Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

The Future of History

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

The Future of History

Article excerpt

The Future of History BY JOHN LUKACS YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 192 PAGES, $24

Historian John Lukacs has never shied from asking the big questions. Over his long and prolific career, the idiosyncratic scholar has wrestled with such weighty themes as the rise of historical consciousness, the legacy of the Second World War, and the end of the Modern Age. In The Future of History, Lukacs revisits another major preoccupation of his career: the nature and state of historical scholarship.

The Future of History is a slim volume, yet in it Lukacs manages to cover a remarkable amount of ground. He offers reflections, for example, on the nature of historical consciousness, the professionalization of history, the future of teaching, the relationship between history and literature, the participatory nature of historical knowledge, and the future of reading - maintaining all the while his characteristically sharp and engaging prose. In these discussions, Lukacs refers to a wide range of Western civilization's most influential thinkers - from Bloch and Braudel to Febvre and Freud, from Macaulay and Mencken to Tolstoy and Tocqueville. …

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