The editors introduce the core areas of current debate within historical theory, bringing the reader as up to date with continuing debates and current developments as is possible. The book is divided into three parts, covering: • Part I. Foundations: The Theoretical Grounds for Knowledge of the Past • Part II. Applications: Theory-Intensive Areas in History • Part III. Coda. Post-Postmodernism: Directions and Interrogations This important handbook brings together in one volume discussions of the role of modernity, empiricism, realism, post-modernity and deconstruction in the historian's craft. Chapters are written by leading writers from around the world and cover a wide spread of historical sub-disciplines, such as social history, intellectual history, narrative, gender, memory, psycho-analysis and cultural studies, taking in, along the way, the work of thinkers such as Paul Ricouer, Michel Foucault and Hayden White. The Sage Handbook of Historical Theory is an essential resource for practicing historians, and students of history, and will appeal to scholars in related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities who seek a closer understanding of the theoretical foundations of history.
Chapter 7: The Work of Hayden White I: Mimesis, Figuration and the Writing of History
The Work of Hayden White I: Mimesis, Figuration and the Writing of History
Unambiguous referentiality may be established for specific words and phrases not longer than the sentence, but discourse differs from the specific sentence and any simple list of sentences by virtue of the meaning with which it endows its referents through techniques of figuration, a process of giving the odor of literalness to metaphorical utterances - which logicians castigate as the principal source of error in imprecise thinking. (Hayden White1)
It would of course be impossible to discuss historical theory without examining a thinker who, more than any other, has placed theoretical questions at the forefront of debates surrounding history and historiography. Over a 50-year career (and ...