History as an Art

History as an Art

History as an Art

History as an Art

Excerpt

I AM approaching the subject of this lecture with considerable trepidation. I know that among my hearers there are professional historians whom I greatly respect, and I should not at all wish to seem desirous of instructing them as to how their work should be done. I shall speak as a consumer, not a producer. In shops they have a maxim: "The customer is always right." But academic persons (among whom I should wish to include myself) are more lordly than shopkeepers: If the consumer does not like what he is offered, that is because he is a Philistine and because he does not know what is good for him. Up to a point I sympathize with this attitude. It would never do for a mathematician to try to please the general reader. The physical sciences in their serious aspects must be addressed primarily to specialists, though their more adventurous practitioners write occasional books designed to make your flesh creep. But such books are not regarded by their fellow-scientists as part of their serious work, and detract from, rather than add to, their professional reputation. I think that in this respect history is in a position different from that of mathematics and physical science. There have to be physicists, worse luck, and there have to be mathematicians until calculating machines become cheaper, but when that happy consummation has been reached, there will be no point in teaching anybody . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.