Sunday, 28 June 2009

Historians? Get a life

Much as I recognise my own prejudices at work, I can't help but sneer at this Guardian article about the new crop of historians, who are supposedly rescuing history from its dusty, leather-bound neglection. We are told; "history is becoming cool and the fightback is being spearheaded by a group of young, fashionable writers;" every one of them from Oxbridge, the oldest being 31 years.

I find it hard to take seriously such whipper-snappers. What can they have learnt in so few years on this planet, most of which have been spent in school or college, that they feel the need to burden us with more shelf fodder? Have they really something worthwhile to say? Apparently:

"this wave of young historians has sprouted up to fill the vacuum left by the departure of theory - or the "-isms" - from mainstream academic life."

They may be filling a vacuum, but it is a vacuum within a greater vacuum - academia itself.

Much as I love history, I have no need for academic types, unless they are translating something from a language I don't speak, and even then they tend to waste my time with tedious introductions. I don't want my knowledge strained through the sieve of their opinions, it is the contemporary accounts that interest me.


cisbio said...

interesting post dude -to which I have many (friendly) objections. Too many to discuss here. rather, an hour or two haranguing in a pub somewhere would do the trick.

On shift right now, but I'll text you near the end of the week.

Trooper Thompson said...

Yeah man, give me a call.

As for the post, I'm not sure how resolutely I will defend it!