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What is the difference between history and criticism?

 
 
Reply Sun 1 Apr, 2012 12:46 pm
I don't understand what the difference is meant to be traditionally, or whether the two can actually be properly separated.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 1,494 • Replies: 11
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Apr, 2012 02:12 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I guess we may posit two polar extremes. At one pole there is the so-called objective and politically neutral chronicle of events and facts; at the other is the politically biased interpretation of selected events and facts. The reality of actual historiography is variably located on the spectrum between such extremes.
Ask Setanta.
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fresco
 
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Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 12:46 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
I see very little difference. All reported social history is selective. The epitome of that position is Churchill's celebrated comment....
Quote:
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
.
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The Pentacle Queen
 
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Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 10:08 am
Thanks. I see little difference too, although I just read a very convincing article on the 'realist' position.

Fresco do you know of any articles/books/works that lay your position out in full?
fresco
 
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Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 10:19 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
No references off hand...but I'll have a look.
izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 11:32 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
There's also differences between how important something was. Chartism is a good example of that, a typical A level essay question used to ask why The Anti Corn Law League succeeded and Chartism failed. Even though Chartism did fail, most of its demands were eventually passed into law. Therefore opinions on the importance of Chartism differ.
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The Pentacle Queen
 
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Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 12:50 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

No references off hand...but I'll have a look.


Thank you!
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InfraBlue
 
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Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 01:44 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Do you have a reference for this article?
The Pentacle Queen
 
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Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 04:10 pm
@InfraBlue,
It was Richard Taruskin's review of the Cambridge History of Twentieth Century Music 'Speed Bumps' in the journal 19th Century Music, can't remember what volume number. I say really convincing, probably not THAT convincing, but pretty amusing; he's a massive twat.
fresco
 
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Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 08:33 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
This might be worth looking at.
http://philoscience.unibe.ch/documents/educational_materials/Berlin1960/Berlin1960.pdf
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Shapeless
 
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Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 09:24 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
PQ: I only found this thread just now. Right up my alley, as you know. Various life circumstances have kept me away from A2K for quite a while.

Since Taruskin was partly the impetus for your question, you can read what he has to say about it in the preface to his Oxford History. As best as I can sum it up: a historian tells history as it happens as objectively as possible while a critic cites historical episodes as illustrations of, or in furtherance of, some broader trend or ideology. The example Taruskin uses is the Shostakovich controversy: in the Oxford History, he reports the facts of Shosty's memoirs and their aftermath, while elsewhere he reports his opinion on the matter. A reader unfamiliar with Taruskin's stance on the Shosty wars is not meant to be able to learn what it is by reading the Shosty chapter of the Oxford History.

That said, there are of course many instances where history and criticism are not easy to keep separate, and some scholars are better at it than others.
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Razzleg
 
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Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 10:46 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
i found this thread a little later than Shapeless, obviously; but if you are still interested in the topic, you might want to check out Susan Buck-Morss's book about Walter Benjamin, "The Dialectics of Seeing". Benjamin's own essays are a bit all-over the place, although most of them are worth reading, but the perspective from which he wrote was both historical and critical. Buck-Morss's overview of his work is stupendous, and has a great deal to say about critical historiography.

This post might be irrelevant, but the book is worth reading nonetheless -- and while it may not strike dead-on, it's at least partially relevant.
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