In fact, I wish that Evans would update the book to reflect his experiences as an expert witness in that trial. An Apology for Poetry (or The Defence of Poesy) is a work of literary criticism by Elizabethan poet Philip Sidney.It was written in approximately 1580 and first published in 1595, after his death. date: Jan 15, 2001 ISBN: 1862073953 Granta Books, London 384 … Such an uncritical stance in no way prevents the book from adopting that blunt, Hobbesian, man-of-the-world aggressive tone which in many circles of history-writing seems to pass for machismo (for example, the sarcastic remark that when Patrick Joyce referred to 'the intellectual history of our own times' what he 'really meant was his own ideas', p. 6). But "The Defence of the History" has quickly turned into the defence of the professional historians from the post-modernists, not always very convincing, imho. This book does not analyse a specific event in history, it analyses Historians and the various different forms of approaching history in the profession of an Historian! It’s not often that I read a book that’s written by a character in a movie, but I did so when I read Sir Richard Evans’s In Defense of History (1998). This article is more than 15 years old. Richard Evans, distinguished professor of history at Cambridge, published it in 1997. I zipped through it pretty fast. I am new to reading history, having been bored by it in school many many years ago, as a litany of remembered dates. We’d love your help. Ultimately, this book has opened my eyes to the complexity and importance of the historiography debate- a fascinating area which I cannot wait to explore more of! I am new to reading history, having been bored by it in school many many years ago, as a litany of remembered dates. Refresh and try again. Building on (and updating) the debate between E. H. Carr and G. R. Elton about the nature of history and historical research, Evans presents a balanced argument that acknowledges both the objectivity of truth and the subjectivity of the historian. Sir Richard, Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, is no swashbuckling character. Fri 14 Jan 2005 20.42 EST At heart, this book is a response to Postmodernism's criticism of history as a discipline and intellectual endeavour. In fact they argue that the sources historians use are distorted by t. Richard Evans book, In Defense of History is not for everyone. I would strongly recommend this as a starting point for any postgraduate student wanting to enter the field. Richard Evans book, In Defense of History is not for everyone. Evans tackles almost every classic issue the study of history has to deal with: can we reach the past? In Defense of Academic History Writing. And it allows In Defence of History to begin with statements which appear to accord a relatively high degree of autonomy to the textual activity of history-writing ("texts ... supplement or rework 'reality'" Dominick La Capra, cited with approval, p. 80), slide into intermediary claims ('the past does impose its reality through the sources in a basic way', p. 115; 'the past does speak through the sources', p. 126), and then end up with the resoundingly empiricist conclusion that, despite it all, 'it really happened', we can 'find out how' and know 'what it all meant' (p. 253, the last page of the book). The English Bill of Rights (1689) gave Parliament the control of the army that it maintains today. His plea for a moderate application of classic historical methods brings him in conflict with postmodernism. Can historical evidence be trusted? What makes it interesting is that in this case the attack is coming from the Left. In fact they argue that the sources historians use are distorted by the views of those who created them, and the books historians write are so distorted by their views as to make them no different than fiction. Is an objective account possible? Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. A convenient claim of our postmodern times is that historical truth does not exist, or, at the very least, is not accessible to us. This is a howler, though a common one which gets regularly crossed out in undergraduate essays for courses in theory. E. H. Carr's What Is History?, a classic introduction to the field, may now give way to a worthy successor. Evans tackles almost every classic issue the study of history has to deal with: can we reach the past? January 17th 2000 Evans is quite supportive of the useful correctives and insights postmodernism provides, while pushing firmly back on the more absurdist, reductionist claims. Angie Thomas was as stunned as her fans when she was spurred to write a prequel to The Hate U Give, her blockbuster 2017 YA debut inspired by... To see what your friends thought of this book. He points out the contributions of different "schools" of historians, including the relativists. 3 (Winter 1998). This article is more than 15 years old. In Defense of Today’s Youth. Building on (and updating) the debate between E. H. Carr and G. R. Elton about the nature of history and historical research, Evans presents a balanced argument that acknowledges both the objectivity of truth and the subjectivity of the historian. The Defence of Duffer's Drift was published in 1904 when Swinton was a Captain. To peer into the magic mirror and see fresh figures there everyday is a burning desire that consumes and satisfies him all his life, that carries him each morning, eager as a lover, to the library and muniment room. Evans understands 'logocentric' to mean a feature of people who imagined 'they were rational beings engaged in a process of discovery' (p. 94). Crucially, in my view, Evans admits the impossibility not only of fully reconstructing the past but also of disregarding present purposes and personal principles (two concepts maintained by Elton as possible/postmodernists as impossible). From November 1990 to early January 1991, I used Refutation of official history (which in my head was a variant of In defence of history) as title for the longest series in my Thursday column in those days. In this volume, English historian Richard Evans offers a defence of the importance of his craft. Taking paradigm to mean 'theories, assumptions' (as Evans does, p. 42) I think I can show that his whole conception and defence of history takes place within a familiar, traditional paradigm of which he remains unaware. As a defense against the influence of postmodern epistemologies on historical theory & practice, I think this book has become two things: (1) a historian talking shop in some detail (2) a more general, mostly critical account of postmodernism. I'm teaching this book in a graduate seminar on research methods, so I may have to update this review based on student response. Like most conventional writing on history in England, this book makes much of the laborious obligations of the historian towards primary sources, the sacredness of facts and the worthiness of grubbing around the archive - Evans advocates in fact 'a return of scholarly humility' (p. 201). Granta, 2001 - Historiography - 371 pages. Get A Copy Amazon 0 Reviews. For this view the footnote (number 36) cites pages in David Lehman's shaky and one-sided book, Signs of the Times. This philosophical c. This is an engaging work if you’re really interested in the theory and philosophy of history. Historical interpretation has evolved 'through contact with the real historical world', a contact said to be 'indirect, because the real historical world has disappeared'; but hey, no worries, for the documents 'which the real world of the past has left behind ... were themselves created in a much more direct interaction with reality' (p. 112). Fri 14 Jan 2005 20.42 EST While In Defence of History addresses all aspects of historical method, its key focus is on an extensive evaluation of this postmodern thinking. 195-6. Welcome back. At a time when fact and historical truth are under unprecedented assault, Evans shows us why history is necessary. This was a lot of fun to read, as Evans is quite wry and funny and has a pleasant flow to his writing. 2, 3, 9, 30, 35, 36, 37 etc.). 'Saussure argued therefore that words, or what he called signifiers, were defined not by their relation to the things they denoted (the signified) but by their relation to each other' (p. 95). He would be, I guess, be deeply disconcerted to learn that this classic empiricist assumption would be disputed by almost ever major philosopher who has written this century. As a by-product of this defence Evans gives a clear survey of what history is and what it claims to do. His plea for a moderate application of classic historical methods brings him in conflict with postmodernism. Evans sets out to 'defend history' through responding to the challenges of postmodernism and generally finding a middle ground between the extremities within historical theory. Elton, but also corrects them. His satirical comments about a number of other historians (especially die-hard postmodernists) are hilarious; nevertheless, his work really is evenhanded. This book was written before the publication of his three volume history of Nazi Germany and I often wished I could ask specific questions such as, 'Does it matter that we lack a written order by Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews?' It admits that there is more than one kind of postmodernism ('there are many different varieties', p. 205) yet rides roughshod over all these differences in its lampoon. Badiou has also been respected internationally for some time. Being and Event, for example, has been published in French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, German, … It haunts him like a passion of terrible potency, because it is poetic. He was born in London, of Welsh parentage, and is now Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Gonville & Caius College. It is difficult to imagine a stronger or more convincing case than Evans’s for the distinctiveness of historical knowledge as a mode of human thought. All in all, a book worth reading for anyone who takes History seriously and wants to understand why and how one does History. The poetry of history lies in the quasi-miraculous fact that once, on this earth, once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing into another, gone as utterly as we ourselves shall shortly be gone, like ghosts at cockcrow'. My history teacher bought this for me to help understand how to approach history as a subject. Evans denies that all of history is interpretation and that no one interpretation is better than any other. In my days as a member of the English Department, I found my colleagues in History both enviable and arrogant in the way they closed ranks against what they regarded as less rigorous disciplines like mine. So when Patrick Joyce tells us that social history is dead, and Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth declares that time is a fictional construct, and Roland Barthes announces that all the world's a text, and Hans Kellner wants historians to stop behaving as if we were researching into things that actually happened, and Diane Purkiss says that we should just tell stories without bothering whether or not, "For my own part, I remain optimistic that objective historical knowledge is both desirable and attainable. It becomes rapidly clear, however, that the author’s primary intention is to respond to the formidable challenge to history as a discipline presented by now well known postmodern criticism. He charts a useful middle ground for the working historian that is neither unthinking-elitist-empiricism or indulgent-political-relativism. He believes that careful and honest shifting of the historical record will show some or one interpretations to be better grounded in that record than others. ... No summary available. In Defence of History. But Evans skates very lightly for good reason as he is ofte. I kept wanting him to be more precise on just what constitutes a 'fact' and how 'evidence' is evaluated. The writing of academic history seems to be in a crisis. His point, then, is really that one must avoid extremes: either believing that the historian can fully recreate the past as it was with full objectivity, or believing that it is impossible to access the past as an objective reality at all. Evans mounts a defense of doing History that accepts and incorporates many of the points of postmodernist and poststructuralist thinkers, one that accepts parts of the critique of the discipline's foundations without giving up a belief that the past is knowable, even if not always with perfect clarity, and that there are clear and straightforward ways of approaching historical research. I found this book by the emeritus Regius Professor of Modern History agreeable and sensible, but a trifle disappointing. Doesn't a historian's scholarship include enough O-level French to distinguish between 'Rien n'existe hors du language' and the much more troubling assertion Derrida actually made? In Defence of History aims to defend a mainstream notion of history-writing against 'intellectual barbarians' (p. 8), namely 'the invading hordes of semioticians, post-structuralist, New Historicists, Foucauldians, Lacanians and the rest' (p. 9). It easier to read theory, the most nonchalant reading of Derrida would disclose something of what is... 30, 35, 36, 37 etc. ) to enter the field, now! Read Badiou, Regius Professor of Modern history at Gresham College during,. The army that it maintains today, though a common one which regularly... 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