That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession / Edition 1 available in Paperback
The aspiration to relate the past "as it really happened" has been the central goal of American professional historians since the late nineteenth century. In this remarkable history of the profession, Peter Novick shows how the idea and ideal of objectivity was elaborated, challenged, modified, and defended over the past century. Drawing on the unpublished correspondence as well as the published writing of hundreds of American historians, this book is a richly textured account of what American historians have thought they were doing, or ought to be doing, when they wrote historyhow their principles influenced their practice and practical exigencies influenced their principles. Published with the support of the Exxon Education Foundation.
Table of Contents
Preface; Introduction: nailing jelly to the wall; Part I. Objectivity Enthroned: 1. The European legacy: Ranke, Bacon, Flaubert; 2. The professionalization project; 3. Consensus and legitimation; 4. A most genteel insurgency; Part II. Objectivity Besieged: 5. Historians on the home front; 6. A changed climate; 7. Professionalism stalled; 8. Divergence and dissent; 9. The battle joined; Part III. Objectivity Reconstructed: 10. The defense of the West; 11. A convergent culture; 12. An autonomous profession; Part IV. Objectivity in Crisis: 13. The collapse of comity; 14. Every group its own historian; 15. The center does not hold; 16. There was no king in Israel; Appendix: manuscript collections cited; Index.
What People are Saying About This
A brilliant and fascinating book.
A judicious appraisal of men and circumstances, erudite and wideranging. Irreverent but not nastily irreverent, with an admirable delicacy of touch.