#READ EBOOK ⚡ Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe ⛄ eBook or E-pub free

I must admit that I found this book really confusing and it took me quite a while to get through it The basic idea is interesing, the linguistic, narrative and poetic nature of history The apparatus White is using is confusing at times and I don t think his theoretical world corresponds to the actual analysis he is doing of the historical and philosophical texts I expected a structuralist, linguistic examination of parts of texts but in the end his analysis is about the different ways of realism in 19th century historiography and philosophy of history He makes interesting statements and I think he made a great starting points of presenting his ideas on historiography and its fictive elements I somehow wish he had applied his theoretical apparatus the way he had described in the introduction though Anyway, Hayden White is a must read for all historians and literary critics Objectivity and a technical language can t exist in humanist studies. Metahistory The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth Century Europe is not a work for the casual reader Hayden White s opus requires some commitment and some work It is lengthy and there is a lot of jargon to wade through While jargon in a work of history often seems to substitute for original or even simply interesting thought, White s project is complex enough that the jargon is warranted It effectively becomes shorthand for very complicated ideas so that the reader can follow White has he builds his arguments and he does not need to restate himself at every turn Essentially, White examines eight nineteenth century authors four historians and four philosophers of history in order to dissect their works and discern the literary premises upon which they constructed their narratives I will attempt to paraphrase his project and I will not half do it justice White examined the works of G.W.F Hegel, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Benedetto Croce, Jules Michelet, Leopold von Ranke, Alexis de Tocqueville and Jacob Burckhardt In doing so, he paid special attention to what he called the poetic trope each author used to characterize their narrative That is, were they basing their historical narratives in Metaphor, Irony, Metonymy or Synecdoche Depending on the trope employed, each author s work would proceed on the grounds assumed by that trope In this way, the operative trope of a work of history would necessarily characterize its subject in a certain fashion, whether the trope were consciously chosen or subconsciously employed Additionally, unconnected to the operative trope, but working in conjunction with it, is the author s given method of emplotment Does he present the historical events at hand as Romance, Tragedy, Comedy or Satire All of these questions and oh so many determine, for White, the form these men s histories took I would come up with an example but, frankly, this aspect of Metahistory bored me a little I already believe that history is not a science or even really a pseudoscience, but an art It is not the least surprising to me that an historical narrative draws its epistemological assumptions from poetic conceits storytelling conceits and not from objective observation But this very topic, whether history is a science, a pseudoscience or an art, is precisely what White s subject authors were debating Which, in fact, brings me to what I did find really fascinating about Metahistory White contends that history in the newly scientific, Enlightenment world of the 18th century suffered from extreme irony There was nothing new under the sun, man had repeated the same savage and stupid mistakes in the past and would continue to do so into the future, and while change is inevitable it is neither distinctly traceable nor predictable This state of psychological malaise, triggered by a fever of scientific inquiry that only pointed out humankind s limitations, made it practically necessary to write history in an ironic mode Come Hegel and the 19th century, and folks were really tired of irony Hegel and the gentlemen whom White studies in Metahistory, sought to identify history as a discipline proper and, in many cases, as a scientific discipline They sought to liberate it from irony and to gasp learn lessons from it that would improve the state of man Okay, that last bit only generally For as White discovered, liberating oneself from irony when the history of man is, in fact, a cyclical pageant of power relationships is not an easy task And a good portion of these eight authors did not believe the march of history was necessarily toward something good or better And here s what I found really interesting the extent to which our post post modern world suffers from just such an ironic malaise We live in an incredibly ironic age It is truly difficult to be earnest and genuine when you have been shown, again and again, that there is a dark side to every positive human impulse and that the light and the dark exist in each of us simultaneously And if history does anything, it instructs us well of that As I wholeheartedly believe this correlation between the 19th century and the early 21st century, and as I too have studied history hoping to learn some truths of humanity, I was thrilled when White repeatedly found each of his eight authors grappling with a central conundrum, with which I struggle daily action versus withdrawal.Over and over again, the intellectual pursuits of these eight historians led them to weigh the public merits and personal toll of remaining politically active and invested in the the future of their societies, or of withdrawing into a personal life where one invests in private pursuits and loved ones and pretty much leaves the outside world to itself Something about studying history must bring this specific quandry upon one, for I have certainly been consumed by it in recent years Or maybe it is a general question we all must answer and, for those of us who are historically minded, the study of the expanse of time brings the question front and center Maybe for the scientifically minded, studying the universe s beginnings or the minute cosmos of an atom has the same effect In any event, I certainly fall on the withdrawn side of things as, it turns out, did Jacob Burckhardt I felt a great kinship with these eight men, even the ones who answered this question differently, for at least they asked itif all change seems to end up as the same old grinding wheel of power and oppression, why should I really advocate for change You take a long enough perspective on history and it all seems inane We are dust motes And we are not even particularly kind or virtuous dust motes We love our power and we want, want, want It makes me think of Meet John Doe the 1941 Capra film and Walter Brennan s rant about the heelots If you are not familiar, please take a few minutes and watch this clip I do not agree on every point, but I find it a really succinct way of summing up human greed and materialism And, like Walter Brennan s character, I prefer simply to not play that whole game rather than deal with the heelots I get by on a little and try not to wish for a lot I withdraw and I invest myself in the people and quiet pursuits I love I do vote, I donate a little time and money now and again, and I listen to the news But I definitely hear it filtered through the assumptions of the Ironic trope and emplotted by a mix of Satire and Comedy. #READ EBOOK õ Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe ð In White S View, Beyond The Surface Level Of The Historical Text, There Is A Deep Structural, Or Latent, Content That Is Generally Poetic And Specifically Linguistic In Nature This Deeper Content The Metahistorical Element Indicates What An Appropriate Historical Explanation Might BeIn Pursuing His Thesis, White Provides A Book That Will Be Of Interest To Philosophers As Well As Historians He Explicates The Styles Of Such Historians As Michelet, Ranke, Tocueville, And Borchardt And Of Such Philosophers Of History As Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, And Croce ,. While some parts are really hard to read, other parts are quite fun and I love White s ironical and sometimes almost taunting writing As a historian himself he probably knew when writing how some aspects of his thesis would enrage those historians who take themselves to seriously His main argument that historiography has thus far only been literary representations of past events that just like other literature can be categorized can only be regarded as close to the truth yet, the consequences of this are still open and this book is thus a good read for present historians to overthink their perspectives, methodological uses and start to move closer to the natural sciences in both its ambition, scientific writing, and methodological practices. Three levels by which historians provide explanation Mode of Emplotment Provides the meaning of the story by identifying the kind of story that it is Plot structure Romantic transcendence of the world experience, victory over it and his final liberation from it Phillips Tragic No festive occasions except false or illusory ones There is a fall of the protagonist and a gain in consciousness Comic Hope is held out for the temporary triumph of man over his world by the occasional reconcilliations These reconcilliations are symbolized as festive occasions Satirical Opposite of romance Hopes, truths, and possibilities are held Ironically Mode of Argument The story is explained by construction of a nomological deductive argument Theories of truth Formist Attempts to identify unique characteristics of objects in a historical field Dispersive and wide in scope Mechanistic Reductive and integrative Studies history to discern its laws like Marx Organicist See individual entities as components of processes which aggregate into wholes that are greater than the sum of their parts Nationalism This finds crystallization in dispersed events Phillips Contextualist Events can be explained by being set in the context of their occurrence the rest of the authors Mode of Ideological Implication This is the ethical element in the historian s assumption of a particular position on a study of past events The way historians suggest to their readers why their study is important Anarchist Abolish society and substitute a new community of individuals, held together by their shared sense of common humanity Radical Believes in the necessity of structural transformations Interested in reconstituting society on a new basis Conservative Suspicious of change of the status quo Phillips Liberal See change as fine tunings to the present The theory of tropes 4 figures of speech for analysis of poetic language This is not really necessary because examining specific lines of text is beyond the scope of this assignment Prefiguration Metaphor Representational Phenomena are characterized by similarity to each other my love is like a rose Metonymy Reductionist The name of a part is substituted for the name of a whole 50 sails 50 ships Synecdoche Integrative A part symbolizes a quality He is all heart Irony Negative Items that negate on the figurative level what they say on the literal level cold passion Or he is all heart in a different tone Self critical thought which denies the possibility of truth in language Phases of 19th century Historical Conscious First phase 1800 30 The pre Romantics like Rousseau Opposed the ironic construction of the Enlightenment Had an antipathy to rational The problem of historical knowledge was studied by Hegel He saw the problem as a schism between the Ironic and Metaphorical mode of studying the historical field French Positivists revised Enlightenment rationalism with an Organicst direction Auguste Comte Three schools of this period Romantic, Idealistic, and Positivist Mature of Classic phase, 1830 70 The master s of 19th historiography produced their work Michelet, Ranke, Tocqueville, Burckhardt were inspired by finding an objective past The success of the historians in this phase plunged historical consciousness into the Ironic mode This is the crisis in historicism They did this by their consistent elaboration of equally comprehensive yet mutually exclusive conceptions of the same set of events This undermined confidence in histories claim to be objective and scientific Crisis of Historicism, 1870 1900 Croce recognized that the crisis was due to the triumph of the ironic He hoped to purge historical thinking of irony by assimilating it into art The crisis was the impossibility of choosing among the different ways of viewing history The Historical Imagination Between Metaphor and Irony To be a realist This was to be objective and see things as they really were Realism is best defined by what the realists rejected about the Enlightenment They rejected irony and skepticism They accepted optimism and the concept of progress Hegel The Way Beyond Irony Synecdochic This was the most applicable because the physical and the human world can be comprehended in terms of hierarchies Four Kinds of Realism in 19th Historical Thinking Michelet Romantic Romantic, Formist, Liberal, Metaphor Ex of Metaphor and Romance in History of the French Revolution His description of the spirit of France is a characterization as the emergence of light from darkness France advances courageously through the dark winter, towards the wished for spring which promises a new light 151 Ranke Comedy Comic, Organicist, Conservative, Synecdoche Write history as it actually happened historicism Comedy A condition of apparent peace, through conflict, to a peaceful social order Conservatism He did not believe that new forms of community could emerge that would free men from the restrictions of the church or state Tocqueville Tragedy Tragic, Mechanist, Radical, Metonymy The future held little prospect of the reconciliation of man with man in society Their is a fall from a position of eminence and a failure to exploit given possibilities Democracy in America The spirit of independent judgment and criticism continued to develop in Europe from Luther, Descartes, Voltaire , in America this spirit degenerated into common opinion Burckhardt Satire Satirical, Contextualist, Anarchist, Irony No progressive evolution things remained the same The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy In the Renaissance no explanation of cultural flowering occurred except as a general notion of culture as an eternal moment in human nature which flowers when the compulsive powers are weak His heroes were withdrawn like he was or rose above the ordinary human condition with supreme acts of will This theory is Contextualist It holds that an explanation of historical events is provided when the various strands which make up the tapestry of human events are tied together The Repudiation of Realism in Late 19th Century Philosophy of History Difference between history and philosophy of history Historiography had to be a true account of the past, objective Philosophy of history was a threat to historiography because it strives to change the professionally sanctioned strategies by which meaning is conferred on history Philosophy of history attempted to avoid the Ironic implications of a historiography conceived as an exercise in explanation by description What the philosophers actually achieved was a theoretical justification for the alternative modes of historical reflection worked out by Michelet, Ranke, Tocqueville, and Burckhardt Marx and Nietzche contributed to the crisis in historicism because it was the nature of objectivity that they called into question Marx Metonymical His thought moved between Metonymical apprehensions of the severed condition of mankind in its social state and Synecdochic intimations of the unity he saw at the end of the whole historical process Marx emplotted with Tragedy and with Comedy Tragedy Man lives tragically because he is frustrated by the laws that govern history Comedy Man also lives comically because the interaction between man and his society will eventually be dissolved into a genuine community Nietzche Metaphorical He denied that there was any such thing as a historical process He wanted to destroy the belief that there was a single historical past by which men could learn the truth He wanted to destroy the notion that the historical process had to be explained or emplotted in any particular way This notions gave way to the historical notion of representations as stories, myths, which were the equivalent of music Croce Ironic Had contempt for the academic profession He defended the concept of art and that history was an art form History Subsumed Under the General Concept of Art Conclusion White argued that to designate the work of a historian as romantic, Idealist, liberal or conservative obscures than it reveals about the historian His research allows him to ignore the distinction between history and philosophy of history The philosophy of history contains a proper history, and history contains a full blown philosophy of history The master historians wrote history in the forms of Metaphor, Metonymy, Synecdoche, and Irony The philosophers of history wrote about the writing of history from positions within this same framework Little is gained by understanding a given writers thought or his personality type The crisis of historicism was the impossibility of choosing among the different ways of viewing history The history of 19th century historical thinking came full circle A rebellion against the Irony of the late Enlightenment, to the return to prominence of Irony at the beginning of the 20th Contemporary historiography is locked within this ironic perspective Modern historical thought attacks this ironic perspective from 2 sides It seeks to overcome its inherent skepticism Moral agnosticism which passes for objectivity and neutrality A very difficult book to read, but it really opened my mind and enlightened me a whole lot And of course it helped me a lot in my studies Great book Read it if you are interested in history, philosophy of history, intellectual history, or historiography even generally This is were our discipline and writing style came from. A fascinating book I gave it a fairly cursory read for some essay research but I think I will have to give it a thorough reading sometime in the future It basically argues that historiography produces tropologically constituted representations of the past, not methodologically justified true accounts These representations are not distinguished by their accuracy or truth but by the narrative modes and forms that are used and the way relations between historical objects are conceived including causal reations The way this last is explored is a particularly interesting feature of the work because White claims that the only way true historical change can be registered is either when a historian holds two separate forms of relation in mind at once or engages in Hegelian style dialectics White s typology of historical relations lists Irony, Metonymy, Metaphor and Synecdoche as four paradigms It s an interesting theory but it s often hard to understand exactly what he means by them and how their normal meaning as rhetorical features precisely relates to White s understanding of them as attitudes towards the past Irony is linked to a sceptical view towards the prospect of an understanding of the past, Metonymy with mechanistic runs of causal chains with a determined outcome often thus productive of a sort of stasis , Synecdoche, a sort of micro macrocosm linkage that is hard to consider diachronically and Metaphor a sort of comparative attitude to past phenomena I think the most interesting thing about the book is how White compares such different figures as Ranke, Tocqueville, Marx and Nietzsche and in so doing shows how similar their concerns with the historical discipline were and how their responses often followed very similar lines, a perspective that is rare for figures as complex as Marx and Nietzsche who are often studied much closely as stand alone figures. Filosof a de la Historia Unidad 4.En Metahistoria 1973 , la obra que lo hizo conocido a White , se analiza la estructura narrativa propia de los grandes trabajos historiogr ficos y de filosof a de la historia del siglo diecinueve Es aqu donde aparece por primera vez expuesta su bien conocida teor a del discurso hist rico llamada tropolog a La dimensi n expl cita de cualquier discurso hist rico, esto es, su modo de explicaci n organicista, mecanicista, formalista o contextualista , sus compromisos ideol gicos radical, liberal, conservador, revolucionario , las diferentes formas de narrar rom ntica, tr gica, sat rica o c mica y, finalmente la forma de combinar todas estas opciones, se explican en ltima instancia, por referencia a un nivel precr tico, po tico y constructivo Este nivel est constituido por diferentes modos de prefiguraci n discursiva provenientes de la literatura, los llama tropos y son cuatro met fora, metonimia, sin cdoque e iron a Su car cter prefigurativo se manifiesta en que determinan la posterior elecci n de estrategias por parte del historiador, pues gracias a ellos los elementos del ca tico registro hist rico pueden ser conceptualizados como para ser conformados en una narraci n White aclara muy bien que su enfoque es textual y formalista y concluye que al analizar las narrativas hist ricas como lo que efectivamente son, textos, ellas no se distinguen en nada de las narrativas ficcionales Clase 7