History thickets

History is a dense, wild, bramble-choked thicket of unpredictable events, causes, effects and interconnecting influences from which jobbing historians hack out messy clumps sized to become books, articles or – should some competing vandal have already slashed through an area – corrective comments. The task is then to hold aloft one’s freshly ripped out prize, still rife with broken roots and tendrils, and to blend a touch of artifice with truth in order to convince others that they really see – especially if they squint properly in just the right light – a neat and tidy whole, if not completely self-contained then at least internally consistent and comprehensible.

(Paul Kielstra, historian of the slave trade)

Share this with others...Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Email this to someone
Click here for all items related to: ,