press.Weigand. London.’ See Penny Forster and Imogen Sutton. CT. Bloomington. The Dialectic of Sex. 30 Ibid. A Woman Making History. p.114. Gender and History.edu/tempress/authors/1635_qa. pp. Sexual Politics (1970.. 32 Scanlon and Cosner.. 1700s–1990s.1. 1996).. 1964). New York.

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119–31.).4. 77 ‘Joan Wallach Scott’. vol. ch. no.. pp.). 79 Joan Wallach Scott.24–5. no. New York. vol. pp. pp.5.22. 48–9.2. pp.. ‘The Three Body Problem: Feminism and Chaos Theory’. Cornell West. Claudia Koonz. ‘Review of Gender and the Politics of History’. in Barbara Kruger and Phil Mariani (eds).Notes to pages 175–81 . Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press.. 3 Cf. in Terence J. pp. 76 See Ann Curthoys.4–5. 1996).19–20.101. 92. pp. Journal of Women’s History. ‘Black Culture and Postmodernism’. 1700s–1990s. p. ‘The Construction of History’.9.1.116–31.. 1989). 1997. 82 Judith Butler. New York.17.2.46. ‘Review of Gender and the Politics of History’. pp. 1983. Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (Harvard University Press. Remaking History (Bay Press. CHAPTER 9 1 Hayden White.3.88.91. pp. pp.. 2003.95. no. no. vol. Gender and the Politics of History. 4 See John Docker. 1991. Catherine Hall. pp.22–36. no. pp.131–50.1. pp.. Scanlon and Cosner. pp. 1986. vol. Women’s Review of Books. 1986. pp. 1996). ‘Mass Culture as Woman: Modernism’s Other’. 1983. no. 85 Jill Matthews. 1990. ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’. 87 Joan Wallach Scott. vol. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. in Scott. no.773–97). 84 Marilyn Lake.204–10. p.6. 1988). no. Gender and History. Cambridge. pp. Past and Present: A Journal of Historical Studies. Feminist Studies. 80 Ibid. in Tania Modleski (ed. p.203–4. 140–2. Ann Arbor.16. McDonald (ed. ‘New Challenges for Feminist History’. reprinted in Joan Wallach Scott. Lilith: A Feminist History Journal. pp.3. no. Seattle. vol. Signs. 1989. 1990). 81 Teresa De Lauretis. pp..4.9. 83 Ibid.14–21. 89 Judith P. ‘Popular Romance in the Postmodern Age’.9. 86 Scott. 1990.16. vol. 1994).1. American Women Historians.15–27. pp. 1986). Gender and the Politics of History.86. vol. ‘The Evidence of Experience’. MA. Continuum. Baltimore and London..28–50.143–5. 2 See the classic essay by Andreas Huyssen.115–150.12. 88 Joan Wallach Scott. ‘Women’s History’. vol.853–8. ‘Eccentric Subjects: Feminist Theory and Historical Consciousness’. ‘Review of Gender and the Politics of History’. 134 and 137..4. 1986). Originally published in American Historical Review.15. See also Martin Bunzl. Sisterhood’. pp. Studies in Entertainment (Indiana University Press. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (1978. Linda Gordon. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge. Spring 1990. no. Hecate. no. ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’.35–6. pp. 1991. vol. Gender and the Politics of History (Columbia University Press.132–40.3.3. 260 . 1991.. 1997. Cambridge. 78 Joan Wallach Scott. pp.17. ‘The Politics of Respectability: Identifying the Masculinist Context’. Bloomington. vol. Historical Studies. Feminist Studies. The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences (University of Michigan Press. quotes on pp. vol. Zinsser. . Journal of Women’s History. also Ann Curthoys and John Docker.141–57. ‘“Much more is at stake here…”: A response to “The Construction of History”’.379–406 (first published in Critical Inquiry. no.

157. p. 14 Foucault. 1972). Hannah Arendt. pp.9–10. pp. pp.106. Foucault writes that genealogy opposes itself to the illusory search for an origin as if it is the essence of a unified. and also to Walter Benjamin’s notion that origins are fluid and fractured: see Samuel Weber. 1986). ‘Truth and Power’.. pp. NY. 155–6. 19 Ibid. Counter-Memory.Truth. ‘Genealogy of Modernity: History. 1984).. 203. in her dissatisfaction with the title of her The Origins of Totalitarianism was also suspicious of the search for origins. Alan Sheridan. pp. Strategy (Feral Publications. it is hard to miss the certainty of Foucault’s narrative. 7 Ibid.3–6. which we discussed in chapter 7.131–2. Heterologies: Discourse on the Other (University of Minnesota Press. ‘The Discourse of Language’. 12... London.468–73.12–13. 13 Ibid. See also the translation by Meaghan Morris and Paul Patton (eds).200. Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (Yale University Press. Minneapolis. Donald F. Sheridan Smith (1969.’ See Elisabeth Young-Bruehl. whereas we should recognise that at the beginning of any historical process is ‘dissension’ and ‘disparity’. pp. Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews. Ithaca. Harper Colophon.7–9. 261 .114. 1979). vol. 12 Ibid. Counter-Memory. London.. ‘Foucault’s Legacy: A New Historicism?’ in H. Genealogy. 155. 20 See Frank Lentricchia.90. 21 Michel de Certeau. Michel Foucault: Power. 1989). 1989).. 5 Michel Foucault.. pp. ed.114–15. Aram Veeser (ed. trans. and Allegory in Benjamin’s Origin of the German Mourning Play’. 17 Michel Foucault. p.153. 15 Ibid..144) can be compared to Derrida’s similar dislike in Of Grammatology of origin. The New Historicism (Routledge. The Archaeology of Knowledge. 158.186–92. 16 Cf. 8 Ibid. Introduction.). In the first part of ‘Nietzsche. 9 Ibid. continuous and coherent historical process that is held to follow... but it can never be deduced from it. 18 Foucault. as if an origin is a ‘timeless and essential secret’. pp. Appendix.. History’. And indeed. 1980).140–4. 227–32. The Archaeology of Knowledge.M.153–6. arguing that the historian should trace ‘backwards’ the history of an event: ‘The event illuminates its own past. In chapter 6 we noticed Oakeshott’s suspicion of the notion of origin when it becomes the basis of a teleological view of history. Sydney. Colin Gordon (Harvester Wheatsheaf. p.15–16. pp. 11 Michel Foucault. Myth. pp. pp. 162–3. as well as places of . Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–1977. Michel Foucault:The Will to Truth (1980.Tavistock. New York. Language.. MLN. New York..Notes to pages 182–7 . and introd. pp.. New Haven.152.. pp. Foucault’s dislike of origin as chimera (p.. pp.29–48 (this is where we first read the interview). Historically the Benthamite prison has turned out to be harsh yet not necessarily subject to total control. Language. 10 Foucault. A. ed.We are reminded that prisons. ‘Truth and Power’ in Power/Knowledge. 1999. pp. pp. 6 Ibid. 159–60.216–20. Practice. Prison officials have frequently had to cede powers to the prisoners for the running of the prison. the taking of aims and intentions for a realised prison system. Bouchard (1977. referring to the use of Ursprung in Nietzsche. 17.235. Cornell University Press. 1982).160–2. pp. pp.

pp.. p.17–20. Canary and Henry Kozicki (eds).). see Lynn Hunt. Ann Rigney. 1986. Robert Hurley (1976. Ibid. in Henry James..2–26. Frank Lentricchia. The History of Sexuality. Anthony Easthope. Jr.. pp. pp. 1992). 92–4.1. On the panoptic narrative strategies of the later volumes of The History of Sexuality. see Simon Goldhill.81–100. 33–4. in Patrick Gardiner (ed. ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’. 1990). vol..20–2. 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 severe punishment.31–2.6. 1996). 99. for example.78–93.43. Discourses of Sexuality: From Aristotle to AIDS (University of Michigan Press. Northrop Frye. 1989). 243. the prison emerges as a kind of lively debating society: Iain McCalman. pp.94. See. N. did not cease over the centuries to be places of debate. vol. Illinois. L. 22–4. where Lord George Gordon was incarcerated for having insulted the Queen of France. also in Robert H. The History of Sexuality. 1993.83. Albert Cook. trans. Harmondsworth. ed. Representative Selections.321. For Foucault and gender. p. Ibid.349. pp. Carl G. in Knud Haakanssen (ed. 1966). pp.. Foucault. Social History.23–4. Abacus. Glencoe. 1995). 25.).. ‘New Jerusalems: Prophecy. 1987). Ann Arbor. Cambridge. in The Use of Pleasure (1984) and The Care of the Self (1984). Speculum. Stanton (ed.. In his autobiography Nelson Mandela says that the prisoners came to exercise a great deal of control even at Robben Island. Henry James. Anatomy of Criticism (1957.. ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’. pp. Cambridge. 32. 1959).. humiliation.83–6. in Domna C. pp. ‘The Function of General Laws in History’. Dissent and Radical Culture in England. Ibid. ch. which he likens at certain times to a ‘university’ in the range and intensity of its discussions and educative activity: Nelson Mandela. After the New Criticism (Athlone Press. pp. Penguin.20–2. 1996). 35. White. and privation.. Princeton. Long Walk to Freedom (1994. pp.44–5. Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge University Press.41–62. Robert F. ‘The Place of Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism’. Foucault’s Virginity: Ancient Erotic Fiction and the History of Sexuality (Cambridge University Press. p. 1978). The Rhetoric of Historical Representation:Three Narrative Histories of the French Revolution (Cambridge University Press. ‘Romancing the Stone: History-writing and Rhetoric’. pp. no. Princeton University Press.1. Foucault. The History of Sexuality. Cf. p. 27.. 32–3. 1980). pp. Ibid. 97.20.XVIII. 29. 88. Cambridge. 262 . ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’. MA.3–13. 1786–1830’. 1995). pp.). Berkhofer.. In Iain McCalman’s evocation of Newgate Prison in the late eighteenth century in England. pp.235–49. pp. 1973).77. Beyond the Great Story: History as Text and Discourse (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. . p. Ibid. White. quoted in Nancy Partner. London. Cambridge. ‘The Art of Fiction’. ‘Foucault’s Subject in The History of Sexuality’. ‘Making Up Lost Time:Writing on the writing of history’. illness. Michel Foucault.556–7.25–6. arenas of mixing and discussion. Urbana.. Cambridge. History/Writing (Cambridge University Press. The Writing of History: Literary Form and Historical Understanding (University of Wisconsin Press. pp. White.Notes to pages 187–94 . Hempel. 54. Madison.. Richardson (University of Illinois Press. pp. Theories of History (The Free Press.

See Clifford Geertz. 36.37. p. 45 Cf. vol. Edward Said: A Reader (Blackwell. and LaCapra. pp. and Ann Laura Stoler (ed.269–70. 1984).118–19. Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Duke University Press. Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (University of Chicago Press.3–4.1. Durham. in Canary and Kozicki (eds). NY. The World. Appendix. Representations. ‘Bakhtin. ‘Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History:Who Speaks for “Indian” Pasts?’.29. The Archaeology of Knowledge. MA.292–314. Routledge and Kegan Paul. pp. pp. Orientalism (1978. no. 49 Dipesh Chakrabarty. Foucault.Winter 1992. 23–4..250–3. 42 Ibid. Mikhail Bakhtin (Harvard University Press. 2002). Foucault says that one of the ‘great myths of European culture’ is an opposition between the ‘monopolistic. London. Orientalism. Interpretation of Cultures (Basic Books. ‘Black Culture and Postmodernism’.43. pp.. 44 In Foucault. . pp. ‘The Discourse on Language’. pp. 40–1. secret knowledge of oriental tyranny’ and Europe’s supposed ‘universal communication of knowledge and the infinitely free exchange of discourse’.225...). JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. pp. Contexts. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. also had an impact on the group. 56 Peter Burke (ed. Ithaca. Cf. 1991). no. 1973). MA. Cambridge. ch. p. ‘The Burden of History’. 50–1..32. 1973).33. 118–19. ch. 47 Edward W. 39 See Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist. 43 Edward W. 39.. 50 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.7–9.37.. p. Mass. John Docker. no. the Text and the Critic (1983. Practice..Winter 1992.32. 48 See interview with Said in Michael Sprinker (ed. Ithaca. 40 Cf.). New Perspectives on Historical Writing (Polity Press.9. ‘Writing Post-Orientalist Histories of the Third World: Perspectives from Indian Historiography’. 2003. 52 Gyanendra Pandey. The Return of Martin Guerre (Harvard University Press. and Natalie Zemon Davis. Chicago. Rethinking Intellectual History:Texts. translator of Derrida’s Of Grammatology (1974). Bakhtin.Vintage. 92. pp. also ch..). 1991). pp. Soundings in Critical Theory (Cornell University Press. pp. ‘In Defense of the Fragment:Writing about Hindu-Muslim Riots in India Today’.240–1.88–9. 1992).. no. vol. Language (Cornell University Press. 288–9.3. Los Angeles. The Writing of History. Marxism. 179–90. p. 54 Ibid. Carlo M.71.2. 1995). London. 19. but such seems a rare moment.6. essay on ‘What is an Author?’. Representations. pp. 1983). 55 Gossman. 1989). Said.. NY. Cristofano and the Plague: A Study of the History of Public Health in the Age of Galileo (University of California Press. Cf. ‘History and Literature: Reproduction or Signification’.3–31.241. and the Carnivalesque’.406. ‘The Enlightenment and Genocide’.1–2. 53 Dipesh Chakrabarty.23.Notes to pages 195–202 . London.156–9. 281–4. pp. Cornell West. pp. 1983). 1980). Counter-Memory. Cf. 263 . pp.76–81. p. Hayden White. pp. Cambridge. Language. p. New York. ‘Up against the Ear of the Other: Marx after Derrida’. Said. Cambridge. 57 Ibid. 41 Dominick LaCapra. 51 Gyan Prakash.. Comparative Studies in Society and History. 1990. 46 Said.238–9. Cipolla. Tropics of Discourse.

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2003. 11 LaCapra. pp. vol. on the historians’ objections. Telling the Truth about History.xxxiv. vol. Constructing the Holocaust: A Study in Historiography (Vallentine Mitchell.41. 2004. London and Portland.84–101. A version in Japanese is found in Tessa Morris-Suzuki.39. 2002).). London. Stony Creek. English manuscript. London. History and Anthropology.124–7. Theory after the Linguistic Turn’. Heibon-sha. 13 Ibid. Hiroshima’s Shadow:Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy (Pampleteer’s Press.1. Quoted by Minoru Hokari in ‘Globalising Aboriginal Reconciliation: Indigenous Australians and Asian (Japanese) Migrants’. 1996). in Friedländer (ed.220–2. and ‘Genocide as Transgression’.110–11.700 (pounds. Memory.). History and Theory.326–45. 8 Saul Friedländer (ed. he refers to my shoddy suit and badly scuffed shoes. 207. Probing the Limits of Representation. pp. ‘Representing the Holocaust: Reflections on the Historians’ Debate’. 105. 19 Dan Stone. Crabtree. Denying the Holocaust. 265 . Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution (Harvard University Press. and Jacob. Penguin.9. Cambridge. no. In The Nation in May 2004.Witnesses. 15 A point Irving himself later commented on. purchased for the trial just a week before it began. ‘Nazism as Modern Magic: Bronislaw Malinowski’s Political Anthropology’. unpublished. not dollars) at Gieves & Hawkes.Notes to pages 212–22 .20. 10 Martin Jay. ‘Introduction’. Nash. in Friedländer (ed. no. 20 Stone refers to Steven Aschheim. in Friedländer (ed. ‘Of Plots.1.13 and 193 note 9. no. 2003. Carr.’ 16 See E. pp. Hihanteki Souzouryoku no Tameni: Guro-baruka Jidai no Nippon [For Critical Imaginations: Japan in the Era of Globalisation]. p. see Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz (eds). and the Law:The Historian as Expert Witness’. MA. ‘Historical Emplotment and the Problem of Truth’. and Judgments’...41.26–7.H. pp. 9 Hayden White. What is History? (1961. 1991).. pp. pp.. 2000). ‘Truth’s Other’. 21 Appleby.205. 2 See Gary B.37–53. History and Theory. 17 Keith Jenkins. see Nash. Irving wrote: ‘Describing me.2.3.98. pp. Re-thinking History (Routledge.46–9. Culture and Catastrophe (Macmillan. pp.. vol.). see J. and Ross E. 12 Lipstadt. vol. 1992). while the black shoes (£410 from Church’s) were even newer. 1965). Charlotte Crabtree. October 2002.181. Hunt. pp.). p. 22 See also Dan Stone.7. vol.. 104. History on Trial (Vintage Books. 2000. Samuel . 2002.14. 118. pp. European Journal of Social Theory. Basingstoke. CHAPTER 11 1 Tessa Morris-Suzuki. History and the David Irving Trial (Verso.) 18 Dintenfass. Cultural Studies Review. New York. pp. also ‘History. 2003).1–20.7. Telling Lies about Hitler:The Holocaust... pp. on the Senate vote. Probing the Limits of Representation. In fact the pinstripe suit. pp. 14 Richard Evans. 52–9. London and New York. 212–14. had cost £2. p.. p. and Dunn.57–8. pp. no. (The Magritte is not on the cover of the 2003 Routledge Classics edition of Re-thinking History. 3 On the script revision. CT. 1998). Probing the Limits of Representation. Dunn. here p. History on Trial.124–7.

p. <http://www.. 1996).105. p. by Iris Chang’. Newman. Daqing Yang. Ibid. New York. Daqing Yang. p. Linenthal and Tom Engelhardt (eds). pp. pp. p. Colin Gordon (Harvester Wheatsheaf. Fogel (ed.2 (Summer–Fall).. Hiroshima’s Shadow. p. Hata Ikuhiko. The Rape of Nanking:The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (BasicBooks. Hiding Hiroshima’. The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography (University of California Press. Lifton and Mitchell. p. this reference p. in Bird and Lifschultz (eds).19. ed. Ibid. Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial (G. Journal of Asian Studies. John.57. 266 . Walker. History Wars:The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past (Henry Holt and Company.. Berkeley. this quote on p. New York.73–81.22. For a discussion of further historical research. vol. Japan Echo. p. ‘Remember the Smithsonian’s Atomic Bomb Exhibit? You Only Think You Know the Truth’. no. History News Network. see Timothy W. 1980). Luke. Later. pp. 1998.1.. see Walker.862. 1999.132.80. November 1990. American Historical Review.). p. in Edward T. Prompt and Utter Destruction:Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan (University of North Carolina Press. ‘Three Narratives of our Humanity’. 2000). p. 47–57.. Ibid.3. Joshua A. Prompt and Utter Destruction. Recent defences of the traditional view appear in Robert P. See also Daqing Yang.161.166. New York. New York. ‘Challenges of Trans-National History: historians and the Nanjing Atrocity’.842–65. this quote on p.271. ‘Convergence or Divergence?’. A. SinoJapanese Studies. ‘Review of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II.html>. Hiroshima in America.Westport. pp. ‘The Decision to Use the Bombs’. vol. pp. Daqing Yang.105–6.55. 851 and 865.28. quotes on pp. pp. pp. Arena Journal no.. CT.. Dennis D. Blackett. 2004.Wainstock.. ‘Convergence or Divergence? Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing’. Dower..P.3. Michel Foucault. Yang. Walker. 2 August 2004. vol. ‘The Challenges of the Nanjing Massacre’. London.133–47. ‘The Nanking Atrocities: Fact and Fable’. and to the Rashomon effect on p. 1995). Ibid.18–9. SAIS Review. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–1977. 2004).274. Walker. vol. 1997). 22–3. Fogel.14–35.. pp. in Joshua. Chapel Hill.102.us/articles/6597.107. reference to Rashomon effect on p. 14.. See also Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell.78–89.. Prompt and Utter Destruction.16.. ‘The Malleable and the Contested:The Nanjing Massacre in Postwar Japan and . <http://hnn. ‘Displaying the Enola Gay. Newman. Prompt and Utter Destruction. pp. the History Department at Nanjing University conducted detailed research.29.S. pp.3. The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb (Praeger. no. Iris Chang. Putnam. Enola Gay and the Court of History (Peter Lang Publishing.124–32.19. 1996). no. pp. 1998. 1997).. and Robert P.historians.org/ press/MuseumS. this quote on page 14. 87. Ikuhiko quote on p.Notes to pages 222–8 . 108.W. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Walker.M. reference to Croce on p. vol. Daqing Yang.cfm>. 1999. Ibid.4.104.25. no. pp. 63–96. For recent developments. Prompt and Utter Destruction. 818–19. p. ‘A Sino-Japanese Controversy:The Nanjing Atrocity as History’. See a selection from the book which appears as P. no.

2005. April 2003. p.. Hal Wootten..35.21.. Frontier Conflict:The Australian Experience (National Museum of Australia. October 2003. pp. Macintyre. Arena Magazine. in Stuart Macintyre (ed. Stuart Macintyre and Anna Clark. 2002). a review of Windschuttle in The New Criterion. Henry Reynolds. in T. 67. 2nd edition (1981. The Aboriginal Tasmanians. ‘Who is the Fabricator?’. pp. 20 November 2004. Geoffrey Blainey. and introd.. 2003).8. Eve Vincent and Clare Land. The Fabrication of Aboriginal History:Volume One. in Bain Attwood and Stephen Foster (eds). 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. For Windschuttle’s reply. vol.sfgate. Australian Historical Studies. Sydney. in Iain McCalman and Ann McGrath (eds). Bain Attwood.375–82. and replaced it with another. pp. p. vol. 2003). Agenda. Australian Historical Studies. pp. Canberra. Ann Curthoys. Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Aboriginal History (Black Inc. In an unpublished chapter of his planned book on the history of genocide.29.com>. 2005).). pp. 3 September 2003.169–84.161–70. 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 China’. no. apropos the need to be ‘dispassionate’. Frontier Conflict.newcriterion. See ‘Lemkin on Tasmania’. ‘Constructing National Histories’. Melbourne. Lyndall Ryan. 2003). ‘The Killing of History and the History of Killing’. ‘Do Good Historians have Feelings?’. For critiques of Windschuttle.htm>. no. Perilous Memories:The Asia-Pacific War(s) (Duke University Press. Alan Atkinson.. The History Wars (Melbourne University Press. 16 December 2002.com/archive/21/apr03/blainey. Hansen. ABC Radio National.wikipedia. Allen & Unwin. Sydney.185–200. p.htm>.au/lateline/content/2003/s938399. <http://www. San Francisco Chronicle. and Blind to History’. 267 .23. in Antoinette Burton (ed. 1996). vol. ‘Historiography on the Australian Frontier’.‘Native Fiction’. Melbourne. ‘Conflicting Imperatives: Pursuing Truth in the Courts’. Patterns of Prejudice. Canberra. no. Robert Manne. April 2004. no. Whitewash. Cf. Politics and the Philosophy of History’. see transcript of debate on ‘Lateline’. 1995). Quadrant. 2001).. Pybus. Proof and Truth:The Humanist as Expert (The Australian Academy of the Humanities.124. ‘Blind to Truth. 26. Durham.). pp. by Ann Curthoys. 2003). ‘Historical Error versus Historical Invention: A Reply to Stuart Macintyre and Patricia Grimshaw on The Fabrication of Aboriginal History’. Lyndall Ryan. <http://www. Stuart Macintyre.36.19. pp. Melbourne. Sydney Morning Herald.net. in Attwood and Foster (eds).Notes to pages 229–34 .abc. Whitewash.Van Diemen’s Land. Melbourne.). ed.230–57. Macintyre.164. The Historian’s Conscience (Melbourne University Press. Fujitani et al.Tessa .org/wiki/Iris_Chang> Keith Windschuttle.14–15. The History Wars. in Manne. and McFarlane in Manne (ed. p. ‘Silenced Voices’. especially chs 12 and 13.136. 1803–1847 (Macleay Press.. vol. see Robert Manne. Archive Stories (Duke University Press. ‘History. ‘Whitewash Confirms the Fabrication of Aboriginal History’. History Wars. The Fate of a Free People (Penguin. October–November 2003..2. See also the arguments presented by Boyce. 2004).162–96.39.. Durham. <http://www. the British-settler society. no. pp.Tardif. so that it could no longer function as a society. See Ann Curthoys.123. October 2004. Keith Windschuttle. <http://en.

1998).198–243. in Hsu-Ming Teo and Richard White (eds).122. pp. 37 See Ann Curthoys. no. 40 Minoru Hokari. 2003). and Pappé. see A. .84–101.). Ilan Pappé (ed. no. 2003). special issue.4. Borderlands and Comparisons:Toward the Internationalisation of American History’.22–37.. Australian Historical Studies. 36 Bonnie G.86. Canberra. 39 See Marilyn Lake. Berkeley. 1999). pp. 2001). ‘Globalising Aboriginal Reconciliation’. Cultural History in Australia (UNSW Press. Morris-Suzuki. Cambridge. 38 For US debates. see The Nation and Beyond:Transnational Perspectives on United States History. see Avi Shlaim and Eugene Rogan (eds).346–63. ‘Back to the Future: From National History to Imperial History’. Past and Present.164. Hopkins. London and New York. Cambridge.432–62... October 2003.Notes to pages 234–6 . The Israel/Palestine Question: Rewriting Histories (Routledge. 268 . no.). Lost in the Whitewash: From Federation to Reconciliation (Humanities Research Centre.34. The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 (Cambridge University Press. Sydney. vol.3. 35 For debates over Israel/Palestine. Mass.G. Cambridge. ‘Anti-Minorities History: Perspectives on Aboriginal-Asian Relations’. The Gender of History: Men... The Journal of American History. vol.. ch. 2004). ‘Cultural history and the nation’. no. 1992. 2002).2. quoted in Hokari. 1999. Thomas Bender (ed. Smith. pp. A History of Modern Palestine: One Land. ‘White Man’s Country:The Trans-National History of a National Project’.Women and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press. in Penny Edwards and Shen Yuanfang (eds).. vol. pp. 1999. Rethinking American History in a Global Age (University of California Press. Journal of American History.Two Peoples (Cambridge University Press.79. For England.. ‘Globalising Aboriginal Reconciliation’.. David Thelen. Hokari. ‘Of Audiences. pp.

Perry 167 androcentrism. 151–52 America (continent) 27. see autocracy accidents. 114. 30. see catastrophe. 31. 169 Acton. 158. 165–67. see masculinity . Sally 172 Alexander (or Paris) 20 alienation 93. 55. 164 American Jewish Historical Society 112 American Legion 223 American Woman Suffrage Association 158 analogies. South America American Historical Association 96. 144. 57. 134. Aboriginal people.. 70–71. Louis 140 amateur historians 154–57 Amazons 19. 120 allegory 2. 94–95 Alperovitz. 27. 132–33 African Americans 7–8. 91–92. see metaphors analysis.index Page numbers in bold print refer to main entries. see Australian Aboriginal people. 151 Vann 141 ancient history. 60 see also North America. 66. 172 ambiguity 142. Gar 223 alterity of the past 119. 125 Alexander. 101. 140.. 199 Akutasawa.. 84. Leopold von: wie es eigentlich gewesen Aeschylus 86 Africa 18–19. 59. 25. 115. 163. 23–24. 119 actuality (White) 191 see also Ranke.. 156. 76–82. Lord 10. see historical analysis analytical philosophy Hempel 109–10 Hexter 141–42. see classical antiquity Anderson. 64. 72 agency 179. 183 alternative endings 202–3 Althusser. Ryunosuke 203 Albigensian heresy 73 Alcibiades 45. 269 . 89. indigenous peoples absolutism. chance activism 100–101.

171 antiquarianism Nietzsche 74. 204. 65 monologic & polyphonic 31. 142–44 Beard. 98. 55. 24. Joyce. 119–22. 122. 155 history wars 233 subaltern studies 199 transnational history 236 women’s research 156. 17. 47. 100–101. 33–34. 76. 229–31. 24. 30 Thucydides’ account 9.. 112 Australia 27. history as 71. 172. 103. Lois 10. 147. 136 Benjamin and 10. 161–62 Bebel. 229–32. 63. 112. 28. 220–21. omniscient style author-narrators late 20th century 205 Orientalism 197 Thucydides 36–37 White 193 see also authoritative writing. 121. 169. 212 Menippean writing 31. 120 art. 174–75. 26. Charles A. see English-speaking world Annales school 126. 37–38. 103–4. king 61 Asad. 191. 145 Athenaeum Fragments 31 Athenians Derrida on Socrates 150 Herodotus’ account 12. 187. 164 Beard. 177–78 history wars 4. 93. 151 archetypes 192–93 arche-writing (Derrida) 148 archives gendered metaphors 99. omniscient style autocracy anti-postmodernism 208 Herodotus 26 Marx 125 Babylon 13. 108 Appleby. 166. 122. 210 baseball analogies 139. 154. writing history 203. 236 authoritative writing Foucault 183. 14–16. 130 Banner. 26. 158. 201 postmodernism 204 Price 204 Thucydides 36–37. 158–63.. Steven 217 Asia 4. 83. 170. James 7–8 Baltic states 59–60. 236 Australian Aboriginal people 1. 90 Bakhtin. Simone de 154. 84.. 17.. 57. 28. 27. 169. 34. 194–96. 163–64. Mikhail 14. 174 Beauvoir.. 202. 135 art history 71. 134 Croce 92–93 early 20th century 91 Herodotus 14. 144–47.. 94–95 Barthes.. see Telling the Truth about History (1994) Arabs 12–13. 96–98. Carl L. 196. 36–49. see English-speaking world Anglo-Germanic people (Ranke) 60 Anglophone world. 111–12. 172. 8. 156 antiquity. 165. 37. Hannah 17. Roland 145–46.Index . 75–76. 210 Baconian science 81. 178–79 Arena 169 Arendt. 63. 135 Belgian revolution (1830) 53 . 85–86. Anglo-American culture.Talal 9 Aschheim. 170–71. see classical antiquity anti-semitism. 22 backwards. 59 archaeology 55. 194–96 Baldwin. August 160 Becker. 76 women’s writing 68. 135. see Jews apocalyptic views 10. 182 anthropology 141.. 270 . 76. 170 barbarism Burckhardt 72–73. 29. 94–95 Arthur. 125 Atkinson. Alan 234 Auerbach. 162. 121 baroque period 31. 100. 42. 183 see also author-narrators. Erich 17. 22. 85–86. 100–105. 106–9. 175. Mary Ritter 10.

233 Bible 51. 209. Judith 177 Butler. 106–9. Julius 96. 236 see also Australia British historians 50. 184. Sue 169 below. 62–64. 172. 104. 98 Butler. 196 carnivals Bakhtin 195 women’s history 171–72 Carr. 109 Calvino. 10...Thomas 76. 175. Fernand 126–28 British Empire 27. 223 Blackstone. Paul 115 censorship . 184. 14. 121–22 Benjamin 94 Bury 83 Geyl 116 Herodotus 25 Marx 125 Ranke 116 Thucydides 43–47. 152. 70–71. 125–26. J. 163–64. 120 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians 170 Berlin. 169. 125 Thompson 140 women historians 157. 234 Burke. Heinrich 109 Boleyn.. Anne 88 Bonaparte. 141.. Edmund 81. 75. 62. 232. genocide Catholics 62. Lord 67 Caesar. James 229 Borges. 68. Jorge Luis 30 Braudel. see history from below Benjamin. 173 Carlyle. 78–79. 116. 129–34. Berlin.Index . 144. 10. 140 Byron. 236 British history wars 220. 134 Burke. 209. 166–67. 81. 61. 82–89. 98. 198 Canada 164–65. 93. 210 Bury. Italo 205 Cambridge Modern History 81–82. 216 Carthaginians 18. 76–93. Dora 106 Benjamin. 119. 214.M. history from.. 55. Carr. 103. 45 Casablanca (film) 1–2 catastrophe 9 20th century 90–91. 129. 49 see also chance. 236 capitalism anti-postmodernism 208 Marx 122–23. Bellamy. 136. 129. 236 see also Acton. 85 carnivalesque mode Bakhtin 195–96 Herodotus 21 Marx 124–25.Walter 10.. 271 . Marc 126 Blücher. 197–99. Bury.. 93. 96 British women historians 156–59. 133. 64. Peter 202–5. 112. 91 Cambridge University 70. 229–30. 112–13. 77 biographies 18th century 51 late 20th century 204–5 women writers 156–57 Black Dwarf 168 Blackett. 76. 128. Jacob 71–73. 81. 98–101. 188–89 Catt. 76–78. 1. 140. Butterfield. Herbert 10. 175–76 Burckhardt. 125. 76. Sir William 159–60 Bloch. 106. 136. 82. E.S.. 31. Isaiah 117–19. Marilyn 68 Butterfield. 108. 160. Louis 124–25 Bonwick. 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. 199. Collingwood British history 58–59. 223 British novels 62–64. 95.H.B. P. 84–85. 93–95.

112–13 China 4. 27–28 history wars 4.Thucydides classification 145. 200. 120. 87–88 Clio 100. 130.. 234–35 Holocaust denial 8 Orientalism 197 Ranke 58–61 Thucydides 45 colourlessness Bury 89 Ranke 70.. 230 chronicle Croce 92–93. Iris 226–29 characterisation Bakhtin 195–96 Hexter 143–44. 272 . 128 Cohen. 116. 66 Scott’s novels 63 Stone and 219 Western heritage 9 White 193 women’s education 160 see also Greece.. 61. 206. Acton 77 Foucault 187 history wars 222. 112–13. 54–56. 166 Columbus. 131 White 192 chronology 203. 110 feminism and 162–63. 151 Ranke 70 Scott’s novels 68 Thucydides 37 White 191–92 see also individuals Charlemagne 58. Frances 156 Collingwood. 188–90. Michel de 187 Chadwick. 108. 135. 62–65 Christianity 9.. 72–73.. 121.. Jean François 55 chance Bury 83. R. 229–32. 64–65. 30.Index . 202. 85–87 Carr 129 Nietzsche 73 Ranke 52. 114 Herodotus 25..Wilkie 30 colonisation European 116.G. 175–77 Marx 123–25 Thompson 139 classical antiquity 18th century 51 Acton 81 Arendt 120–21 Barthes 145 Benjamin 94 Bury & Cornford 82. 222–23 Collier. 210 chronotope 195 Cicero 13 Cipolla. 183 Cleon 40–41. 181. 169 Clark. 157 feminist historians 177 genocide and 112. 125 Cleopatra’s nose 69. 87–88 Carr 130 postmodernism 183–84 see also catastrophe Chang. 76. Christopher 221 comedy . 165. 57–61. 90. 164. Herodotus. 51. 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. 221. Alice 157 class anti-postmodernism 207 Beard (CA) 102–3. 168. 209 Collins. 227 Certeau. 199–201 Champollion. Dipesh 8–9. Owen 76–80 Chakrabarty.. 55. 158. 131–32. 224–29 chivalry Ranke 61 Scott’s novels 50. 78–80 Columbia University 100–101. Roman history. Sande 209 cold war 7. 103–5.

. 35. 103–4 Benjamin and 108. 234 Ranke 52–53. Holocaust Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Profession 164 Cornford... 158 Becker and 96. see cultural theory cultural history Annales school 126 anti-postmodernism 208 Bakhtin 194 Barthes 145–46 Burckhardt 71–72 Derrida 137 Herodotus 3. Robert 209 . king of Persia 15. 47. 146. 201. 230. Arthur C. 57–61. 181 late 20th century 180. 107–8 postmodernism 182. 30. Ann 27. 117 contemporary history 18th century 51 Beard (CA) 101 Carr 131 Croce 93. 185–86 Said and 198 Telling the Truth about History and 208–9 Yang and 225 Cromwell.. 162. 179 cultural studies. 216 contexts Foucault 7 New Criticism 192 contingency (Bury) 87–89. 232. 76 critical theory. 28 Darnton. Francis Macdonald 10. 179. 138. 113. 30. 80. 142 Darius. 66 history and fiction 5–6 late 20th century 180 literary modernism 93 Marx 124 Ranke 61 Thompson 140 Curthoys. see judgement Croce.Index . see cultural theory critical thinking. 151–52 Conrad. 186–87. 26. 225 history wars 225 Thucydides 33–34.. 91–93 Arendt and 120 Beard (CA & Mary) and 101.. 120 Berlin and 119 Carr and 129–31. Oliver 85 Crusades 50. 76. see history wars. 222–23 Comte. 103–4. 48. 233 continuity and discontinuity Benjamin 95. see cultural theory cultural theory anti-postmodernism 207 Bakhtin 194 Barthes 145 Benjamin 107 Carr 141 feminism 176 Herodotus 14. 81 cultural criticism.. 164. 182 Lemkin 111–12 Orientalism 198 Ranke 135 Thompson 140 women writers 156. Auguste 118 concepts 7 Derrida 150–52 Nietzsche 137 connotation (Hexter) 142–44. 208. 23. Joseph 30. 209 Derrida and 149 Foucault and 182. 123. 85–87 cosmopolitanism. Benedetto 10. 143 conservatism anti-postmodernism 206 Fox-Genovese 174 history wars 4. 209 Collingwood and 103–4. 102. 206 controversies. king of Persia 22–23 Dada 217 Danes 60 Danto. see transnationalism cricket analogies 138–39 critical history (Nietzsche) 74. 169 cynicism Burckhardt 72 Carr 130–31 Herodotus 86 Thucydides 86 Cyrus. Herodotus 21 White 192–93 communism 116.. 36. 273 .

data (White) 192 Davies. 208. 170. 44 Dionysius of Halicarnassus 34 diplomatic history Herodotus 3.. 206 Jenkins 5 poststructuralism 181 between women 174 digression (Herodotus) 15.Index . 151 Derrida. 137. Gilles 10 Delphic oracle 19. see impartiality Dobb. Maurice 125 documents 4–5 Acton 81 Benjamin 107 Carr 131. 167–69. 45–47 demography Annales school 126 feminist history 171 population (Foucault) 188 Demos. 172 Davis... Natalie Zemon 10. 81 Scott’s novels 66 subaltern studies 199 . 128. John 203. 185. Anna 10. 172. 141 Collingwood 104 Croce 92–93. 146–52. 274 . Bonnie Thornton 175 Dintenfass. see poststructuralism Deleuze. 216–17 Ranke 53. see catastrophe discipline of history. 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. 225 masculinity 155.. 47 history wars 223. René 87 description 6. Jacques 14. 229. 106 Beard (Mary) 161 Bury 88 Croce 91 Herodotus’ discussion 25–26 Marx 124–25 Thucydides’ description 33. 231–32 Holocaust denial 212. 186 Evans 210 gendered metaphors 99 history wars 225. 32 Dill. 212–13 Dickens. see continuity and discontinuity discourse 10 anti-postmodernism 207–8 late 20th century 201 postmodernism 183. 176. 143. Charles 30 differences Foucault 183. 180. 227.. Michael 217 Diodotus 40–41. 209 The Return of Martin Guerre 202–3 deconstruction. 78. 185.. 178. 108. 41–42. 30. 22 democracy Arendt 120 Beard (CA) 101. 179 postmodernism 181 Ranke 70 Thucydides 3 disaster. 165. 205 denotative language (Hexter) 143–44. 125. 211 ‘There is nothing outside the text’ 148 truth 150 Descartes. see profession of history discontinuity. 36. 186–91 Said 197–98 disinterestedness. Norman 203 Davin.. 199.. 70.

160. 27. 190.. 170. 126.. see morality. 197–200 non-European relations 8–9. see race & ethnicity ethnography Carr 141 Foucault 183 Herodotus 19–20 Price 204 women’s writing 68 Europe colonisation & imperialism 4. 194 doubleness of history 11 Carr 131 Herodotus & Thucydides 13.. 130. 25 Lerner 164 Scott 62 Thucydides 85 Durdin. 206. 134. 135. 163. 75 Eliot. 85 epochs. 26. Thucydides 36 Döllinger. 160. 160. 108. 200 refugees from. see refugee historians Evans. Father 77 Dostoevsky. 28. 160–61. 54–55. F. 161. 12–13. Fyodor 31. 171 modern history 47.. 160 England. see Orientalism Eastern Europe 113 economic history Annales school 126–27 Carr 130 Herodotus 30 Lemkin 111–12 Marx 123–24.. 166 Edgeworth. 209–11. Maria 68 education Beard (CA & Mary) 100–101 Holocaust denial 213 women 155. 121. 208 postmodernism 185 transnational 235 women historians 157. 191–93. 114. see British English-speaking world 110. 49. 147 Egyptology 51. 230 community of nations 117 feminism 161–62 history as discipline & profession 50–52. 226–27. 197–98 Enola Gay. 26–27. 135. 91–93. 83 literature 31. 223 drama Acton 79 Benjamin 93–95 Burckhardt 72 Bury 85 Herodotus 13. 71–73. 194. research ethics ethnicity.Index . 122.. 64–65. Geoffrey 209 émigrés. 57–61. 60–65. 186. 62.. John W. 275 . 132–33. see refugee historians emotion (Trevelyan) 85 empiricism 102. 214–17. 71 profession of history 71 Western historical writing 116 Dower. 93. 141. . 144–45. 30–31. 79. 55. 145. see also Holocaust nationalism 116 non-European cultures compared 1–2. 37. 18–23. 126. 182. 159. Friedrich 122. 51. 116. see sexual history errors 4. Richard J. 104. George 77 Eliot. 104. 95.S. 181 medieval & Renaissance history 50.. 212. 29–30. 152. 48. 15. 229 see also lies and fabrication ethics. 224 Enlightenment 30. 229–30 see also research Engels. 81.Tillman 224 East and West. 55. see Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing environmental history 177 epic genre (White) 192 epic poetry 20–21. 167–68 Edwardian culture 91 Egypt 9. 76–79. see periodicity Ermarth. Elizabeth Deeds 209 erotic history. 120 elites Herodotus 26 subaltern studies 198–99 Elton. 109–10.T. 124–26. 54. 103.

see wonders farce Marx 124–25 White 192 fascism 91.Index . 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. 35.. see lies and fabrication falsity. 88 Croce 93 Marx 122 postmodernism 186 Trevelyan 85 experience (feminist historians) 178–79 experimentation. 70.. 206 Ferris. 232 Holocaust denial 213–15. 156–57. 172. 116.. literary 204–6. 138 history wars 226.. 48. 236 events 20th century historians 136 Annales school 127 Becker 96–98 Berlin 119 Collingwood 105 Hempel 109–10. 217–18 late 20th century 205 Scott’s novels 62 subaltern studies 199 Thucydides 49 Trevelyan 84 evolution Benjamin 95 Bury 83. 176 fantasy. 188 Hexter 143–44. see truth family history 68. 135 Thucydides 36. Henri 126 feminism historical writing 154–79 literary criticism 67–68 see also women’s movement feminist historians 153. 233 explanation Bury 88 Derrida 152 feminist historians 178 Hempel 109–11.. 106 falsification. 227–28. 233 Holocaust denial 212 Lévi-Strauss 145 Marx 125 postmodernism 182–85 Ranke 56 White 180 everyday history Herodotus 3. 164–79. 130–33 Collingwood 105 Evans 210 feminist historians 178 Foucault 187 history wars 4. 160–61. see lies and fabrication facts 6 Beard (Mary) 158 Becker 96–97 Bury 83 Butterfield 98–99 Carr 1.William 203 Febvre.. 209. 86 Trevelyan 84–85 White 192 women’s writing 68 faith Beard (CA) 101–2. 276 . 229. 106–7.. 138. 227 Holocaust denial 212 Marx 124 Nietzsche 92 Ranke 57.. Ina 67 . 211 Faulkner. 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.

Moira 172 Geertz. 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. 124–25. 98. 194. 21–25. Betty 162 Friedländer. 154–61.. 196. 181–91. 112 see also French Revolution Franks 112–13 freedom of speech 213–14 Freemasons 55 free will. 178. Sigmund 112. 160 Freud.. 82. 107–8 Gatens. 113 Herodotus 31–32 Hexter 143 subaltern studies 199 France historical & scholarly writing 126. 204 fragments Benjamin 95. 201 women’s writing 68. Fichte. 160. Russian 194 forms 2–3 history wars 233 late 20th century 201–3 White 193 Foucault. 132–33 historical writing 3. 202. 198 Flemish 59 Flexner.G.. 57–58. 141 Flaubert. 197 travellers & refugees in 91. Jakob 77 frontier. 166.. 157 general laws 20th century historians 136 Annales school 126–27 Berlin 118 Hempel 109–10. 54. 47–48. 277 . 185–86.. king of Prussia 53 Frohschammer. 203–4 Rashomon effect 183. 229. 226–27. 163. John 203 Fox-Genovese. 176. J. 106–7. Shulamith 162–63 first-person narratives.Index . 47 historical reflection 128–29. 76. 180 Ranke 52 Smith (Bonnie) 99 see also women’s history genealogy Foucault 184–85 Nietzsche 184 postmodernism 184–86. 64–65. see determinism French Revolution 84. 169–70.. 231 Holocaust denial 214 Formalism. Saul 212 Friedrich Wilhelm IV. 203–4. 135 fiction.. Mahatma 25. 171. see literature films 6. see colonisation Frye. Joshua 226–27 footnotes Evans 210 Hexter 142 history wars 227. 62. 144–46.. Gustave 23. 76. 176. 194 Friedan. 109. 186 ‘Truth and Power’ 185–86 Fowles. 182. Eleanor 162–63 fluency (Thompson) 140 Fogel. 199 subaltern studies and 199–200 truth 183–84. Northrop 192–95 future. 165. see ‘I’ voice fish metaphor (Carr) 131–33. 236 history 53. 138 Marxists 125 Oakeshott 128 Thompson 139 genocide . Michel 10. 106–7. 233 Finns 59 Firestone. 222 critiques of 206. Clifford 202 gender Butterfield 99–100 feminist writing 162. Elizabeth 174–75 fragmentation Foucault 187 late 20th century 201–2. see prediction Gandhi. 224. 102. 173–79 Foucault 190 Herodotus 3.

146 multiple storytelling 18. 226. 124. 117 see also democracy. 70. 236 see also Ranke medieval history 57–60. 179–81. 30–32. Oscar 143 Hartmann.. 19. 112 doubleness of history 13. 30–31. 140. 179 geography. 16. Romano-German culture. Lionel 51. 93. 156. Patricia 169 Guattari. 48. Pieter 116–17. 64 modern history 7. Carlo 202 Gladstone. ancient 55.. 87.. 82. Mary 170 Hartog. 133. 120–21 Herodotus’ account 12–30. 64–66. 71 government 25–26 ‘I’ voice 19–20. 127.. 31. 12–13. 95. 16. 52. 201 government Acton 77–78 Becker 97 Croce 91 Herodotus’ discussion of forms 25–26 historians and 235 history wars 222. 194. 85–87 Thucydides’ account 33–49. see religion Goethe. Charlotte Perkins 160 Ginzburg. Miss 79 globalisation. 47 World War II 116 genres Bakhtin 195 Herodotus 21. 188 Herodotus 12–32 allegory 31. 66. 278 . 109. 106. 118. 125. Ranajit 198–99 Gypsies 50. 89 Greek language 111 Griffis.Index . 120–21. 109–10.Werner 121 Hempel.William Elliot 205 Grimshaw. 138. Clarissa 53 Greece. 73 Thucydides 39. Lord 76 Graves-Perceval. 224 Harwit. 194. 9. 22–28. 29. 30 Western historical writing 10. king 87 German Idealism 54. 154 Heisenberg. J. 197–98. 95 colonisation 27–28 cosmopolitan mode 13–17. 111–14 Ranke 60. von 135 Gossman.. see place. Burckhardt 73 history wars 227. 91. monarchy. Felix 10 Guha. 92. 142. 85 Hall. 75–78. 27 Harvard University 87. oligarchy. 226–27 see also Holocaust see also Prussia. Edward 89 Gilman. states Graeco-Roman world. 233 postmodernism 6. 30.. 85–87.W. 210 present 129 prose form 20–21 Thucydides compared 3. 228. 114. 85–87. 75. 91. 60. 21. see classical antiquity Granville. 46–49. see transnationalism God. G. space George III. 201. 71. 134–35. 230 Ranke 52–53. Trauerspiel Geyl. 73. 119. 134–35 Germany historians 70. 66. 30.W. 135 Gibbon. 237 . 219. Martin 222 Hawaii 4 Hegel. Stuart 167 Handlin. 33–37. 183. 48. 174. 49. 183 truth 17–20 war 3. 45. 130. François 13. 67 Thucydides 48 Vann 139 White 192–94 women writers 156–57. Rider 132 Halicarnassus 14.F. 45. 206. Carl G. 83. 231–32 Lemkin 17... 46–49. 48 historical reflection 128 late 20th century 201–2 modernist hierarchy 180 postmodernism 181 Scott’s novels 63. 100 Haggard.

. 49. Lynn. 116. 63. 115. 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. 213. Emperor 223 Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing 4. see historical novels historical laws. bell 175 Hopkins.G. 192. I. 70. J. 134–35 ideas. 27–28 Orientalism 197 Thucydides 44. 122 Barthes 145 Beard (CA) 103 Holocaust denial 7. Stuart 91 Hungarians 57. 231 holy hieroglyph (Ranke) 54–55... 195. see understanding historiography. 213 Marx 123 Orientalism 197 postmodernism 185 women’s history 168 Iggers. 199 hindsight (Thompson) 140 Hippocrates 83 Hirohito. 195 Heyman.H. Adolf 106. see determinism historical novels late 20th century 202 Scott 61–68. 232–33 Historia 128 historical analysis Hexter 144 Yang 227. 203 women writers 67–68. see history of ideas ideology 5 20th century 116. 25. see general laws historical necessity. H. 120 Honda. 116. see Telling the Truth about History Huxley.. see methodology historical understanding. 10. 221. Katsuichi 225 hooks. 116. 154. 215 Hobsbawm.. 65. 70. 236 Horkheimer. A. 59. 141–44. Max 106 hubris 19th century historical writing 131 Bury 89 Herodotus 22–23. 122. 155–56 historical practice. 134–35 Ikuhiko. 151–53. 172 Hitler. 179–81 heteroglossia (multivocality) 31. women 21–25. 220–37 History Workshop Journal 125. 91–92 Arendt 120–21 . 217–20. 46 Hughes. 111–13. Michael 222 Hill. 233 historical fiction.Index . 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. Minoru 236 Holocaust 7–8. 279 . Christopher 125. 202 Hexter. Georg G. 156. 172 History Workshop movement 167–68. 168. 71 Homer: Iliad 20–21. Aldous 203 Icelandic sagas 61 idealism anti-postmodernism 207 German 54.. 103. Eric 125. 211–13.. 199 Hokari. 232 historical contingency (Bury) 87–89. 203 Hunt. Hata 226 imagery.. 68.

19 Ireland 60. 236 ancient 14. 236 Jaspers. 217–19 late 20th century 201 Lerner 165 multiple. 205. 107. see research Ionia 14. Erik 51. 27–28. 135. 4. 236 Western historical writing 48 impersonality Acton 80–82. 232–34. see religion Israel 220. 130–33. 146 late 20th century 146. 86 transnationalism and 201.. 6 Beard (Mary) 158.. 57–58. Bury 89 Geyl 117 historians and governments 235 Ranke 117 Thucydides 121 imperialism Arendt 120 Carr 132 feminist historians 177 Herodotus 25. 223–29. 67–68 Irigaray. 220–21. 39–47. 228.. 141 Collingwood 106 Derrida 148–49.. 16. 91–92. 106. Karl 17 Jay. Henry 193. 45 Iversen. 231–33 Holocaust denial 214. 21. 203... Martin 212 Jena Romanticism 31 . 30. 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 transnationalism international law genocide 113 Herodotus 14 Thucydides 38 interpretation 1–2.Index . 48 history wars 222. Luce 176 irony Herodotus 21 Scott’s novels 66 Thucydides 87 White 192–93 Irving. 234 Istanbul 112 Italy 50. 76. 204 Scott’s novels 66 Thucydides 48–49.. 224. 204–5 Japan 4. 49. 151 Evans 210 Herodotus 19. see determinism internationalism. 202.. 30 Lemkin 114 Orientalism 197 subaltern studies 201 Thucydides 33–34. 111. see Rashomon effect Nietzsche 75 postmodernism 183. 53. see Telling the Truth about History James. 198–200. David 212–16. 55 ‘I’ voice Barthes 146 Herodotus 19–20. 280 . 146 Jacob. 229 Islam. 165 Bury & Cornford 85 Carr 1. 186 Thucydides 48 White 180 investigation. Margaret. 91 Foucault 191 implication (Morris-Suzuki) 234 incompleteness Hempel 109–10 Hexter 144 India 9.

134 Scott’s novels 65 Thucydides 42–43.H. 78. 85–86 Jungian terms 193 justice Hempel 110 Nietzsche 73–74 Keegan. 17. James 30. Philippe 31 Ladurie. 233 Holocaust denial 212 Oakeshott 128 Ranke 70. 203 Joyce. 221–22. 172 Kingston. Patrick 209 Judeo-Christian heritage 9. 233–34 Leibniz. 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. 96.. 209. 219. 9. 190 Kraditor. 231–32 Lerner. Aileen 162–63 Kuchuk Hanem 23 Kuhn. Marilyn 169. Keith 5–6. G. 187. 167–69. 93. 172–73. 45.Teresa de 176–77 Lawrence. 116–17. 81. Claude 8. 108 Lemkin. 169–70 letters 18th century 51 women’s writing 157 Lévi-Strauss.Thomas 138 Kundera. Jacques 176 LaCapra. 169–70.Index ... 106. 164–65.W. 203 labour history Marxist 207 women 156–57. 106. 176 Lacan. see general laws lawsuits 212–16 left-wing historians 226. 111–13. 233 postmodernism 184.. Emmanuel Le Roy 202 Lake. 217 Jews 7. 227. Jane 172 liberalism Asad 9 Acton 77–78 anti-postmodernism 208 Carr 129 Ranke 52–53 lies and fabrication Herodotus 13 history wars 4. 231 Holocaust denial 4213–216 life anti-postmodernism 207 . 213. 193 judgement (critical thinking) Acton 80–81. 60. Raphaël 10. 111 Lauretis. 200 Lewis. 229. see RomanoGerman culture Latin language 104. D. 193.. 119 Berlin 118–19 Bury 85 Butterfield 99 Collingwood 105 Croce 92 Herodotus 18 history wars 4.. see linguistic turn La Rochefoucauld 31 Latin-German culture. Akira 183.Victor 106 Knights.. 215. 222. Jenkins. Joan 164–65. Beverley 169 Klemperer. 186 Evans 211 feminist historians 178 Hexter 143–44 history wars 222. 144–47. 64–66.. Dominick 196. Karl 134 language. 227 see also Holocaust Joyce. Sir John 215 Kelly-Gadol. 120. 212 Lacedaemonians. 281 . Milan 205 Kurosawa. 177 Lamprecht. see Spartans Lacoue-Labarthe. 93 laws. 225. Gerda 10.

48. Lord 76.J. 209. 178 meaning Bakhtin 196 . Susan 169 Magritte. see forms. 150. 20–21. genres. prose writing Lithuanians 57 Llosa. General 225 Matthews.. 139–40 Carr and 130 feminism and 160. 196 Marxism (Soviet Union) 194 Marxist historians anti-postmodernism 206–9 Berlin and 118 British 125–26. 25–26 Marquez. 48. 37. 201. 183. 163. 185–87 subaltern studies 199 White 191 see also metaphors Lipstadt. Karl 118. 133. 181 Scott’s novels 67 Smith (Bonnie) 99 materialism 207 Matsui. René 217 Maitland. 210 Manne... 93. 41. 122. Croce 92–93 Nietzsche 73–74. 135 Macaulay. 188–89 Ranke 52.. Georg 62. 136.. 54–56. 86. 203 Lutheranism 52. 130. 180 Vann 139 Western historical writing 116 White 191–94 women’s historical writing 154. 174 Foucault and 186 profession of history 116. 148. Robert 231 Mannheim. 153 Herodotus 13–14.W. 154–55 historical writing 159. 164 see also drama. 5–6. 192 history wars 233 late 20th century 202–3 Orientalism 198 postmodernism 180–82. 11 18th century 50–51 19th century 50–51. 120. 81. 137–53 anti-postmodernism 207–9. 69 20th century 122. 169. 177 Herodotus 21 Hexter 142–44 historical reflection 128.Index . 71. 84. 89 Carr 141 Cornford 86 Derrida 146.. 282 . 229 literary experimentation 204–6. 138 logocentrism (phonocentrism) (Derrida) 147 London School of Economics 157 long-term patterns. 167. king of France 62–64 Luce. 182 subaltern studies 198–99 masculinity Acton 81 Beard (Mary) 161 Butterfield 99–100 feminist historians 170–71. Jill 169.. Gabriel 205 marvels. 233 literary form. 203. 123. Stuart 231 Magarey. 216. 156–57 logical positivism 118. 192. 124 Bakhtin 194–96 Barthes 145–46 Bury 82–85. 211 Bakhtin 194 feminist historians 178–79 late 20th century 201 postmodernism 181. Abraham 96–97 linguistic turn 1. poetry. 79. 67–68. novel writing. 85 Hexter 143–44. 89 Macintyre. 135 Thucydides 37. Catherine Sawbridge 157 Macaulay. Deborah 212–14. 30–31. literary modernism. F. genres literary modernism 91.T. 92 Lincoln. 172. 183 The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon 124–25. 184. Karl 130 Mardonius 16–17. see wonders Marx. 126. Mario Vargas 205 local histories 68. 151–53. see periodicity Louis XI. 13 Lukács.. 205 genres 180–81 literature 1–7.

218–19 Jenkins 6 metaphors 152 postmodernism 181 transnational history 237 White 193 Mediterranean societies 14. 216 Lévi-Strauss 145 mid-20th century 136 Ranke 52. 127 Meiggs. 128–29 Hempel 110–11 historical reflection 128–29 Nietzsche 50 postmodernism 181. Friedrich 134 Melian Dialogue (Thucydides) 16.. 120 Evans 210–11 Hexter 144 history wars 222 Holocaust denial 212. 149–52 Evans 152–53 games 138–39 gendered 99–100. Kate 162.. 65 Mesopotamia 27. 45. 61 military history. see lies and fabrication Mitchell. 94. 104 messianic power 9–10. 85. 186–89. 104. 31. 10 academic history 155 Acton 81 anti-postmodernism 207 Beard (CA) 101 Benjamin 95 Berlin 118 Burckhardt 72 Bury 83. 107–8. 27. Carr 132 Derrida 147–48. 126. 150–51 early 20th century historians 20.. 166 misogyny (Butterfield) 99 misrepresentation. John Stuart 160 Millett. 89 Comte 118 Derrida 147–48 Foucault 191 Hempel 110. 201–2 Middle Ages 50. 81. 233 Holocaust denial 212.. 107 Herodotus’ discussion 25–26 Ranke 53. 66 subaltern studies 200 Thucydides and 49. 49. 93–97. mountain metaphor metaphysics Berlin 118 Derrida 137 Frye 193 methodology 6–7. fish metaphor. 60–65.. 85–86 see also literary modernism Mommsen.. 113 metaphors 2 Butterfield 99–100 Carr 131–34. 141 Celan 115 Derrida 137. cricket analogies. 18–19. 81.. see warfare Mill. 85 Hexter’s rules 142 history wars 227–29. 191–93 Thompson 140 see also baseball analogies. 48 transnational history 236 Trevelyan 85 women’s history 179 micro-histories 180. 85 Lemkin 219 Nietzsche 80.Index . 83 subaltern studies 200 Thucydides 34. 41. 44–45. Russell 85–87 Meinecke. 283 . 138 Herodotus 14. 57 Thucydides’ description 33 Western historical writing 48 .Theodor 89 monads 108 monarchy Benjamin 94. 71–73. 36–37. 59. 83 Ranke 57–58. Juliet 167 modernity 9 anti-postmodernism 208 Arendt 120–21 Herodotus and 14. 79. 160 migrations Burckhardt 72 indigenous peoples and 4 Ranke 58–59. 47 Menippean modes 31..

85 Carr 1 Derrida 148 Evans 211 forms of writing 31 Foucault 184.. 60. see transnationalism multiple narratives 6 Carr 141 Foucault 189 Herodotus 18. 284 . 70 Scott’s novels 62–63. 117 myths 9–10 Barthes 145 Benjamin 94 Derrida 137.Index . 194 . 22 history wars 4.. 217–19 late 20th century 201–5 Lemkin 112 postmodernism 181. 189–90 Herodotus 12–15. 232–33 Napoleon 28. 85–86 see also research ethics Morris-Suzuki. 196 Foucault 201 history wars 233 Thucydides 37–38 montage 31. 71. 76 morality 4–5 Acton 77.. 48. 195. 225 Thucydides 86–87 White 192–93 women’s writing 68 Mytilenian Debate (Thucydides) 40–41. 201 Hexter 142–44. 44. 152 Evans 210 Foucault 187. monologic texts Bakhtin 37–38.. 48. 30. 152–53. 216–17 Berlin 133 Evans 216–17 multinationalism. 44–47. 191 Geyl 117. 37. 66 Thucydides 42. 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. 221. 85 Trevelyan 85 Vann 138–39 White 143. 224–29. 141. Jean-Luc 31 Nanjing massacre 4. 44 Nancy. 194.. 202–3 Montagu. 191–92. 23–25. 234 mountain metaphor (Carr) 132–34. 151–52 history wars 232–33 Holocaust denial 212. 87. Michel de 31 monumental history (Nietzsche) 73–74. Rashomon effect multivocality (heteroglossia) 31. 202 Murnane... 150. Mary 169 Mussolini.. 183 late 20th century 201 White 194 see also polyphonic texts. 66–67.Tessa 220. Lady Mary Wortley 157 Montaigne. 41. 119 Herodotus 26. 29–31. 183 profession of history 71 Ranke 56. 17–21. 71 history wars 221. 55. 119 Berlin 118–19 Burckhardt 72–73 Bury 83. 119 Derrida 150. 152 Herodotus 19. 232–34 Holocaust denial 217–18 Lemkin 112 Oakeshott 128 Orientalism 197 Ranke 70 Scott’s novels 65 Thompson 140 Thucydides 26. 125. Benito 116 My Secret Life 189–90 Mysteries 18 mysticism Benjamin 107 Nietzsche 75 Ranke 54–55. 21. 80.

H. 114.. 39 omniscient style 183. 46–47 Olympia 15. 211 Arendt 121 Barthes 146 Beard (CA) 102 Berlin 118 Burckhardt 72 Butterfield 98 Carr 130.. 61–68.. 100. Michael 128–29 objectivity 2. Lord 104 Nerval. J. 83. 116. 217 mid-20th century 122. 92. multiple narratives. Gérard de 198 Netherlands 57. 77 Newton. Sir Isaac 51 New Zealand 167 Nietzsche. 208. 210. 228. national narratives nationalism 20th century 116 Acton 77–78. 72 natural science. 25 Hexter 143 late 20th century 203–5 Ranke and Sir Walter Scott 56. 120. Friedrich 31. 218. 226 Nazism and 112 Smith (Bonnie) 155 subaltern studies 198 see also transnationalism national narratives 10 Bury 88 Cambridge Modern History 82. see Europe Normans 59 North America 7. 135 Smith (Bonnie) 99 Thucydides 38. 80. 233 optimism Burckhardt 71–72 Bury 88. 82 neutrality Acton 77–78 Foucault 184.. 132–33. 226. 285 . 93. 220–23. 22 oral history . 91 history wars 4. 164 genocide 111. 73. 74–76. 82 anti-postmodernism 208 Bury 83 history wars 4. 71 oracles 16. 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 determinism (inevitability) Nelson. 5–6 academic history 155 Acton 78 anti-postmodernism 206–9. 115 Oakeshott.Index . 186 New Criticism 192 New Left 116.. 36. 192 see also Canada. 183–84. 106. 136 Nietzsche 75 postmodernism 186 Ranke 70. 198 nomads Butterfield 100 Herodotus 27–28 non-Europeans. 95 Carr 129–30 Ranke 65. see also author-narrators. 69. see states Native Americans 7. 50. Peter 7–8. 141 Derrida 150 early 20th century 91 Holocaust denial 215. 168 New Left Review 167 Newman. 231–32. 70 White 193 women 164 Novick. 132. United States novel writing Bakhtin 195 Becker 96 Collingwood 105 Herodotus 14.. 127. 130. ‘I’ voice. see science Nazism 60. 137. 227 necessity. 213.. 42 oligarchy Herodotus’ discussion 25–26 Thucydides’ description 33. 19..

130 Thucydides’ account 34. 155 Herodotus 18.. 170–71. present pastiche 31 patriarchy 162. 86. 77 paradigms 138–39. 46 personal Becker 97 Bury 89 Croce 92 Thucydides 86 women’s writing 68. Max 94 Pericles 36. 205 Organisation of American Historians (OAH) 164 Orientalism 18. 234 Holocaust denial 213. 6. 86. 117 subaltern studies 199 time spans (Annales school) 126–28 women’s history 171–72 Persia Herodotus’ account 12. Thucydides 36 women’s writing 68 oratory (Thucydides’ set speeches) 37–40. 60. Christabel and Sylvia 158 Papacy 53. 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. 28.. Blaise 31.. 144. 64. Emmeline. 172 Palmer. 22–28. Brian 207 Pandey. 120 Berlin 119 Butterfield 98–101 Carr 1. 36 history wars 220–21. 173–75. 130 Pensky. 26. see impartiality participation. 132–33 Collingwood 104–6 Croce. 197–99 origins 128–29 see also causal laws Osgood. 92 postmodernism 183 Ranke 56. 100–101. 46. king of Spain 127 philosophy 10 . 81. 39. 38–49. Gyanendra 199. see contemporary history particulars (Ranke) 56 see also detail Pascal. 201 Pankhurst.Index .. 177 Peloponnesian war 12. 36. see also Ranke. 286 . 218–19 Lemkin 60 Nietzsche 75. 133.. 14–17. 42–44. see individuals pessimism Becker 97 Burckhardt 134 Holocaust denial 219 Stone 219 subaltern studies 201 Philip II. 157 persons.. 69 past 1–3. 152 partiality. 40. 66. 167–68. 66. 117. 33–36.. 19. 125 periodicity 3 Geyl 117 Marx 122–23 postmodernism 182 Ranke 80–81. 30. 121. 48. 86. see Croce Davin 168 Evans 168 Fichte 54 gendered reflection 128–29. 47. 42–44. 130. 8 anti-postmodernism 208 Arendt 120 Barthes 146 Benjamin 108.. 70. 115 O’Shane. Pat 174 Other 64. Herbert L. Leopold von: wie es eigentlich gewesen (what actually happened) Scott’s novels 61 Thucydides 48 White 191–92 see also alterity of the past. 66.



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





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





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





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





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





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



156–57 Staël. see religion . Leo 17. Jonathan 103 symbolism Becker 96 Lévi-Strauss 144–45 White 193 Syracuse. Benedict 54–55. 107 Spartans Herodotus’ account 12. Jonathan 202 Spengler... 151 European structuralism 144 feminism and 175 poststructuralist critique 181–82. Harriet 160 Telling the Truth about History (1994) 207–9. 229–32. Anne 169 Suzuki. Barbara 172 Taylor. 57–60. 79. 64. Bram: Dracula 204 Stone. 195 Collingwood 105 Marx 122 see also place Spain and Spanish empire 27. 80. 223 Stoker.. South America 204–5 Soviet Union 130. 10 Acton 80 Beard (Mary) 160–61 Benjamin 94 Burckhardt 72–73. 87 Spitzer. 91. 49 speech Derrida 147. 116–17 subaltern studies 198–200 Thucydides 181 transnationalism and 236 see also government Stephanson. 15. Anders 141 Stimson. 133 Holocaust denial 217 late 20th century 201 success. 293 . 46. 112 Spongberg. 72. 222–23 space 9 Annales school 126–27 Bakhtin 122.. history of. 26 Thucydides’ account 9. 236 Teutonic culture. see narratives stream of consciousness 205 structures anti-postmodernism 207 Bakhtin 195 Derrida 146. 75. 38–39. Germaine de 157 Stalin 116 states 3. 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. 70. see victors Summers. 66. 24. ancient 45–46 Syracuse University 115 Tacitus 89 Tanaka.. Henry L. Oswald 118 Spinoza. Dan 217–19 storytelling. 36. 193 Themistocles 16 theology. Akira 225 Sweden 59. Masaaki 225 Tasmania 221.. 186 Thompson 139–40 White 193 see also poststructuralism subaltern studies 180. 19–20. see oratory Spence. Mary 63.. 41–44. 33. 83. 218. 111 Swift. 134 Bury 83 Nietzsche 75 Orientalism 198 Ranke 57.. 198–99 subjectivity anti-postmodernism 208 Arendt 120–21 Beard (CA) 102 Carr 130. 194.Index . 149 Foucault 188 speeches. 234 Taylor.

197–98. 12–13. 42–44. 22. 85–87. 12–13. 46. Leo 37 Tomio. 186–87.The 30–31 Thucydides 10. E. 30–31.. John 55 toleration 5. 125. 120. 156. 107. 47 Mytilenian debate 39–41. 121. 294 . 51. 46–49. 222 totemism (Lévi-Strauss) 144 traces anti-postmodernism 208 Derrida 148.. 120 Truman government 221–23 Trumpener. 44–45. 151–52 White 191 tragedy Baldwin 8 Benjamin 94 Bury 89 Butterfield 99 Carr 132 Hegel 124 Herodotus 13. 41. 194. 33–37. 27–30. 125.P. 195 Benjamin 107 Collingwood 105 European notions 2. 183 ‘I’ voice 48–49. 44 Ranke and 66–67. 17. 36. 33–39 contemporary history 33–34. Dorothy 168 Thompson. 84. 179–81. 9. 48 Foucault and 183. 156. 134–35 subaltern studies 200 Thucydides 49 universalism 9 see also international law Trauerspiel 93–95 travellers Croce 91 Egyptology 55 Herodotus 14–16. Louise 176 time Acton 80–81 Bakhtin 122. 9–10 Evans 210 Marx 122 see also periodicity Titanic 91 Tokyo War Crimes Trial (1946–48) 224–25 Toland. 84–85 Trojans 19–21..Index . 48. George Macaulay 10. 16. 24–25. 86–87... 208 Barthes 146 . 112 history 234–37 history wars 228–29 Lemkin 111–12 Marxists 125 Nietzsche 74–75 Ranke’s universal history 54. Hora 225 total history anti-postmodernism 207 Foucault 182. Katie 68 truth 1–6 anti-postmodernism 206. 89 Western historical writing 9. 81. 189 totalitarianism 47. 139–40. 237 Tilley. 205 tragic form 41–47. 86–87. 29 Price 204 women historians 156 Trevelyan. 89 White 192–93 transnationalism Burckhardt’s world history 72 Cambridge Modern History 82. 79. 49. 48. 23 Homer 21 Marx 124 modernist worldview 180 postmodernism 181 Thucydides 41–47. 21–22.. Edith 169 Thompson. 48... 179 set speeches 37–41. 47–49. third world 199–200 Thirty Years War 94 Thomas. 91 Derrida 150 émigré historians 112 feminist historians 177 Herodotus’ cosmopolitanism & world history 13–15. 191 Herodotus compared 3. 216 Cornford 85–87 doubleness of history 13. 80 Tolstoy. 146 Melian dialogue 16. 219. 167–68. 199 Thousand and One Nights.

224. 169 Voltaire 65 Walker. 205. 156. 22–28. see morality Vann.. 132. 225–26. 228–29. 174–76 world power 116. 32. 30 history wars 4. 138–39. 110–12. see also American Historical Association history 62. 167. 100–106.. see transnationalism universities. 165. 226.. 110. 111.Index . 73 postmodernism 183–86 Ranke 56. 213. Beard (CA) 102 Bury 83 Carr 1. 163. 53 Verifiability Principle 138 Vico. 228. see British United States historians 70. 230. women utopianism Benjamin 95 Berlin 118 Bury 95 Carr 130 Collingwood 104–5 Herodotus 25 Marx 196 values. 295 . 221.. 227. 191. Samuel 223 war crimes 224–26 warfare (military history) Burckhardt 73 Bury 87 Herodotus 3. 158. see education. 158–70. Sojourner (Isabella Baumfree) 175 Turks 57 uncertainty Evans 210 Herodotus & Thucydides 48. 234–35 . 67 Thucydides 48 transnational history 236–37 White 194 Truth. 232–33 Holocaust concept 7–8 Iggers 134–35 immigrants & refugees from Europe 106. 218 Nietzsche 48. 156. 149 Derrida 150 Egyptology 55 Evans 210–11 feminist history 179 Foucault 183–84 Gandhi 108 Herodotus 17–20. 119 women 79.. 141 Celan 115 Collingwood 105 Croce 92. 48 Hexter 143–44 history wars 220–22. 232–34 Holocaust denial 213. 221 history wars 4. Giambattista 91 Victorian culture 91 victors (successful) Benjamin 107 Ranke 107 Thompson 139–40 Vietnam: American War 116. 115. 220–23. 16. 141 Varnhagen von Ense. 67 Marx 196 Ranke 67 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide 113 understanding Derrida 152 Hexter 144. 141–42. 122 unity Benjamin 95 Berlin 118 Bury 83 Comte 118 postmodernism 182–83 Ranke 56–60 White 193 universal history. 207. 72–73. 236 in World War II 7. 216. 87.. 134–35. 151 history wars 232 Holocaust denial 219 United Kingdom. Richard T... 109. Karl and Rahel 52 Vassar College 79 Venice 50. J.

154–56 victims 170 see also feminism Women’s Convention (1851) 175 women’s history feminism 163–79 Herodotus 21–25. 210–12 White. 106–7. 236–37 Yeats. 90–91. 170 invisibility 169. 97–98. 163–79 novels 67–68 philosophy & politics 161–63 wonders and fantasticality Herodotus 12–13. 161–79 see also feminism women’s rights 158–59.. 158. 191–94. 208. 143. see transnationalism World War I 87. Hayden 10–11.. 186 Ranke 57–58. Galarrwuy 27 . 224–25. 168. 69 Woolf. 28.. 176 university education 79. 61. see Ranke. 179–81 Ranke 61 Scott’s novels 62–63. Barbara 167–68 Wollstonecraft. 173–74 subjection 158–63. 116. 70 Scott’s novels 62–63. 39 women’s movement 19th century 159–61 late 20th century 155. 120 Young-Bruehl. 130.William 132 working historians 206 working people 139–40. 175 Women’s Trade Union League 158 women’s work. 163. 114. 157. 159 The Woman Voter 158 women exclusion 159. 93. 170–71. Daqing 10. 168 see also class. 203 peace conference 103. 154. 103. 163 Waterloo 82 Whigs 81.. 179 Orientalism 197 postmodernism 181. 90–91. 197. 66. Mary 157. 127–28. 296 .W.Virginia 203 Wordsworth. 160. 90–91. 24–25 Yahoos 103 Yang. 70. 212–13. 180. 87 women and 68. 154–61. 98–99 White. 30–31 modern history 55. 234 Winslow.B. 173–74. 221–29 writing Derrida 147–50 Foucault 188–89 Xerxes... see labour history women writers genres 68 history 68. everyday history world history. 163. 158. 35–36. 178 oppression 161. Leopold von: wie es eigentlich gewesen (what actually happened) William III. 86. 229–32. 134–35.Index . 68. Morton 142 wie es eigentlich gewesen. king 81 Windschuttle. 33–36. 227–29. 121.. Elisabeth 119 Yunupingu.. 65 Thucydides 35. 130 World War II 7. 38–49. Keith 5. 65 Thucydides 3. king of Persia 15–17. 84. Homer 63 Lemkin 113 masculinity 155. 203. 18. 156.

this lively and insightful study commands the reader’s attention. Professor of History and Catherine C. rehearsing some of the most critical genealogies of the discipline. fact and fiction. George Washington University Curthoys and Docker have produced an exposition of the history of historical writing that is at once elegant. and Bruce A. DANE KENNEDY. The University of Illinois UNSW PRESS . passionate. . starting at its source with Herodotus and Thucydides and concluding with the ‘history wars’ that rage at present. Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History and International Affairs. Modern History. Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies. they engage questions of gender and genre. Macquarie University The authors range fearlessly across time and space. ANTOINETTE BURTON. University College London From its provocative title onward. The authors navigate with great skill through the intellectual channels of Western historiography. A must-read for all historians and indeed anyone with an interest in history.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. politics and presentism. Their sense of critical responsibility to interpretations of the past and their relation to the present makes this an incisive contribution to contemporary debates. erudite. CATHERINE HALL. 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. and accessible. Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History. Associate Professor. Accessible and provocative. this is the book to read. MARY SPONGBERG. From Herodotus to the Holocaust via Ranke and Gandhi and Foucault. . audacious and imaginative .

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