Printer Friendly

Seeing the Past with the Mind's Eye: The Consecration of the Romantic Historian.

In seventeenth-century theory of history, the reference to "the eyes of history" ranked as a topos. With that topos, Cellarius and his colleagues alluded to what they considered to be the most important auxiliary sciences of history: chronology and geography. The advancement of these auxiliary sciences was connected with European expansion; between 1500 and 1700, the categories "time" and "space" were in danger of losing their classical and biblical-historical contents. Chronology and geography helped historians to pave a way through a history which proved to be vaster, both in time and in space, than ever presumed.(1)

The metaphor of the eye also occupied a prominent place in Romantic historiography. However, the generation of historians born in the 1790s and which started publishing from 1820 on, among them Augustin Thierry and Jules Michelet in France, Thomas Carlyle and Thomas Babington Macaulay in England, Leopold von Ranke and Georg Heinrich Pertz in Germany, William Hickling Prescott and George Bancroft in the United States, used this metaphor in a totally different manner from that of the seventeenth-century historians. At a moment in which, as Stephen Bann noted, history "established itself ... as an autonomous vehicle for imaginative reflection," the "eye of history" no longer reflected the standing of certain auxiliary sciences, but the manner in which the past could be understood.(2)

This shift was evident in Abel-Francois Villemain's Histoire de Cromwell, published in 1819. In the preface to this work, sometimes considered to be the first example of Romantic historiography in France, the author praised two of his forebears, Jacques Benigne Bossuet and Francois Voltaire: "These two great men ... seem to have hit upon the truth on several points, not so much by the precision of their searchings as by that first sight of the genius (cette premiere vue du genie), which does not deceive. Indeed, the wisdom of a higher intelligence holds something that can supplant the painstaking examination of the facts and permits the truth to be divined, awaiting the moment that it is proven." Villemain, in other words, made a distinction between "the first sight" of the genius, which hits upon the truth "at a glance," and the laborious examination (his own) of the sources, proving the truth only in the second instance.(3)

The metaphor of the "eye of history" was developed most extensively by historians who were or became blind, as well as by the admirers, critics, and biographers of these historians. Two examples may serve as an illustration.(4) The first signs of blindness revealed themselves to Thierry, born in 1795 and one of Villemain's proteges, in 1822 and thereafter, as a result of the strain put upon his eyes by the research for the Histoire de la Conquete de l'Angleterre par les Normands [History of the Conquest of England by the Normans]. To edit his opus magnum, published in 1825, Thierry already had to call on the assistance of a secretary. With time, he lost his sight completely. From the 1830s on, after having been struck also by paralysis in 1828, and suffering from insomnia that could be alleviated only with opium pills, the blind historian could only read with the eyes of his wife and write with her hand.(5)

His blindness invested Thierry with an aura of martyrdom. As early as 1825, a reviewer of the Histoire de la Conquete expressed his admiration for a young man "who had used the age of passions and enterprise for unrewarding work, and had exhausted the remainders of his weary sight to decipher snippets from barbarian chronicles." But the greatest contribution to the rhetoric of heroism that would continue to adhere to his work came from Thierry himself. In 1834, having been forced for medical reasons to leave Paris for his "place of exile" in the provinces, in a mood of paranoia and misanthropy, he wrote a brief autobiographical outline in which he compared himself to a "soldier maimed on the battlefield."(6)

When Thierry returned to Paris in 1835 to work on one of Francois Guizot's great source projects and to live, as the librarian of the Duke of Orleans, surrounded by "books without letters" (as another blind librarian would later express it),(7) he had already become a living legend. For his friends and admirers, he had become primarily a "martyr for science." This characterization was canonized by Villemain, who repeated it over and again in his jury report for the Prix Gobert of the Academie Francaise, awarded to Thierry from 1840 to 1855, much to the derision of Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve and the Goncourt brothers.(8) At the same time, in the portraits devoted to the "martyr," the contrast between body and mind was continually being emphasized: an elite mind, imprisoned in the dungeon of an ailing body, but never wavering. Thierry himself did everything possible to consolidate that image. During the disturbances following the February Revolution in 1848, when friends advised him to leave Paris, he wrote to one of them: "Behold my design for living and dying. I am a soldier of science, I shall stick to my post, that is to say: Paris, because there is no other place where I could continue my work. And when the ultimate danger knocks at my door, it shall find me as it found Archimedes, that is to say: at work, between a dictated sentence and notes for the next.(9) In 1856, when his time had come, these words still rang in the deathbed scene of the necrologist and the biographer: during the night of his death, Thierry had allegedly woken his servant to dictate a minor correction to the Histoire de la Conquete.(10)

Thierry's fate and fame were shared by Prescott, born in 1796, one of the Romantic "New England historians." In 1813, when still a student, an accident had deprived him of the sight in his left eye. As a consequence, the right eye rapidly became impaired, so that it could no longer be used for reading and writing, and this sometimes resulted in a complete loss of sight for months at a time. This fate, aggravated by lifelong rheumatic pains, prompted Prescott to devote himself to the extension of the New England Asylum for the Blind, founded in Boston in 1829 (as an "unoculus inter caecos" [a one-eyed amongst the blind], so he wrote).(11) For his own work he used, besides a secretary-reader, a "noctograph," a machine that he had bought in London in 1816 and that allowed him to write without seeing.(12)

In both the preface to his first historical work, the History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (1837) and that of The Conquest of Mexico, which appeared six years later, Prescott drew the attention of his readers to the bad state of his eyes and the difficulties he had to overcome when writing.(13) But when a reviewer of The Conquest of Mexico called him a blind historian, he reacted immediately. A letter to his literary agent in London, a letter to the editor of the magazine which had published the review, an erratum in that same magazine, and even a lengthy expose in the preface to his History of the Conquest of Peru (1847), all appeared to make clear that he was not suffering from complete blindness.(14) But it was to no avail: to his readers (and his reviewers) he remained a blind historian, a man, moreover, whose moral courage and integrity were beyond all doubt, and who deserved admiration for his struggle against his physical suffering. It is doubtful whether Prescott regretted this. By explicitly referring to his eye troubles, even in his attempt to end the misunderstanding which had arisen in 1843, he had contributed to that image. His emphasis on the struggle of others--in his essay on Sir Walter Scott, dating from 1838, he pointed no less than three times to Scott's energetic fight against the "agonies of the flesh"(15)--revealed how much that image fascinated him.

In the biography written by the hispanicist George Ticknor at the request of Prescott's widow, this heroism became fully crystallized. Ticknor recognized that his friend, who had died in 1859, had been a drawing-room lion, but above all he highlighted his iron will, self-sacrifice, and passion for the study of history. In short, Prescott's scholarly life had been a heroic struggle against an ever present ailment. When the biography was published in 1864, many people declared themselves convinced. George Bancroft congratulated the biographer: "I had feared that the uniformity of his life would cut off from your narrative the resources of novelty and variety and stirring interest; and here, in the inward struggles of his mind, and his struggles with outward trials, you have brought out a more beautiful and attractive picture than if you had to describe the escapes of a hero or the perils of an adventurer."(16)

Thus Thierry as well as Prescott earned the reputation of being "martyrs for science." As "friends of darkness," they could also see each other as "brothers."(17) It was Ticknor who put them in touch with each other. During one of his stays in Paris in 1837-1838, he had visited Thierry regularly. He had been impressed by "so striking an instance of the triumph of intellectual power and moral energy over personal infirmities" (and by the enthusiasm with which this blind man talked about painting and the opera). The similarity to the fate of Prescott struck him. It was not long before the two historians were exchanging advice and presentation copies.(18)

However, others also belonged to this community of blind historians proclaimed to be heroes. For example, Prescott's Florentine correspondent and contemporary Gino Capponi: despite his blindness, this marquess (and former Prime Minister) had started work on a Storia della repubblica di Firenze [History of the Republic of Florence] (1875) in 1848. And of course Prescott's fellow New Englander Francis Parkman, his junior by almost thirty years, also had to engage in a lifelong struggle against physical (and mental) pains. Parkman, too, journeyed through a "dark valley" between 1847 and 1865; he, too, was forced to use a "noctograph" to write his historical ouverture, The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War after the Conquest of Canada (1851). Particularly in Parkman's case, with his great predilection for physical exertion (in 1846 he had undertaken an adventurous journey along the Oregon Trail), this could easily lead to a heroic image.(19)

However, more was needed to arrive at the metaphor of the "eye of history." The image of the self-denying historian fighting against blindness and other physical ailments was, after all, no more than a variation on a theme echoed by numerous biographies and autobiographies of scientists which competed with Christian martyrology. Moreover, this was not solely typical of Romantic culture. The main character of Hippolyte Taine's only and unfinished novel, Etienne Mayran, published posthumously in 1909, was also fascinated by a dictionarian with "ailing eyes."(20) However, when the historian's blindness (or poor eyesight) was connected with the capacity of entering into direct contact with the past by means of historical relics, a much more specific image took shape. This was the case with Romantic historians such as Prescott and Thierry.

In the case of the first, this contact appeared to originate in places that were reminiscent of the past. On his grand tour of Europe in 1816-1817 (undertaken, in part, for medical reasons), Prescott appeared to be highly susceptible to the historical suggestion that could emanate from such places. In the cathedral of Canterbury, he threw himself to the ground, to the great amazement of his guide, not out of religious veneration, but because he felt moved by the sensation of the place ("the very spot") where Thomas Becket was murdered. And the ancient ruins of Italy gave him the feeling that the rulers of antiquity had taken the place of his contemporaries. When he decided, a few years later, to devote himself to the study of history, he noted in his diary: "I think ... every historian should be personally acquainted with the country concerning which he is to write." Consequently, more than thirty years later, he was to use John Lothrop Motley's long stay in the Netherlands as an argument when recommending The Rise of the Dutch Republic (1856) to his English publisher. At the time, he had personally visited the scene of the Revolt, while working on a History of the Reign of Philip the Second (1855-1858). And once again he had been overcome by the "halo" of the monuments in Brussels and Delft: they had given him the feeling of being totally submerged in the sixteenth century.(21)

It was Ticknor who had made the paradoxical connection between this exceptional susceptibility to historical suggestion--the feeling of coming so close to the past that it could be experienced as powerfully as the present--and Prescott's visual faculties. Speaking of his friend's Italian experiences, he remarked: "The genius loci [genius of the place] was at his side wherever he went, and showed him things invisible to mortal sight."(22) Thus the almost blind Prescott was given a "historical eye" denied to ordinary mortals.

This was a posthumous gift, which could only be understood within the context of a place actually visited. Twenty years before Ticknor's biography appeared, Alexander von Humboldt had gone even further. In 1844 Prescott had sent him a presentation copy of The Conquest of Mexico, aware that, during his long study tour from 1799 to 1804, the German scholar had also spent a year in Mexico. In a word of thanks, von Humboldt made a contrast between his own observations and those of Prescott, who had never been to Mexico: "One is a harsh judge, often inclined to injustice, when one has had a vivid impression of the places, and when the study of classical history which I most preferred has been pursued on the actual site where some of the great events have taken place. The harshness, Sir, has been disarmed on reading your Conquete du Mexique. You paint successfully because you have seen with the eyes of the spirit, with the inner faculty (des yeux de l'esprit, du sens interieur)."(23) Prescott had become a visionary, a historian who had perceived the absent past with an "inner eye," and whose work derived its quality from this perception.

Thierry did not leave the possession of such an eye to the discretion of others. In his autobiography, he mentioned a sensation analogous to Prescott's Italian experiences. During a study tour in Southern France he had undertaken with his mentor Claude Fauriel in 1826, he had, though almost blind, been able to determine the origin of the monuments they investigated "at a glance." As an explanation of this curious fact, he added: "An inner sense unknown to me came to the aid of my eyes. Inspired by what I would like to call the historical passion, I was able to see in greater depth and clarity." What Thierry saw so clearly in Southern France were the relics of the past. In the libraries and archives of Paris, however, so he wrote in that same autobiography, he had seen the past itself. While researching for the Histoire de la Conquete, he almost went into ecstasies. He had been torn away from the present and could only see what the reading of the chronicles had evoked in him. In 1834, he could not remember "ever again having had such a vivid perception of the characters of his drama."(24)

Such passages, written by a man who had lost his sight, made a deep impression on readers. Before long, Thierry received the same paradoxical honorary title Ticknor had conferred on Prescott: that of "clear-sighted blind man." His physical eye, his admirers explained, had been lost, but Providence had made up for that loss: Thierry possessed "that second sight, which is the true genius and the intimate light of the historian (cette seconde vue, qui est le genie veritable et la lumiere de l'historien)." Apparently it was a hereditary matter, for Thierry's brother Amedee, also a historian, though not blind, was credited with the same clear-sightedness; it was said of him that he, too, could represent the past as if he had "set eyes" on it, or in any case that he possessed the clear and accurate sensibility needed for that purpose.(25)

Thus both in the case of Prescott and that of Thierry, a second image was grafted onto the image of martyrdom: that of an "inner eye" allowing the historian to see what could not be seen--the past. This sixth sense--"the mind's eyes in the absence of the body's eyes (les yeux de l'ame defaut des yeux du corps)," as Thierry put it in 1840 in a letter to Prescott(26)--gave them privileged access to the past. In 1851 the historian Brantz Mayer, almost blind himself, wrote to Parkman after receiving a copy of his Conspiracy of Pontiac, that he hoped his colleague would soon be able "to unfold another leaf from that mysterious past in which I am sure you must have caught glimpses of many a golden legend."(27) According to these words, clearly much had happened since 1819. The gap observed by Villemain between the "first sight" of the genius and the laborious research of the historian had now been closed: the "second eye" of the historian was in no way inferior to the "first sight" of the genius.

Both the image of the historian as martyr and the image of the historian as seer of that which others could not see were in close keeping with the self-image of the Romantic artist. This self-image--it is sufficiently well-known--consisted of two components that were contradictory only in appearance. On the one hand, the artist considered himself to be an exile in society, misunderstood and misjudged (the theme of the "malheur du genie" [misfortune of the genius]). By his unconventional behavior and work, however, he himself also sought after that--supposed--isolation: he liked to compare himself to Icarus who, though he had not survived his flight through the heavens, had at least given his name to a sea. At the same time, however, he knew he was being beset, like Eugene Delacroix's Tasso. This painting, dating from 1839, depicted the Italian poet as a persecuted genius, unjustly accused of insanity and living in spiritual solitude in the midst of his fellow prisoners (Charles Baudelaire wrote a sonnet on the subject).(28)

On the other hand, the artists considered themselves to be a new elite, a spiritual aristocracy which could actually boast social recognition. The poets in particular assumed a social mission: they saw themselves (just like the philosophes during the preceding period) as the chosen who should lead the ordinary mortals to salvation. They were precursors, the spiritual guides of humanity, preaching a new Gospel. In that perspective, the poetic genius could easily become sacred and the poet develop into a (secular) priest. As early as 1798, Novalis identified one with the other: "Poet and priest were originally one, and only in later times were they separated. But the true poet always remained a priest, just as the true priest always remained a poet. And may the future not restore the old state of things?"(29) Victor Hugo did not think otherwise; for him, poetic genius also implied a mission and a consecration. For later generations, he would remain the symbol of a poetry that was preached from a holy mountain and that had laid down a new law.

This priestly conception of poetic genius was based on a new poetics, developed under the influence of German idealist philosophers such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte. At its center stood an equally new notion of the imagination. The Romantic poets no longer saw the imagination as a passive recipient of external impressions, as the manager of a repository of mental pictures with essentially unreliable powers of combination, but as an active power which, equal to God, creates reality time and again. To use the familiar metaphor: the Romantic imagination was not a mirror but a lamp. Because it "illuminated" reality, it revealed the truth and created an inextricable bond between man and nature, between subject and object. The poets therefore no longer sought after a mimetic representation of nature, but looked for an expression (an "Ausdruck") of inner life.(30)

Such an imagination, conceived in that manner, made the poet more than a priest: he became a prophet, someone who saw more than those who did not possess the poetic gift. In the opinion of the Romantics, he not only perceived external phenomena, but also the essence of reality, not only the transitory world, but also the eternal realm of truth and beauty. Therefore the essence of the poetic task--and this is significant in the light of what has been said above about Prescott and Thierry--was often denoted in terms of visual, visionary, or divinatory qualities which were distinct from the more common visual qualities. William Blake wrote that, as a poet, he did not see "with," but only "through the eye"; the eye which really gave him an insight into reality was the "eye of the imagination."(31) Honore de Balzac, in the preface to one of his early novels, La peau de chagrin [The Shagreen] (1831), remarked that poets needed to possess more than a talent for observation and expression: "That is a kind of second sight which enables them to guess the truth in every possible situation; or better still, I know not what power which takes them wherever they have, wherever they want to be."(32)

At the same time these exceptional visual, visionary, and divinatory qualities played an important role in the Romantic discours on blindness, initiated and dominated by men of letters.(33) In the eighteenth-century discours concerning this matter, blindness had been unsanctified. In the work of John Locke and the sensationalist philosophers, the traditional attribution of magical qualities to the blind had been replaced by the investigation of the way in which sensory perception worked. The point of departure had been the so-called Molyneux's question, which asks how someone who was born blind would perceive reality after being cured. Denis Diderot did not abandon this point of departure in his famous Lettre sur les aveugtes [Letter on the Blind] (1749), although he had shifted the problem by focusing his attention on the mental and linguistic sign-systems used by the blind before being cured. On this epistemological discourse, two other constructions had been grafted: a literary-sentimental discourse based on the fascination for the "innocent first glance" (in which the recently cured blind person played the same role as that other eighteenth-century favorite, the foreign observer in an unknown land) and a pedagogic discourse concerning the education and training of the blind, which quickly became institutionalized.

These two discourses were still circulating after 1800. But the reaction against sensationalism (by Francois-Pierre Gonthier Maine de Biran, among others), the conceptual shifts in the matter of observation techniques and especially the tendency of pedagogues to attribute a characteristic "nature" to the blind which was different from that of the sighted, caused the underlying discours to crumble. The Romantic discourse that replaced it once again provided blindness with its old mythical connotations. In the opinion of the Romantic men of letters, the blind compensated for their loss of sight with exceptional mental capacities, among them an "inner vision." Therefore it was obvious that the Romantic discourse concerning blindness should become intertwined with that concerning the visionary poetic genius. For Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, Hugo, and many others, the blind were primarily blind poets and bards, visionaries and prophets.

Inversely, blind or blinded poets enjoyed unusual popularity among the Romantics. As early as the end of the 1760s, Homer, Ossian, and John Milton were hailed in the same breath as the greatest poets of world history. In 1800, the first two were promoted by Germaine de Stall as the fathers of the two movements she had distinguished in European literature. Painters also contributed to the fame of both poets. At the Salon of 1827-1828, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres exhibited an Apotheose d'Homere [Apotheosis of Homer] which, though entirely executed in the classic style, could easily be associated with many Romantic motifs. Milton did not only rank as an important example in England, among others for William Wordsworth, but was also admired in France--by Chateaubriand, Alfred de Vigny, Hugo, and many others. At the same Salon where Ingres's Apotheose d'Homere could be seen, Delacroix exhibited a Milton dictant le "Paradis perdu" a ses rilles [Milton Dictating his "Paradise Lost" to his Daughters], an ingenious painting in which the blindness of the poet was emphasized even more by the allusion to those faculties which had not been lost. At the same time, the Romantic poets identified themselves with their blind forebears. Hugo, whose preoccupation with blindness had even been enhanced by the eye diseases he suffered from between 1824 and 1843, had his portrait painted toward the end of his life with a book which was attributed to Homer. The painting by Leon Bonnat was a demonstration of the lasting attraction that blindness exerted on the visionary poets.

The close connection established between the Romantic priestly conception of poetic genius, including its visionary component, and the simultaneous discourse concerning blindness, explains why blind or almost blind historians such as Thierry and Prescott, with the support of their admirers, critics, and biographers, could define their own work and method so clearly in terms that were derived from the self-image of the Romantic poets. Thierry, called by Chateaubriand the "Homer of history" and again by others the "Milton of history,"(34) willingly associated himself with the priest-poets. Notably, he liked to identify himself with the Irish bards, the "archivists of the nation."(35)

Prescott for his part traced the origins of his own historical work to a biographical detail of one of the models of the Romantic poets. Both in the preface to his History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella and in his correspondence, he wrote that he had been annoyed by a remark he had come across in the outline of Milton's life published by Samuel Johnson in 1781. Speaking of Milton's unfinished History of England, Johnson had let slip that a blind man simply could not write history.(36) Prescott wished to belie that remark, even if he had to use a "noctograph" in doing so. And it was exactly that machine that enabled him to assume something of the prophetic qualities of the poet, be it with the necessary self-deprecation. After all, Prescott liked to compare the words he wrote during his historical musings with the help of his "noctograph' with hieroglyphs, illegible signs that had to be "deciphered" by his secretary-reader. The words were like the riddles of an oracle, solved by an alter ego.(37)

However, Thierry and Prescott were not the only members of the generation of historians born in the 1790s who associated their work with a priestly vocation. Non-blind historians did much the same. In other words, (near-) blindness was not a prerequisite for the adoption of metaphors commonly used in poetic circles. None other than Ranke (1795) repeatedly compared the historical profession to that of a priest. In 1820, he closed an impassioned letter about the exhilaration he felt when contemplating the riches of the ages with the words: "Very well then! However it all will go and whatever I may yet achieve, to work! so that we may unveil this holy hieroglyph for ourselves. In so doing we also serve God, in so doing we are also priests, also teachers." Even more explicitly, more than half a century later in 1873, in a letter to ibis son, a pastor: "The science of history ... is an office that can only be compared with that of a priest."(38)

It was Michelet (1798) who undoubtedly went farthest in this comparison. During his entire life, Michelet claimed to be in close contact with the dead from the past. In his autobiographical writings, he stressed that it was this bond that had driven him to history. As a twelve-year-old, he had visited the Musee des Monuments francais. More than thirty years later, he declared that the medieval graves rescued by Alexandre Lenoir from revolutionary destruction had made a profound impression on him: "I filled those graves with my imagination, I felt the dead through the marble, and it was not without apprehension that I entered the vault where Dagobert, Chilperic, and Fredegonde slept." In the grip of the "religion of the past," he made his way to Pere-Lachaise many times thereafter. While walking through the graveyard, "that curious theatre of life and death, where the graves are bordered with roses, where the silence is interspersed with the song of the nightingale, and mourning with love," he became even more conscious of his vocation. Michelet's necrophiliac inclination, his preference for the company of the dead, gave rise to some concern, and some people warned him: "There, one runs the risk of meeting the beautiful Betrothed; she is so pale and so charming, and she drinks the blood from your heart."(39)

Michelet did not heed this warning. On the contrary, he used the rhetoric of the contact with the dead to justify his self-appointed priestly capacity. Particularly during the 1840s, while being driven to despair by the death of both his (first) wife and his new lover and working on his Histoire de France [History of France], which had been appearing since 1833, he arrived at a mystical conception of his task as a historian. In 1842 he wrote in his Journal [Diary] that in his dreams he had seen the weeping and complaining dead. They had begged for someone who would open his heart and ears for them, who would love and understand them, someone who would let them live again and say the words for them they had never been able to say. In this passage, the historian became a "high priest of history," a "vates" [a prophet], or in the words of Friedrich Schlegel, a "prophet looking backwards." Michelet compared him to an Oedipus, "who explained to the dead their own riddles," and to a Prometheus, "whose fire once again gave a ring to the cold voices of the dead."(40)

Orpheus, who was immensely popular with the Romantic poets, was not included in this company. Nonetheless, he would not have been out of place there, and not only because of his messianic qualities. Did Orpheus not descend into the underworld to snatch his beloved Euridice from death? Did he not sing to her, in the words given to him by Monteverdi's librettist Alessandro Striggio: "... if my verses have any powers, I shall descend into the most profound darkness, and after having moved the heart of the god of shades, I shall take you with me so that you can see the stars again" (L'Orfeo [1607], second act)? Ary Scheffer, an intimus of Thierry, had even exhibited the tragic outcome of the mission at the Salon of 1814. The image of Orpheus conformed with the mythology that Michelet associated with his historiography and its foundation, the examination of the records. In the preface to a new edition of his Histoire de la Revolution francaise [History of the French Revolution] (1847-1853), dating from 1868, he reminded his readers that his book "had been born from the womb of the Archives (ne du sein des Archives)." Just like Orpheus had descended into the underworld, Michelet had descended into the vault of the Archives nationales, where he had met the dead: "I had acquired an eye to be able to see between those shadows, and I believe they knew me. They saw me alone with them in those galleries, in those spacious depots which are seldom visible."(41)

Michelet's description of an ocular interaction between the historian and the dead from the past shows that, just like Prescott and Thierry, he too liked to clarify the consecration that went with his office with the help of the metaphor of the "eye of history." Earlier, in Le peuple [The People] (1846), he wrote of a "second eye": "To see what appears before no one else's eyes, such is the second sight (la seconde vue)." This definition had been part of an extensive discussion of "the instinct of the simple and the instinct of the genius." Both the simple (or the child) and the genius, Michelet concluded, saw "with the eyes of the mind (des yeux de l'esprit)" connections others could not see.(42)

"Seeing connections": was this indeed what the historian, whether blind or not, saw with his "second eye," his "inner eye" or his "mind's eye"? What did he actually see with that instrument that distinguished him from nonhistorians (or at least from those among them who were not geniuses), and that he was so proud of? Did he really see the same as the visionary poet to whom he felt so closely related and whose language he spoke? Or was it yet something else? Rather, was it not so that the Romantic historian had borrowed the metaphor of "the inner eye" from the overwrought rhetoric of the Romantic poet, but had charged it with a totally different meaning? In other words, did speaking the same language not suggest an affinity that in fact did not exist? Two problems that arise on closer consideration lend credence to such suspicions.

The first problem is connected with the object of the "inner sight." In the preface to his first collection of poems, published in 1822 under the title Odes et poesies diverses [Odes and Various Poetry], Hugo wrote that "an ideal world existed under the real world, a world revealing itself to be wonderful in the eyes of those who have taught themselves through serious reflection to see more in things than just things (voir dans les choses plus que les choses)."(43) Such was the world of the poet. The reality he saw was an intimate reality, a reality which was located "under" the reality of phenomena. The relation between the two realities that were connected with the "inner sight" of the historian was altogether different. The "second eye" of the historian perceived a reality "behind," not "under" the reality of phenomena. The historian saw the past, a reality that lay on the chronological line "behind" (or "before," if you like) the reality of the physical eye. The metaphor of the "eye of history" had to make clear that the historian was able to bridge the interval in time, that he could free himself from his own time--"expatriating himself," Prescott wrote(44)--and look into the past.

Unlike the poets, the historians were not--or at least not primarily--concerned with a "deeper sight." On the contrary, they used the metaphor to transfer the vividness, the intensity, and the certainty warranted by the sensory contact with contemporary reality onto the contact with past reality. The metaphor testified to their desire to give the readers of their work an "immediate feeling of life in the past."(45) That is why admirers of Prosper Merimee--another propagandist of "the mind's eye"--praised his ability to give the past a presence which it could not have in reality.(46) For the Romantic historians and their readers, the "second eye" warranted a more authentic image of the past than that of historians from earlier day's who were not gifted with such an eye.

There was a second difference between the Romantic historians and their fellow poets. As already stated, the Romantic poets found a basis for their work in an imagination that did not reflect existing reality, but created a new reality. Their word created a reality that would not be there without that word. The implication of this idealistic conception for the relationship between language and reality in historiography became apparent in, among others, the Reflexions sur la verite dans l'art [Reflections on Truth in Art], that Vigny added in 1827 to the second edition of his historical novel Cinq-Mars (1826). In these reflections, Vigny argued that history should be made into a "fable": the "bleak truths" of the scholars did not satisfy him.(47)

This point of view was remote from that of the historians. Most historians opposed a way of thinking that threatened to sever all bonds with reality. In their views on the relationship between language and reality, referentiality was, if anything, the central point. In this respect, some of the comments made in the first half of the nineteenth century on the Romantic concept of the visionary blind prove to be illustrative. Balzac in particular, whose description of a "second sight" in La peau de chagrin cannot be detached from his fascination with blindness, pointed to the dangers accompanying this visionary blindness. In his novel Louis Lambert, published in 1832, he established a connection between the genius of his hero and his ability to look inward, away from the world, to the objects of his own thoughts and desires. However, the blank look in Louis Lambert's eyes, compared to that of a blind man, also revealed his madness: he appeared to have completely lost all contact with the world around him.

That was exactly what the historians feared about poetic idealism. Perhaps there is no better example for this than Thierry's reaction, in 1851, to Ralph Waldo Emerson's work: "This philosophy, which casts doubt on the reality of the outside world and does not believe in history, is not good for a blind man; if he should surrender to it, it could put him on the road to madness; it is not good for the historian either, who needs to believe that he practises a serious trade and that facts are something else than shadows and symbols."(48) This "desire for reality" also guided Thierry in his judgment of the work of fellow historians. He had little appreciation for Michelet, whom he also regarded as a dangerous rival in the struggle for the leadership of the French historical guild; he dismissed his writings as "dithyrambic poetry." On the other hand, he spoke with great appreciation of the great editions of the Benedictines: they contained the source material which could bridge the gap between historiography and past reality.(49)

Prescott also refused to accept a full analogy between historiography and poetry. Time and again he stressed how scrupulously he worked. He showed pride in having conquered the archive fortress of Simancas, gave the assurance that he had treated the novelistic themes in his work according to the strict rules of historical criticism, and compared the tiresome and time-consuming treatment of source material with the activities surrounding Medea's magic cauldron. Fact and fiction had to be separated, exactly because history and literature were too closely related to ever conclude a lawful marriage.(50) These were all testimonies of a thought that had already established itself in Prescott's mind in 1822: "Poets may be born, but historians are made."(51)

However, the importance which both Thierry and Prescott--and many other Romantic historians with them--attached to the source material they used was not alone nor even foremost in meeting their desire to maintain a referential bond between their work and reality. The sources, relics from the past, were mainly considered to be means for the realization of the desired direct contact with the past. After all, they contained all sorts of details that made it possible to show the past, mainly because these details were "picturesque." And "picturesque" meant that they were there "pour le plaisir des yeux" [for the pleasure of the eyes]. Both Thierry and Prescott associated Scott's "second eye," which they also attributed to him, with his ability to portray the past in a "picturesque" manner.(52) The visualizing power of "picturesque" historiography in turn was sought in the color of the historical image. It was in fact the blind Thierry who constantly stressed that he wished to give a colorful representation of the past--a painting, not an engraving, as he reproached his classicist predecessors.(53) However, this did not only involve the color of the historical image, but the right color as well. And the right color was the color that suited the past or, better still, that suited the fragments of the past concerned. The right color was the couleur locale, and this couleur locale was revealed by the details contained in the sources.

The couleur locale, however, did not only relate to the details of the past (the armor, the jewelry worn at a wedding, all sorts of minor incidents). The fact that these details revealed the couleur locale meant that they could be regarded as "typical," "characteristic" expressions of the entire fragment of the past involved. In other words, the couleur locale was the material aspect of the genius saeculi, the spirit of the times. It stuck to details, but revealed the whole. For that reason, Hugo, in the preface to his Cromwell (1827), condemned those historical tragedies in which the couleur locale was only decoration and did not come from the heart of the work itself.(54) And for that same reason, Scott's "second eye" could not become associated only with a "picturesque" historical image, but also with a divinatory power. Because of his keen perception of the (perhaps in themselves bizarre) details of the past he also saw--simultaneously--which of these details were details, which of these phenomena were phenomena, the "essence" of these "symptoms."(55)

The Romantic historian gifted with a "second eye" therefore was a historian who saw more than the reality of phenomena. In the words of Baudelaire, from the ban he fulminated in 1846 against Horace Vernet and the painters of the juste milieu [the happy medium]: he did not possess a "memory like an almanach," but a "real memory." And this real memory was "a very lively, easily stimulated imagination, which as a consequence was able to recall scenes from the past with each sensation, and could invest these as if by magic with the life and character typical of each of these scenes."(56) Thus the historian, due to the organic bond between the details and the whole contained in the couleur locale, found himself once again standing next to the poet. His "inner eye" showed him not only a reality "behind" the reality of phenomena, but also a reality "under" this reality, "lying behind." He also saw "more in things than just things," as Hugo had acknowledged for the poet. Thierry spoke of "le sens intime et reel de l'histoire" [the intimate and real sense of history].(57)

This intimate reality was a reality that was not only no longer visible, but also in danger of being forgotten, that only lived on in muddled memories or had been completely suppressed. The priestly role of the historian meant, at least partially, that he had to point out, uncover, or bring to consciousness this reality. Parkman, always in search of "the emotions of a buried and forgotten past,"(58) wrote his Conspiracy of Pontiac as a portrayal of the Indian character and life in the woods, elements of American history that survived only "in the mist of memory." In his Histoire de la Conquete, Thierry uncovered a racial antagonism between the Norman conquerors and their Anglo-Saxon victims that underlay the whole of British history, an antagonism that had determined (and in a sense still determines) the entire social, political, and religious history, but had been banned to the deepest recesses of collective memory. Especially in Irish, Scottish, and Breton history--thus called archetypal forms of history--he had detected this racial antagonism "with a purity and a relief which struck the eye." His task as a historiographer, he added, consisted of "bringing clearly before the eyes of others what he had already so clearly seen himself."(59)

Thus the metaphor of the "eye of history" was connected with what was perhaps the most striking ideal of the Romantic historian: historical evocation, or, in the words of Michelet, "the resurrection of the past (la resurrection du passe)."(60) The historian should strive to "reanimate" the dead past. This ambition yielded in nothing to that of the poet, and the poets sensed that. In his Cromwell, Hugo wrote: "The purpose of art is almost divine: to resurrect where history is concerned; to create where poetry is concerned."(61)

Such religious terminology was used also by those who were closely involved with the work of these historians. Ernest Renan, one of Thierry's collaborators at the end of his life, asked himself in a necrology of his master: "Where did he take that fertile breath, when, as in Ezekiel's vision, he walked over God's acre, gave the dead new life, and made people from scattered bones?"(62) And princess Belgiojoso, the grande dame of the Italian carbonari and Romantic dandyism, in whom Thierry hoped to find a new Antigone after the death of his wife, went even further. In 1845, she expressed her admiration for the rare ability of her "brother" (as she called him) to "create everything from nothing," and she added, "There is a certain magician (magicien) who immerses the heads of his followers in water. It is obvious that they draw back their heads at once. But in that short moment they have lived for centuries and have seen new worlds. In that same manner you immerse your imagination in Gregory of Tours or in any other source, and then you perceive what is undoubtedly there, but what no one had seen." A few years later, Prescott was also called a "magician" by one of his readers.(63)

Thus the Romantic historian was a magician, like his fellow poet. By giving the past he had perceived with his "inner eye" a semblance of life, he created illusions. That was what the poet also did. Macaulay, knowing that he belonged to this circle of magicians, wrote, in the middle of the 1820s, in an essay devoted to Milton: "Poetry produces an illusion on the eye of the mind, as a magic lantern produces an illusion on the eye of the body."(64)

"A magic lantern": Macaulay's words inevitably conjure up the image of the photographer--not the photographer with a "memory like an almanach," but the photographer with a "memory" like Nadar. During a lawsuit instigated against his brother in 1857, he spoke the following credo: "What can be taught even less [in photography] is the moral understanding of your subject--it is that quick feeling (tact) which puts you in touch with your model, makes you judge it and focusses you on its habits, its ideas, its character, and which permits you to make not a plastic reproduction in a trivial and accidental manner (which could also be made by the lowest in rank in a laboratory), but the most familiar and favourable resemblance, the intimate resemblance."(65) "La ressemblance intime": that was exactly what had been the ambition of the Romantic historian. It was hardly an accident that Michelet, too, appeared before the eye of Nadar.(66)

(1.) Petrus Benedictus Maria Blaas, "Het oog van de geschiedenis. Europese expansie en historisch besef," Anachronisme en historisch besef Momenten uit de ontwikkeling van het Europees historisch bewustzijn ["The Eye of History: European Expansion and Historical Consciousness," Anachronism and Historical Consciousness: Episodes in the Development of European Historical Consciousness] (Rotterdam and The Hague: UP Rotterdam and Nijgh and Van Ditmar, 1988), 32-34.

(2.) On the Romantic period as "the stage at which history became self-conscious," see Stephen Bann, Romanticism and the Rise of History (New York: Twayne, 1995), 11-16.

(3.) Abel-Francois Villemain, Histoire de Cromwell d'apres les memoires du temps et les recueils parlementaires [History of Cromwell based on Contemporary Memoirs and Parliamentary Proceedings] (Brussels: Gregoir and Wouters, 1840), 1:7.

(4.) These two examples have already been brought together, though not in great depth, in Edmund William Gosse, "Two Blind Historians," More Books on the Table (London: Heinemann, 1923), 275-84.

(5.) For the gender-related consequences of this "division of roles," see Jo Tollebeek, "Madame Augustin Thierry. Een geval van historiografisch ostracisme" [Madame Augustin Thierry: A Case of Historiographic Ostracism], Skript 15.4 (1993): 307-12. For analogous cases see Bonnie G. Smith, "Historiography, Objectivity and the Case of the Abusive Widow," History and Theory, special issue 31 (1992): History and Feminist Theory, 15-32 and her The Gender of History: Men, Women, and Historical Practice (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1998).

(6.) Anonymous, [Review of the Histoire de la Conquete], Journal des Debats [Journal of Debates] 23 June 1825 and Augustin Thierry, "Preface: Histoire de mes idees et de mes travaux historiques," Dix ans d'etudes historiques ["Preface: History of my Ideas and my Historical Works," Ten Years of Historical Studies] ([Oeuvres] [Works] vol. 6) (Paris: Furne and Jouvet, [1866.sup.10]), 18, 22-23, 23-24.

(7.) Jorge Luis Borges, "La ceguera," Obras completas ["Blindness," Complete Works] (Buenos Aires: Emece, 1989), 2:278.

(8.) See Abel-Francois Villemain, Discours et melanges litteraires [Speeches and Literary Miscellanies] (Paris: Didier, 1852), 295, 368-70 and Villemain, Choix d'etudes sur la litterature contemporaine [Selection of Studies on Contemporary Literature] (Paris: Didier, 1857), 14, 52, 69-70, 124-25. For the derision see Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal. Memoires de la vie litteraire [Diary: Memoirs of Literary Life], ed. Robert Ricatte (Paris: Laffont, 1989), 1:1055.

(9.) Quoted in A. (Augustin-Jules-Gilbert) Augustin-Thierry, Augustin Thierry (1795-1856) d'apres sa correspondance et ses papiers de famille [Augustin Thierry (1795-1856) According to his Correspondence and his Family Papers] (Paris: Plon-Nourrit, 1922), 223.

(10.) Among others, Ernest Renan, "M. Augustin Thierry," Essais de morale et de critique [Essays in Ethics and Critique] (Paris: Levy, 1859), 138-39, and Joseph-Daniel Guignaut, "Notice historique sur la vie et les travaux de M. Augustin Thierry" ["A Historical Survey of the Life and Works of Augustin Thierry"], Memoires de l'Institut National de France. Acadamie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 25.1 (1877): 314-15.

(11.) William Hickling Prescott, "Asylum for the Blind," Critical and Historical Essays (London: Routledge, s.a.), 39-59, and Prescott, The Papers, ed. Clinton Harvey Gardiner (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1964), 90, 187-89.

(12.) See George Ticknor, Life of William Hickling Prescott (London: Routledge, Warne, and Routledge, 1864), 92-95, 133-35.

(13.) William Hickling Prescott, History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic of Spain (London: Routledge, s.a.), 1: xii-xiv, and Prescott, The Conquest of Mexico (Everyman's Library 397) (London and New York: Dent and Dutton, s.a.), 1:5.

(14.) Prescott, The Papers, 225-26; William Hickling Prescott, History of the Conquest of Peru (Everyman's Library 301) (London, Toronto and New York: Dent and Dutton, 1921), xxxvii-xl, and Ticknor, Prescott, 283-85, 403. Also see Clinton Harvey Gardiner, William Hickling Prescott: A Biography (Austin: U of Texas P, 1969), 206, 210-12, 230-31.

(15.) William Hickling Prescott, "Sir Walter Scott," Essays, 136-37, 142-43, 144-45.

(16.) Among others, Ticknor, Prescott, vi, 135-38, 142-43, 145-46, and Ticknor, Life, Letters and Journals (Boston: Osgood, 1876), 2:453-54.

(17.) Thierry, "Preface: Histoire de mes idees," 22, and Prescott's letter to Bancroft (1838) in Ticknor, Prescott, 389.

(18.) Ticknor, Life, Letters and Journals, 2:115-16, 124, 126, 127, 129, 133, 137, 142.

(19.) Mason Wade, Francis Parkman: Heroic Historian (Hamden: Archon Books, 1972), 289-376, passim, and Robert L. Gale, Francis Parkman (New York: Twayne, 1973), 58-59.

(20.) Hippolyte Taine, Etienne Mayran (Paris: Maren Sell, 1991), 18, 109.

(21.) Prescott, The Papers, 41, 294, 296, 351; Ticknor, Prescott, 47-48, 342-43, 345, 347-48, and Harvey Gardiner, Prescott, 31, 40.

(22.) Ticknor, Prescott, 48.

(23.) Quoted in Ticknor, Prescott, 252; von Humboldt himself underlined "seen."

(24.) Thierry, "Preface: Histoire de mes idees," 13-14, 18-19. See Jo Tollebeek and Tom Verschaffel, "The Particular Character of History: Some Remarks on an Autobiographical Fragment of Augustin Thierry," History and Memory: Studies in Representation of the Past 4.2 (1992): 69-95.

(25.) Alfred Nettement, "M. Augustin Thierry," Revue contemporaine [Contemporary Review] 2.9 (1852): 497; Charles Magnin, "Historiens modernes de la France. 1. Augustin Thierry" ["Modern Historians of France. 1. Augustin Thierry"], Revue des Deux Mondes [Journal of the Two Worlds] 1841, vol. 2, 120, and Francois Mignet, "Amedee Thierry," Nouveaux eloges historiques [New Historical Panegyrics] (Paris: Didier, 1877), 330, 341, 342, 352.

(26.) Quoted in Ticknor, Prescott, 191.

(27.) Quoted in Wade, Parkman, 310.

(28.) Charles Baudelaire, Pour Delacroix, ed. Bernadette Dubois (Brussels: Complexes, 1986), 215.

(29.) Karl Konrad Polheim, ed., Der Poesiebegriff der deutschen Romantik (Paderborn: Schoningh, 1972), 139-40.

(30.) Meyer Howard Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (London: Oxford UP, 1977), and James Engell, The Creative Imagination: Enlightenment to Romanticism (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1981).

(31.) Quoted in John Richard Watson, English Poetry of the Romantic Period (London: Longman, 1985), 12, 19.

(32.) Honore de Balzac, "La peau de chagrin," La core,die humaine [The Human Comedy], ed. Pierre Citron (Bibliotheque de la Pleiade [Library of the Pleiad]) (Paris: Gallimard, 1979), 10:52.

(33.) See William R. Paulson, Enlightenment, Romanticism and the Blind in France (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1987).

(34.) Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, Etudes ou discours historiques sur la chute de l'Empire romain, la naissance et les progres du christianisme, et l'invasion des barbares [Historical Studies or Speeches on the Fall of the Roman Empire, the Birth and Progress of Christianity, and the Invasion of the Barbarians] (Oeuvres completes) [Complete Works] (Ixelles-lez-Bruxelles: Delevingne et Callewaert, 1852), 1:92; Villemain, quoted in Augustin-Thierry, Thierry, 141-42; Magnin, "Historiens modernes," 120, and Jules Bonnet, "Quelques souvenirs sur Augustin Thierry" [Some Recollections of Augustin Thierry], Revue chretienne [Christian Review] 24 (1877): 65. Alphonse de Lamartine called Scott the "Homer of history" (Emile Legouis, "La fortune litteraire de Walter Scott en France" ["The Literary Fortune of Walter Scott in France"], Etudes anglaises [English Studies] 24 (1971): 499).

(35.) Augustin Thierry, "Sur l'esprit national des Irlandais. Fragment" ["On the National Genius of the Irish: Fragment"] and "Sur le meme sujet. Apropos des Melodies Irlandaises de Thomas Moore" ["On the Same Subject: On the Irish Melodies of Thomas Moore"], Dix ans 120-22, 123-29.

(36.) Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, 1:xii, and Prescott, The Papers, 49, 380. Also see Prescott, "Chateaubriand's English Literature," Essays, 189.

(37.) Prescott, Conquest of Peru, xxxviii-xxxix; Prescott, The Papers, 381, and Ticknor, Prescott, 196-97, 403.

(38.) Leopold yon Ranke, Das Briefwerk, ed. Walther Peter Fuchs (Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, 1949), 18, 518.

(39.) Quotations in Paul Viallaneix, La voie royale. Essai sur l'idee de peuple dans l'oeuvre de Michelet [The Royal Path: Essay on the Idea of the People in the Work of Michelet] (Paris: Delagrave, 1959), 98-101, and Paul Benichou, Le temps des prophetes. Doctrines de l'age romantique [The Age of the Prophets: Doctrines of Romanticism] (Paris: Gallimard, 1977), 528.

(40.) Jules Michelet, Journal, ed. Paul Viallaneix (Paris: Gallimard, 1959), 1:377-79. See Lionel Gossman, "History as Decipherment: Romantic Historiography and the Discovery of the Other," Between History and Literature (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1990), 257-84.

(41.) Jules Michelet, Histoire de la Revolution francaise, ed. Gerard Walter (Bibliotheque de la Pleiade) (Paris: Gallimard, 1952), 9, 13-15.

(42.) Jules Michelet, Le peuple, ed. Paul Viallaneix (Paris: Flammarion, 1974), 182-86.

(43.) Victor Hugo, Odes et Ballades - Les Orientales [Odes and Ballads - The Orientals] (Les Collections Nelson) (Paris: Nelson, s.a.), 15.

(44.) William Hickling Prescott, "Irving's Conquest of Granada," Essays, 60.

(45.) Renan, "Thierry," 106-7.

(46.) Jan Willem Hovenkamp, Merimee et la couleur locale. Contribution a l'etude de la couleur locale [Merimee and couleur locale. Contribution to the Study of couleur locale] (Nijmegen: De Phoenix, 1928), 75-78.

(47.) Alfred de Vigny, "Reflexions sur la verite dans l'art," Cinq-mars ou Une conjuration sous Louis XIII [Cinq-Mars or A Conspiracy under Louis XIII] (Paris: Levy, [1871.sup.18]), 1-10.

(48.) Quoted in Augustin-Thierry, Thierry, 233.

(49.) Among others Augustin Thierry, "Considerations sur l'histoire de France," Recits des temps merovingiens precedes de Considerations sur l'histoire de France ["Considerations on the History of France," Stories on the Merovingian Age Preceded by Considerations on the History of France] ([Oeuvres] vol. 7) (Paris: Furne, [1864.sup.8]), 95-97, 161-62, 181-82 and the letter to Guizot (1833), quoted in Augustin-Thierry, Thierry, 129.

(50.) Among others Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, 1:3; Prescott, History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain (London: Routledge, s.a.), 1:iv; William Robertson, History of the Reign of Charles the Fifth with an Account of the Emperor's Life after his Abdication by William H. Prescott (London: Routledge, s.a.), 1:v-vi and 2:427-40, and Prescott, "Chateaubriand's English Literature," 192, 195.

(51.) Prescott, The Papers, 41.

(52.) Augustin Thierry, "Sur la conquete de l'Angleterre par les Normands. A propos du roman d'Ivanhoe" ["On the Conquest of England by the Normans: Concerning the Novel of Ivanhoe"] and "Episode de l'histoire de Bretagne" ["Episode in the History of Brittany"], Dix ans, 130-37, passim and 314, and Prescott, "Chateaubriand's English Literature," 193.

(53.) Among others Augustin Thierry, "Sur le besoin d'une Histoire de France, et le principal defaut de celles qui existent" ["On the Need of a History of France, and the Main Defect of the Existing Histories"] and "Sur la fausse couleur donnee aux premiers temps de l'histoire de France, et la faussete de la methode suivie par les historiens modernes," Lettres sur l'histoire de France pour servir d'introduction l'etude de cette histoire ["On the False Colour Given to the Earliest Ages of the History of France, and the Falsity of the Method that is Followed by the Modern Historians,' Letters on the History of France Serving as an Introduction to the Study of this History] ([Oeuvres] vol. 5)(Paris: Furne, [1860.sup.11]), 17, 19, 25-33, passim.

(54.) Victor Hugo, Cromwell (Les Collections Nelson) (Paris: Nelson, s.a.), 49.

(55.) Thierry, "Preface: Histoire de mes idees," 9 and his discussion of the "use of details locaux to bring history to life" in Histoire de la Conquete de l'Angleterre par les Normands, de ses causes et de ses suites jusqu'a nos jours en Angleterre, en Ecosse, en Irlande et sur le Continent [History of the Conquest of England by the Normans, of its Causes and its Consequences up to our Days in England, Scotland, Ireland and on the Continent] ([Oeuvres] vol. 2) (Paris: Furne, [1866.sup.11]), 2:105-6, 366. See Lionel Gossman, "Augustin Thierry and Liberal Historiography," Between History and Literature, 97-98.

(56.) Charles Baudelaire, Salon de 1846, ed. David Kelley (London: Clarendon, 1975), 161-62. Also see Baudelaire, Pour Delacroix, 83-84, 150.

(57.) Thierry, "Considerations," 38.

(58.) Quoted in David Levin, History as Romantic Art: Bancroft, Prescott, Motley and Parkman (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1959), 3.

(59.) Thierry, "Preface: Histoire de mes idees," 8-9, 16 (he also spoke of the "tangibility" of history).

(60.) Among others Michelet, Le peuple, 73.

(61.) Hugo, Cromwell, 48.

(62.) Renan, "Thierry," 115. See Ezekiel 37: 1-14.

(63.) "La Princesse Belgiojoso et Augustin Thierry ["Princess Belgiojoso and Augustin Thierry"], ed. A. (Augustin-Jules-Gilbert) Augustin-Thierry, Revue des Deux Mondes 1925, vol. 29, 110 (for the "Antigone": 346), and Prescott, The Papers, 323.

(64.) Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Milton," Essays (London: Routledge, s.a.), 4.

(65.) Quoted in Benoit Peeters, Les metamorphoses de Nadar [The Metamorphosis of Nadar] (Auby-sur-Semois: Marot, 1994), 46.

(66.) This essay was originally written for the conference on "Romanticism: History, Art, Literature" (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen - The Netherlands, Rudolf Agricola Institute, 22-24 Feb. 1995) and for the colloquium on "Sichtbarkeit yon Geschichte/The Visibility of History" (Universitat Bielefeld - Germany, Zentrum fur interdisziplinare Forschung, 26-29 Sept. 1995).

Jo Tollebeek is Professor of Modern History at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He has published and edited several books on the history of European historiography in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, on Romanticism, and on the theory of history, a.o. De toga van Fruin. Denken over geschiedenis in Nederlands sinds 1860 [The Gown of Fruin: Thinking on History in the Netherlands since 1860] (1990), De ekster en de kooi. Nieuwe opstellen over de geschiedschrijving [The Magpie and the Cage: New Essays on Historiography] (1996), and in cooperation with Frank Ankersmit and Wessel Krul Romantiek en historische cultuur [Romanticism and Historical Culture] (1996).
COPYRIGHT 2000 Indiana University, Purdue University of Fort Wayne
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Article Type:Critical Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Previous Article:Public Memory, Private History: Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day.
Next Article:Hegel's Eudaemonia.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters