famous historians, biography, biographical detail, famous historians, biographies
leopold von ranke, simon schama, eric hobsbawm, jacques barzun, fernand braudel
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We have assembled biographical details on the careers of many famous historians. These biographies have been well received as several of them have been frequently linked to by other web sites showing that there is a fair degree of interest in biography about famous historians - "the 'genius' who can write about History rather than 'any fool' who can make it" - (with thanks to Oscar Wilde and all that).
The historian should be fearless and incorruptible; a man of independence, loving frankness and truth; one who, as the poets says, calls a fig a fig and a spade a spade. He should yield to neither hatred nor affection, not should be unsparing and unpitying. He should be neither shy nor deprecating, but an impartial judge, giving each side all it deserves but no more. He should know in his writing no country and no city; he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king. He should never consider what this or that man will think, but should state the facts as they really occurred.
History must at last convince of the uselessness of insensate mass movements riding roughshod, now as ever, over anonymous suffering and claiming priority in the name of some newly clothed abstraction. If it does not teach that, it does not teach anything.You can also access some pages directly about the Revolution of 1848 and the nineteenth century Unifications of Italy and Germany on this site.
Please be aware, however, that these pages were prepared somewhat under the influence of:-
Emerson's call for a "transcendentalist"
Emerson's view suggests that :-
" man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
"There is one mind common to all individual men.
Towards the end of his Essay, History, Emerson asserts that :-
"History is for human self-knowledge ... the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is."
R. G. Collingwood
"Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are human actions, like every other natural event, are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment."
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784)
Or to quote Emerson, from his famous Essay ~ History more fully:-
In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain, and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him, and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.
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