1887

n Historia - The linguistic turn, literary theory and historical theory

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Abstract

This essay deals with the relationship between literary theory on the one hand and historical tehory (or philosophy of history) on the other. Since the publication of White's seminal Metahistory in 1973 an orientation on literary theory was recommended to historical theorists. And it is true that this conception of the nature and the tasks of historical theory has given us a wholly new kind of history of historical writing. This has been a great gain we should never allow to be given up again. The orientation on literary theory has, however, not deepened our insights in the relationship between the historical text and the past itself. A careful analysis of what the so-called linguistic turn should mean for historical theory can explain why it is as easy as dangerous to overstate the significance of literary theory for historical theory. The implication is that we should address again the old semantic and epistemological questions with regard to the nature of historical writing.

Die opstel handel oor die verhouding tussen literêre teorie aan die een kant en historiese teorie (of filosofie) aan die ander kant. Sedert die publikasie van White se gesaghebbende studie, Metahistory, in 1973 het geskiedsteoretici 'n riglyn gekry waarvolgens hulle hulself ten opsigte van die literêre teorie kan oriënteer. Hierdie konsepsie van die aard van geskiedenis en die take van historiese teorie het 'n totaal nuwe inhoud aan die historiografie gegee. Dit was voordelig en daar moet sorg gedra word dat hierdie bate in die toekoms nie verlore gaan nie. Die aksent op literêre teorie het, egter nie ons insigte verdiep in soverre dit die historiese teks en die verlede self betref nie. 'n Noukeurige analise van wat die sogenaamde linguistiese wending vir geskiedsteorie behoort te beteken, kan verduidelik waarom dit so maklik sowel as gevaarlik kan wees om die belangrikheid van literêre teorie vir die geskiedsteorie te oorbeklemtoon. Die implikasie is dat ons weer eens die ou semantiese en epistemologiese vrae met betrekking tot die aard van geskiedskrywing moet nagaan, wat so lank verwaarloos was.

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/content/hist/45/2/EJC38003
2000-11-01
2016-12-09
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