A wish for well written history

an interesting historian & part time legend

As you may know I’m studying history, a subject that means a lot to me and is a huge part of my philosophy. If we cannot understand the mistakes of the past how are we going to deal with them when they reoccur, a common cliché.. Human nature does repeat itself, civilisation works in cycles. Why oh why then is the guide book to civilisation i.e. history, so god damn laborious, tedious and generally shit reading. I mean if history (i’m talking mostly academic shit) was written in a way that allowed us to enjoy it and therefore learn from it with greater ease then the mistakes of the past would be much more apparent as we would have as individuals casually perused upon it in the pursuit of casual pleasure. Instead historians demand strict academic English for example and I feel it is due to this stuffy attitude to communication that this civilisation is becoming more ignorant to history, walking into the same walls time and time again. Now I stress history (I believe anyway) is as much to do with communication as it is about facts, people only listen when they feel an element of pleasure in some form or another, be it a gripping well written story or a poem/song which; through the beauty of sound and rhythm captivates the audience and engages with society. As a history monkey (student) who actually finds the past quite bizarrely captivating in itself, it took a lot for me to dislike what I was reading, after reading many documents for my coarse I fear that I have lost interest in the subject from an academic perspective.
If I am so easily disrupted from a subject I love then I know thousands more potential historic academics are being put off as we speak and this is worrying. We cannot leave history to the boring sod and I suppose that boring sod is the archetypical historian and perhaps we should completely revolutionise the methods used when we read and write history for; if it does not keep up with the youth I fear it will eventually alienate the people its designed to improve and history will see the repetition of mistakes far more frequently and we don’t want that now do we, as the pinnacle of human endeavour and technology we need the watchmen of time to keep us pointing in the right direction. So please can we see a more modern and entertaining, a more artistically flared approach to prose in the study of history because if we don’t we’ll end up ignoring the foundations of our entire civilisation and the knowledge acquired will corrode until it struggles to support this modern world we live in.

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3 Comments

Filed under philosophy and politics

3 responses to “A wish for well written history

  1. Will

    I think what you are mistaking for being boring is that History has to be unbiased. I, like you, find history interesting on a casual level. However, i also think once people put some sort of opinion into it loses it’s reliability, and becomes a form of propaganda, pushing one’s own agenda. History is about communication OF facts and retelling of events in a balanced unbiased manner. Once it is trivialised or adapted it loses its authority. As much as it saddens me to say, History has to be a stuffy subject with little flair to it, more citiations, sources, names and dates than the enigmatic tales of Byronesque Libertines that you hope for, i fear.
    Having said this, i’m sure you can use a knowledge of History as a grounding for Creative writings. Once you know a lot about a period in time, you can use that knowledge to set a believable scene in say a novel, and make reference to real-life events that happened around that time. Think of films like The Mission, or Braveheart. Without unbiased historical resources (compiled and researched by real historians) then those films would be even further detached from what really happened, falling not just with creative license but with a poor understanding of the true events.
    With a good understanding of Historical Fact, you could perhaps become the next Bronte or Orwell, without that knowledge you would merely be writing Populist literature, unfounded in history and more like the type of tosh you find in The Sun.

    • petermears

      Indeed you’re correct, i fear that blog was a reaction to the frustration experienced in completing my essay. The artist communicates history, the historian safeguards it for future generations, all well as long as the writer/artist pays attention. 🙂

  2. Katy

    Woo well done Pete, i love your writing but im not a very clever interlectual to understand it sometimes.
    happy writing 🙂

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