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A History of Historical Distances

A History of Historical Distances A History of Historical Distances Jason H. Pearl Florida International University The term "distance" has become a buzzword among literature scholars for new interpretive methods. How closely should we read individual texts? How heavily can we rely on abstract models to provide greater distance and perspective on numerous texts? In On Historical Distance (Yale, 2013), Mark Salber Phillips reminds us that historians have their own questions of distance, in particular the question of how distantly, or proximately, to understand and represent earlier episodes in history. Of course, the two kinds of distance are discipline specific, but each raises roughly similar methodological issues about engagement and identification on the one hand and detachment and estrangement on the other. What concerns Phillips is the always-variable relationship between actual temporal distance and represented historiographic distance, as well as the kinds and combinations of distance that make up particular historical vantage points. These matters have gone largely unacknowledged, or acknowledged only indirectly, except for a few notable exceptions, including David Lowenthal's The Past is a Foreign Country, Carlo Ginzburg's Wooden Eyes: Nine Reflections on Distance, and a new volume of essays edited by Phillips, Barbara Caine, and Julia Adeney Thomas, entitled Rethinking http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Eighteenth Century University of Pennsylvania Press

A History of Historical Distances

The Eighteenth Century , Volume 57 (3) – Nov 4, 2016

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 University of Pennsylvania Press.
ISSN
1935-0201
Publisher site
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Abstract

A History of Historical Distances Jason H. Pearl Florida International University The term "distance" has become a buzzword among literature scholars for new interpretive methods. How closely should we read individual texts? How heavily can we rely on abstract models to provide greater distance and perspective on numerous texts? In On Historical Distance (Yale, 2013), Mark Salber Phillips reminds us that historians have their own questions of distance, in particular the question of how distantly, or proximately, to understand and represent earlier episodes in history. Of course, the two kinds of distance are discipline specific, but each raises roughly similar methodological issues about engagement and identification on the one hand and detachment and estrangement on the other. What concerns Phillips is the always-variable relationship between actual temporal distance and represented historiographic distance, as well as the kinds and combinations of distance that make up particular historical vantage points. These matters have gone largely unacknowledged, or acknowledged only indirectly, except for a few notable exceptions, including David Lowenthal's The Past is a Foreign Country, Carlo Ginzburg's Wooden Eyes: Nine Reflections on Distance, and a new volume of essays edited by Phillips, Barbara Caine, and Julia Adeney Thomas, entitled Rethinking

Journal

The Eighteenth CenturyUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Nov 4, 2016

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