Monday, December 8, 2014

Reflection for the Week–December 8

The two great modes of narrative - fiction and history - can never be entirely synthesized. In fact, both the concordance and discordance between them becomes more recognizable when each mode is put in dialogue with the other. This connecting is precisely what allows their difference to appear. Unlike novelists, historians do aim to re-narrate the past and are therefore subject to what once was. Though historians receive a past before they create a story, this does not give them access to the events themselves. Plowing through documents, establishing traces – marks – signs of passing through, and reconstructing personal encounters, all contribute to highlighting that a historian’s task cannot be reduced to a literary achievement.

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