A Man in the Universe
LUCIEN FEBVRE, one of the guiding lights of French historical studies, once wrote that the historian had no business “to pronounce judgment…to set himself up as acting judge of the valley of Jehosaphat.” He said many times that the historian’s besetting sin was the sin of anachronism, although he stated also that history was “a child of her time” and that none of her practitioners could detach themselves from the preoccupations, currents of thought, and general “climate” of their own times. One might also maintain that a degree of passion is necessary to the historian, that it is those works which are most vibrant with personality which remain the most vivid and fertile, even if only because they provoke contradiction and are bound to produce the more important work of analysis and painstaking research inseparable from any serious study.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century United Province Pantheon Book Ancien Regime Personal Sphere
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