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..it's quite a cool album, but I prefer Thriller.
as the saying goes, it's normally told by the victor...as far as i'm concerned every historian adds some sort of bias to what they say whether they mean to or not, simply because of who they are and the fallibility of mankind, so yes, while there will be facts there will also bve interpretation etc which could be loosely termed/dismissed as fiction.
Good luck with that.
I think the 'subtle' aspect depends on the author and the particular area they're studying ie the sources readily available on different times vary considerably. And then the postmodernists ruin everything by saying we'll never truly know what happened due to the 'tyranny of language' and the 'linguistic turn', and that since the ultimate aim of historical research is to find out what happened for certain, this is ultimately pointless. Killjoys, the lot of them.
And then you have to get on to things like 'what are facts' and objectivism and all that. It's interesting, if not infuriating to write about.
took the task of trying to linguistically unravel the tyranny of altered language and political sensibilities by hoppin backwards and forwards across countries when a change was made in one country....he tried to unravel also by realising htat many people HID older facts and secrets from would be 'dissapproving' new orders, by disguise and subtlety and sleight of hand.
He studies poetry back through time and belief sytstems through this, many simple rhymes and language often gives many a clue.......his use of punning as a device to give meaning is unusual but probably valid as many people throughout the ages have done this deliberately (and through mistake......either not being able to pronounce (like english trying to pronounce welsh stuff.....aw just give up and anglecise it)
People used to have a less complex linguistic sense of humour but there were patterns of humour and lampooning and P** taking that he takes into account......Of course this cant all be verified, hence his 'controversial labelling........but it would be impossible to verify absolutely everything, instead he worried about keeping his mind open and trying to always learn more.......when enough coincidences and similarities cropped up he considered them to be possibly more significant, this form of investigation requires an awful lot of learning and an obsessive enthusiasm. I am totally in awe of him, he knew that people 2000 years ago would still have the same basic motivations (admitedly altered by differences of situation, but recognised also that there are some people who wrote a long time ago, knowing that someone in the future might read it and they would have the same motivations.....moderated by our own different situation........he at least regarded our ancestors with respect and not with scorn and derision, which I find much modern histpory does (in its attempt to represent history as a progressive improvement....ever upward
dragging ourselves out of the mire.
This also brings in to play the idea of which facts one chooses to insert in one's writing, with impossibility of verifying absolutely everything.
that you cant persue a line of enquirey or investigation.
oh a link before i forget
It is always obvious that one must unravel by being aware of the mores and new attitudes that replacesd the old ones as it is very likely that things would be rewritten in a new light.....well often.
Graves was a head of poetry at oxford and a professor at cairo university.
A much respected poet, an stunningly knowledgable historian (not in the normal fashion) he was like a historian of language, but not like a linguist or entymologist studying the mechanics, more like following ideas (through transformations through countries and langueages and trhe ages)
He was controversial because he did not insist on relying only on incomplete and doctored evidence of the past. but instead used what he considered (significant) to make leaps of intuition (what is the point of getting educated if you cant use your intuition....it is a skill that needs to be developed, at first by using it to work out verifiable (by other means) facts and then cross checking, he learnt to know when he was probably right, because of his instincts.....remember he wasnt a simpleton but vastly knowledgable, even his detractors could not deny that.
He tried to create a more complete and realistic view of the past......he was not polite, he enjoyed the celebration of drks and women, and correctly used this link with some of our predesesors to understand some things that dusty scholars could never.
After seeing things like graves did I found a lot of poetry opening up to me like never before, Keats being particularly dear to me now, i feel a direct connection with him.
Graves book 'the white goddess' in conjunction with the greek myths....is the most complex cross referencing books ever....after years with the white goddess there is still untold depths to come out, what is bizare (with my admitedly left field views) is that in addition to checking out and investigating further with more modern concepts I still find that graves is bourne out, it is not all verifiable.
in translation....it is acknowledged that translating from old dead languages to modern ones (or even modern to modern) is an inexact science and can be frought iwth unsolvable (by conventional means) problems.
I wish I had learnt Greek or Latin :(
...is written by the wieners.
And, depending on the ability of the historian, this can lead to fiction.
is a lot like the Colonol Sander's Secret Recipe in this respect, especially if fact were made out of herbs and fiction were made out of spices.
though if you take a psychoanalytical view you could argue that it is a fiction but it is also true.
but since post-modernism took over and people took into account a broader range of history from different sources (this is a bit generalisation), the deepest recently written history tends to be the most even-handed ever.
has to be facts to start with, then historians you make subjective comments about those facts. But would you that those comments are fiction, its not conciously fiction surely? Subjective yeh but fiction no, two different things i would argue.
I cant imagine a historian sitting down and saying right im going to make up something which is entirely false (which is what fiction is). There has to be some sort of reality to work around surely?
any historian does conciously make things up - therefore being fiction. then they arent really a historian are they...
nd could be false for many different reasons.....some good some bad, some deliberately some accidentally and many shades in between.
The only way to establish more is to find out other stuff.
then it wouldn't be history? And thats a pretty big assumption to make, yes people pose their subjective opinion as if fact (this happens more so of historical people) but the success relies heavily on interpration of the user (is that even the right word)
straight reading of officialish and authenticated scripts will obviously lead to mistakes if you accept that every age will redefine and reinterpret previous records according to the 'new world view' (obviously this is simplified and is not uniform)
If you accept that governments/ kingdoms and institutions have attempted 'social engineering' of any sort, and sometimes use censorship and rewriting of official histories, then you must accept that it can be less subjective if you use logical deduction to read 'past' some official authenticted historical record.
This will be apparent for anyone who has seen any of the more recent historical interpretations ...maybe as presented by Terry Jones or such....for years people will labour under a stolid old conventional interpretation based on documented evidence.....yet documents are some of the easiest things to be created that give a subjective opinion.
To not take documents as absolute gospel is not necessarily less subjective....of course they must be taken into account, testiments fromm people such as peyps give huge amounts of information, not all true because it may be subjective an may (still) have been slightly self censored with regard to the mores of the day.
What history has concentrated on toooooo much is official records and big men about which there is documents (remember that official stuff normally has to be to the approval of the highest power)
The other method seems to be artifact interpretation....this is also subjective (yet based on a solid ground of fact) BUT......consider the concept of
"The Beaker people movement" something that could be derived fromk artifacts could be that a mass movement of people occured..........HOWEVER equally viable alternatives could be......that it was just an exchange of technology or ideas (just because car mass production boomed in Japan on the us model, didnt mean that there was an influx of americans, it meant that the idea was adopted) Good ideas can spread like wildfire if they are easy. Another alternative would be that the leader of the 'non beaker people' was usurped by a beaker person (either by conquest, or by having superior methods and then a small foreign ruling elite would govern a more indigenous population but deseminate their own technology as well.......The latter is not necessarily likely in the case of 'the beaker people' and it doesnt matter what the actual reason is im just using it as an example of how even artifact historical interpretation is open to subjectivity.
In he Beginning of Robert Graves 'The Greek Myths' he does a great listing of the different types of possible origin of myths, I will just give you one example here to illustrate the difficulties.....something like 'the perseus and gorgon myth'
Graves reasons that what we take as a myth that was believed as a fantastical story by the ancients might instead be a later interpretation of a pictorial representation of an event......remember that what is considered to be 'ancient greece' might have spanned 2000 years or more....the modernly thinking greeks at the end of this 2000 year period might have pictorial evidence (on pottery) that they themselves only guess as to the meaning (just as we do nowadays) ....(
(One of Graves possible interpretations of the gorgon imagery is that the 'head is a 'crane bag' containing the alphabetic secrets of an earlier greek alphabet back to greece agin, from italy where it was more protected from the hellenic invasions and influences...............this sounds contrived but it isnt, I could go on for reams to explain this......with sound back up but I weont for now, feel free to discuss it with me if you like in the pub) anyway basically there was no other r4ferences for later greek historians so there was a tale made up to explain an otherwise unexplained picture (the picture is way older than the myths)
Similarly stuff like the chimeras....sphynx....cockatrice......basilisk......these are not beliefs in fabulous beasts, but representations of something greater.....(actually related to the calendar.....just as we still have zodiacs and mark seasons of the year, so did our ancestors.....like us they didnt just see the world as mathematical or just hot and cold and rainy.....they also emoted about the seasons and anthropomorhised a bit like we do, except in this case.....different animals representing diferent seasons.....with various suppoosed characteristics providing the link........these obviously vary across europe and the mediteranian as we all hav4e different sorts of seasons and harvests and agricultural/collecting patterns.
The first indicator that I had that the historical methods that were used were very limited, and should not be the only ones used, was when I realised....Innocently as a child at school.....what about the people before the romans in britain.......at my school the answer would sort of be that they were like animals that they werent the same as us, they were all brutes who didnt talk or have emotions like our superior emotions and motivations.......that made me cry, because it felt like a lie, i then tried to understand why a teacher would tell a cruel lie like that, and it made me realise that if 'conventional historical methods' could noit tell us stuff about pre roman britain, then maybe there was an awful lot of stuff that conventional historical methods were not telling us about post roman or dsaxon or norman britain.
the problem comes when you try to define the facts that historians write about. they select facts from things that have happened (or from a selection of surviving written documents).
it's the same kind of problem as hypotheses in science. the historian is never "objectively" (in the useful sense of meaning without conscious prejudice) interpreting facts, there are always processes at work that decide what can legitimately be considered an historical fact. Whether that's the university he works for, the funding body paying for the work, or the culture of the society he lives in.
you learn stuff and build stuf up according to it and then feel betrayed when it turns out not to be so.
I remember when young everyone did all the 'big man' sort of history....thje kings and queens and celebrated genei sort of thing....then it turns out this is flawed (many monarchs were actually rather s***)
Most of our ancestors would have been downtrodden by the centralised authorities when they dominated.
Then you celebrate the developer of some advancement and learn it...only to find out that it was probably done before by someone unknown...
Even the romans were really just assimilators and shrewd decimators of that which was pragmatic, rather than truely inspired.
Even recently....at poly I had it drilled into me about the history of computational devices.......only to find later.....viola Bletchley Park and alan turing/enigma...it really goes to show how history is traditionally very very subjective, anwhen taught in a cold analytical boring light.
If you learn like graves then every change or reversal of what you thought before is an interesting item in itself in that it demonstrates how our ancestors and past historians and ordinary people can also be mistaken, thus giving other clues to other muddy areas.
He/you/I doesnt know everything, but really there isnt anything that you cant know, or at least you shouldnt assume that.
use different threads strands to understand the past.
For instance I started with military battles and then went on to tactics (they dont always improve with time but generally what is learnt is assimilated)
And then instruments of war.
Antother strand i have studied is food, and sustinance....which of course influences population possibility.
The combiunation of these two differnt strands often can through interesting light on the other.
The more strands you study the more interesting coincidences can be thrown up....in the end you can detect anomalies in the strands of history.
Because stuff just doesnt ring true.
Because in the rewriting and subjective writing and telling of history over the years, there was no 'coherent, synchronised' rewriting.
(although movements do atempt synchronised system wide rewriting interpretation, they are normally not capable of doing this completely ....e.g. christianity in Europe) Movements like this also had great objectors and disagreements that already points to the idead that there are organised attempts to 'censor' what is allowed to be thought (e.g. when one christian sect oppressed another....like the templars getting labeled heretical)
i did the whole post-modernist thing and said it was all fiction, in a way.
I'd probably argue the opposite if i was answering it now.
But I'd still have the same main point, which is that, when it comes to "history": "fact" and "fiction", much like "objective" and "subjective", are closer to terms of abuse than they are to helpful discursive categories.
he'll explain why everthing's a fiction including your perception of the present.
i can't be arsed.
all I can contribute to this thread is that discussion of History as a concept is pretty trite.
the fact that you can't repeat history in order to test it empirically.
and the wider question of what sense in which the past actually exists.
all good fun, but like I say I can't be arsed to get into it today.
There are so many different branches of though on historiography, historical philosophy etc and none have a more valid or persuasive argument than any other.
The only thing even close to a rule I'd put foward on the matter is that what people think happened usually survives what really happened (if such a thing can ever be definite) and even thats pretty trite
nothing is subjective, the day to day normal society life you lead is illusionary, coincidentally I get a warm feeling when I read something that lets you know that someone in the past also feels the same way (coleridge for example)
I was only banging on to counter the possible argument that the traditionally conventional way is 'the right way'
rather than discussing.....which is a trait of mine.......Mrs Knees calls it 'hectoring' and proceeds to chase me three times round the house
Just that there is nothing more compelling about it than any other contrary argument.
I'm probably just a bit jaded by such discussions after uni!
thread programs on the tv like shamas (is that his name) and Jones stuff is quite good....it is good to look at history like that.....as long as you dont take that as gospel and use what you learn from that by then following other threads.....this will help you contextualise and relate to the other threads you have learnt.
It will give you 'Accrostic vision'
which is what is needed to over come the influences of 'rewriting of history by 'new ages' because one thing that nerw regimes or particular age mindset cant do effectively to censor and brainwash is to affect the historical thread as a timeline....ok they can effect a point and past points, but they normally content themselves with just altering stuff accross all subjects rather than trying to coherently alter timelines to make them believable.......they only have to control the majority of people, nt every individual........individuals who are awkward can be taken out more brutally
although you might not think dusty books are your thing, those that sometimes are set up as historians might not be able to interpret some stuff, simply because thay havnt had that element in their lives......e.g. how could polite, repressed victorians understand exogamy or puritanical democracies even begin to interpret ancient civilisations facing popular use of drks?....yet why on earth would one assume that some activities followed by modern people would not also be followed by our ancestors?
I always thought some of the most cheering historical stuf that is reported on officially was that surrounding smugglers and smuggling communities as it does enable ordianry non academically historian people to relate historical people directly to the modern day feelings about taxes and stuff.
You have the brain pan of a Shitzu
'with the bum of Kelly Rowland'
a subtle blend of fact and fiction?