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The romantic current not only maintained itself in its excesses during the dominion of positivism, and, as we have shown, insinuated itself even into its naturalistic antithesis, but it also persisted in its genuine form. And although we have not spoken of pedantic imitators and conservatives—whose significance is slight in the history of thought, that is to say, confined to the narrow sphere in which they were compelled to think for themselves—we have nevertheless recorded the preservation of romanticism in the eclecticism of Ranke, who adhered to the theories of Humboldt (another 'diplomatist'). Idealistic and romantic motives continued to illuminate the intellect and soul among the philosophers, from Humboldt to Lotze and from Hartmann to Wundt and those who corresponded to them in other countries. The like occurred in historiography properly so called, and could not but happen, because, if the formulas of agnosticism and of positivism had been followed to the letter, all light of thought would have been extinguished in blind mechanicism—that is to say, in nothing—and no historical representation would have been possible. Thus political, social, philosophical, literary, and artistic history continued to make acquisitions, if not equally important with those of the romantic period (the surroundings were far more favourable to[Pg 310] the natural sciences and to mathematics than to history), yet noteworthy. This is set forth in a copious volume upon historiography (I refer to the work of Fueter already several times mentioned in this connexion). There due honour will be found accorded to the great work accomplished by Ranke, which the rapidity of my course of exposition has induced me to illustrate rather in its negative aspects, causing me, for instance, to allude solely to the contradictions in the History of the Popes, which is notwithstanding a masterpiece. The cogent quality of the romantic spirit at its best is revealed in the typical instance of Taine, who is so ingenuously naturalistic in his propositions and in the directive principles of his work, yet so unrestrainedly romantic in particular instances, as, for example, in his characterization of the French poets or of the Dutch and Italian painters. All this led to his ending in the exaggerated anti-Jacobin romanticism of his Origines de la France contemporaine, in the same way that Zola and the other verists, those verbal enemies of romanticism, were lyrical in all their fiction, and the leader of the school was induced to conclude his works with the abstract lyricism of the Quatre évangiles. What has been observed of Taine is to be applied to Buckle and to the other naturalists and positivists, obliged to be historical against their will, and to the positivists who became followers of historical materialism, and found the dialectic established in their house without being able to explain what it was or whence it came. Not all theorists of historiography showed themselves to be so resolutely and madly naturalistic as Bourdeau and one or two others; indeed these were few in number and of inferior reputation. Eclecticism prevailed among the majority of them, a combination of necessity and of liberty, of masses[Pg 311] and individuals, of cause and end, of nature and spirit: even the philosophy of history was admitted, if in no other form, then as a desideratum or a problem to be discussed at a convenient time (even though that were the Greek Kalends). Eclecticism, too, presented the greatest variety, from the low level of a trivial arranging of concepts in an artificial manner to the lofty heights of interior labour, from which it seemed at every moment that a new gospel, no longer eclectic, must issue.

This last form of eclecticism and the open attempts to renew romantic idealism more or less completely, as well as romantic methods of historiography, have become more frequent since modern consciousness has withdrawn itself from positivism and has declared its bankruptcy. But all this is of importance rather as a symptom of a real advance in thought. And the new modern philosophies of intuition and philosophy of values must be looked upon rather as symptoms than as representing progress in thought (I mean in general, and not in the particular thoughts and theories which often form a real contribution). The former of these, however, while it correctly criticizes science as an economic construction useless for true knowledge, then proceeds to shut itself up in immediate consciousness, a sort of mysticism, where historical dialectic finds itself submerged and suffocated; and the latter, placing the conception of value as guardian of the spirit in opposition to the conceptions of science like "a philosophical cave canem" (as our imaginative Tari would have said), leaves open a dualism, which stands in the way of the unity of history and of thought as history. When we look around us, therefore, we do not discover that new philosophy which shall lay the foundations and at the same time afford justification for the new[Pg 312] historiography by solving the antithesis between imaginative romanticism and materialistic positivism. And it is clear that we are not even ab............
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