histories of the past, the future and the present


Brian Roberts:

“Where history-writing has a strong narrative structure there is a keen sense of continuity associated with the underlying application of ‘story’. Here, the use of Past-present may be discerned – often held together by some assumptions or themes based on the continuity or revival of traditions and roots. This is found particularly where there is a reliance on ‘national stories’, past heroes, symbolic past events, group or national character, victories and setbacks, and myths which simplify the complexities of historical circumstances to sustain the overall moral and story. Finally, history-writing can bear some comparison with science-fiction writing, since it may draw conclusions about what is to happen. While the future has an obvious part to play in science fiction, the wider movements through time, including drawing on ‘history’, have been major distinguishing features of the literary genre.
“History-writing, generally, has not been immune from making parallels with the present when making history. Of course, its very practice is set within the vantage point of the present. It also provides conceptions of the future again, especially in providing commentary and conclusions where continuities are outlined, verities assumed and predictions may be offered. In short, there are histories of the past, the future and the present. Time perspectives are in complex combinations within forms of history-writing.” (p.99)

Ref: Brian Roberts (2004) Biography, Time and Local History-Making. Rethinking History 8(1)March, pp.89-102


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s