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'Not only one of our most distinguished historians but also one of the most valuable contributors to historical theory' Spectator In formulating an answer to the question of 'What is History', Carr argues that the 'facts' of history are simply those which historians have chosen to focus on. All historical facts come to us as a result of interpretive choices by historians influenced by the standards of their age. Now for the first time in Penguin Modern Classics, with an introduction by Richard J. Evans, author of the Third Reich trilogy.
This highly readable new collection of thirty pieces by Michael Oakeshott, almost all of which are previously unpublished, covers every decade of his intellectual career, and adds significantly to his contributions to the philosophy of historical understanding and political philosophy, as well as to the philosophy of education and aesthetics. The essays were intended mostly for lectures or seminars, and are consequently in an informal style that will be accessible to new readers as well as to those already well acquainted with Oakeshott’s works. Early pieces include a long essay ‘On the Relations of Philosophy, Poetry, and Reality’, and Oakeshott’s comments on ‘The Cambridge School of Political Science’ through which he himself had passed as an undergraduate. The collection also reproduces a substantial wartime essay ‘On Peace with Germany’. There are two new essays on the philosophy of education, and the essay which gives the work its title, ‘What is History?’, is just one of over half a dozen discussions of the nature of historical knowledge. Oakeshott’s later sceptical, ‘hermeneutic’, thought is also well represented by pieces such as ‘What is Political Theory?’ and ‘The Emergence of the History of Thought.’ Reviews of books by English and European contemporaries such as Butterfield, Hayek, Voegelin, and Arendt also help to place him in context more clearly than before. The book will be indispensable for all Oakeshott’s readers, no matter which area of his thought concerns them most.
An experienced author of history and theory presents this examination of the purpose of history at a time when recent debates have rendered the question 'what is history for?' of utmost importance. Charting the development of historical studies and examining how history has been used, this study is exceptional in its focus on the future of the subject as well as its past. It is argued that history in the twenty-first century must adopt a radical and morally therapeutic role instead of studying for 'its own sake'. Providing examples of his vision of 'history in post-modernity', Beverley Southgate focuses on the work of four major historians, including up-to-date publications: Robert A. Rosenstone's study of Americans living in nineteenth-century Japan Peter Novick's work on the Holocaust Sven Lindgvist's A History of Bombing Tzvetan Todorov's recently published work on the twentieth century. This makes compulsive reading for all students of history, cultural studies and the general reader, as notions of historical truth and the reality of the past are questioned, and it becomes vital to rethink history's function and renegotiate its uses for the postmodern age.
E. H. Carr's What is History? was originally published by Macmillan in 1961. Since then it has sold hundreds of thousands of copies throughout the world. In this book, ten internationally renowned scholars, writing from a range of historical vantage points, answer Carr's question for a new generation of historians: What does it mean to study history at the start of the Twenty-first century? This volume stands alongside Carr's classic, paying tribute to his seminal enquiry while moving the debate into new territory, to ensure its freshness and relevance for a new century of historical study.
On `What is History?' provides a student introduction to contemporary historiographical debates. Carr and Elton are still the starting point for the vast majority of introductory courses on the nature of history. Building on his highly successful Rethinking History, Keith Jenkins explores in greater detail the influence of these key figures. He argues that historians need to move beyond their `modernist' thinking and embrace the postmodern-type approaches of thinkers such as Richard Rorty and Hayden White. Through its radical critique of Carr and Elton and its championing of Rorty and White, On `What is History'? represents a significant development for introductory studies on the nature of history.
A philosophical interpretation of history, examining the significance of historical study as a science and a reflection of social values
One of the world's leading cultural historians on writing about history in early modern Europe.

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