The Future of History

The Future of History

by John Lukacs
Pub. Date:
Yale University Press

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The Future of History

For more than sixty years, John Lukacs has been writing, teaching, and reading about the past. In this inspired volume, he turns his attention to the future. Throughout The Future of History, Lukacs reflects on his discipline, eloquently arguing that the writing and teaching of history are literary rather than scientific, comprising knowledge that is neither wholly objective nor subjective. History at its best, he contends, is personal and participatory.

Despite a recently unprecedented appetite for history among the general public, as evidenced by history television program ratings, sales of popular history books, and increased participation in local historical societies, Lukacs believes that the historical profession is in a state of disarray. He traces a decline in history teaching throughout higher education, matched by a corresponding reduction in the number of history students. He reviews a series of short-lived fads within the profession that have weakened the fundamentals of the field. In looking for a way forward, Lukacs explores the critical relationships between history and literature, including ways in which novelists have contributed to historical understanding. Through this startling and enlightening work, readers will understand Lukacs's assertion that "everything has its history, including history" and that history itself has a future, since everything we know comes from the past.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300169560
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 05/24/2011
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

I Historianship

1 The rise of historical consciousness I

2 The history of professional history 5

3 History as a "social science" II

4 Historianship during the current crisis 14

5 "Historical thinking has entered our very blood" 23

II Problems for the Profession

1 From history of the few to history of the many 25

2 Tocqueville about the future of history writing 27

3 Public opinions and popular sentiments 29

4 The sentiments of nations 34

5 The structure of events 38

6 After 1960, fads within the profession 42

7 The prevalence of social history 47

8 The present and future of history teaching 52

9 Dangers of falsifications 58

III The Appetite for History

1 A new phenomenon. Its various evidences 61

2 At the same time the reduced teaching of history 64

3 Possible sources of the appetite 66

4 The interest in biographies 72

5 Ignorance of history-together with a latent sense of its growing importance 76

IV Re-Cognition of History as Literature

1 History, including its facts, consists of words 81

2 Absurdities of "social history" while history is literature 83

3 "Amateur" historians and their merits 90

4 Neither "objective" nor "subjective" but "participant" 96

5 Historical idealism is not categorical or determinist. The decisive signifi cance of "when?" 100

V History and the Novel

1 Historians and novelists. Different tasks 109

2 'Tact" and "fiction" 111

3 The origins and the history of the novel, which historians must consider 111

4 Every novel is a historical novel 120

5 Potentiality: What happened; what might have happened 122

6 Recent and current crisis of the novel 124

7 Absorption of the novel by history: A new form of literature 131

A small addendum 135

VI Future of the Profession

1 Future of books and of reading 139

2 History is necessarily revisionist 143

3 Pursuit of justice; pursuit of truth 149

4 Shortsightedness of American liberal historians. Ideas and beliefs 152

VII Tradition, Inheritance, Imagination

1 The passing of an entire age 159

2 Further development of historical consciousness 162

3 Will technology outlast history? 165

4 "... the hope that from now on a new kind of dunking may begin..." 169

Apologia 173

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