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A Critical Analysis of the Portrayal of the Historian in a Selected Sample of Twentieth Century English Novels

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Title: A Critical Analysis of the Portrayal of the Historian in a Selected Sample of Twentieth Century English Novels
Authors: Gaetano, Donna
Issue Date: 26 Sep 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: History, as well as historians, has frequently been maligned by a wide spectrum of European intellectuals in the twentieth century. Criticism has ranged from mildly derogatory pronouncements to sweeping condemnations of history’s ability to serve as a positive force in human life. Paul Valery, a noted French poet and philosopher, offers perhaps the best example of a contemptuous rejection of history’s worth. History is the most dangerous concoction the chemistry of the mind has produced… It sets people dreaming, intoxicates them, engenders false memories, exaggerates their reflexes, keeps old wounds open, torments their leisure, inspires them with megalomania…and makes nations bitter, proud, insufferable and vain. History can justify anything you like. It teaches strictly nothing, for it contains and gives examples of everything. Valery’s harsh assessments of history parallel criticisms of historians. Michael Oakeshott, himself a historian and a political scientist, disapproves of those historians who exult in the irrelevance of the past and who are oblivious to the world’s demands that history have some applicability to the present.
Pages/Duration: 89 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/33800
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for History



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