Monday, August 2, 2010

What we do is kind of new

John Burrow's A History of Histories (New York: Vintage, 2009, orig. 2007) is a fun read for those of us who haven't read most of the historians he writes about. But he made me think about something else: what genealogists and historians regularly do now was hardly ever done before, say, 1500.

Before then, "History was the retrieval and presentation of what deserved to be remembered, against the remorseless flow of time. For a long time there was relatively little sense that the past lay inert, but potentially revivable, until quickened by the researcher and historian, in documents and archives." (Emphasis added)

No comments: