The second day of July1776 will be the most memorable epoch in
the history of America. It ought to be
solemnised with pomp and parade, with shows, games,
sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations
from one end of this continent to the otherfrom
this time forward, for ever more. John Adams Letter to his wife, 3 Jul, on the vote of Congress
for independence from Britain.
Shehappens tostickout a foot just as history isrushing by. Jerry Adler Of Fawn Hall, the secretary who helped Col Oliver
North to dispose of
top-secret papers,'the archetype of the Accidental Celebrity'. In
Newsweek, 9 Mar.
Happy is the country which has no history, and happier still is that
musical comedyabout which one can find nothing to say. James Agate In the Sunday Times.
In the United States today we have more than our fair share of the
nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own
Four H Clubthe hopeless, hysterical,
hypochondriacs of history. SpiroT(heodore) Agnew Of media pundits. Speech, San Diego,11
More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads.One path
leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The
other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom
to choose correctly. Woody pseudonym of Allen Stewart Konigsberg Allen Side Effects,'My Speech to the Graduates'.
The Master: records prove the title good: Yet figures fail
you, for they cannot say How many men whose
names you never knew Are proud to tell
their sons they saw you play. They share the
sunlight of your summer day Of thirty years; and
they, with you, recall How, through those
well-wrought centuries, your hand Reshaped the
history of bat and ball. Aristotle 'To John Berry Hobbs on his Seventieth Birthday'.
Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said
in the world, and thus with the history of the
human spirit. Matthew Arnold Literature and Dogma, preface.
The stars are dead. The animals will not look: We are left alone
with our day, and the time is short, and History to the
defeated May say Alas but
cannot help nor pardon. W(ystan) H(ugh) Auden Spain.
Political history isfar too criminal and pathological to be a fit subject of
study for the young.Children should acquire their
heroes and villains from fiction. W(ystan) H(ugh) Auden A Certain World.
But history, real solemn history, I cannot be interested init tells me
nothing that does not vex or weary methe men all so
good for nothing, and hardly any women at all. Jane Austen Northanger Abbey, vol.1, ch.14.
Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have
casually escaped the shipwreck of time. Francis,Viscount St Albans Bacon The Advancement of Learning, bk.2, ch.2, section1.
power to cloud men's minds must never be Baldwin forgot.Under its spell we submitted
foreight yearstothe governance of Ronald Reagan, who had
trouble distinguishing history from old movie
plots. Russell Wayne Baker
'Don't Look Back', in the NewYork Times,1 Aug.
Does history repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as
farce? No, that's too grand, too considered a
process. History just burps, and we taste again that
raw-onion sandwich it swallowed centuries ago. Julian Patrick Barnes A History of the World in101
The only real distinction at this dangerous moment in human historyand
cosmic development has nothing to do with medals and
ribbons. Not to fall asleep is distinguished.
Everything else is mere popcorn. Saul Bellow Humboldt's Gift.
History must not be written with bias, and both sides must be given, even
if there is only one side. SirJohn Betjeman First and Last Loves.
History, n. An account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which
are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and
soldiers, mostly fools. Ambrose Gwinett Bierce The Cynic's Word Book. Retitled The Devil's Dictionary
Quiza la historia universal es la historia de la diversa entonacio n de
algunas meta foras. It may be that
universal history is the history of the different
intonations given a handful of metaphors. Jorge Luis Borges Otras inquisiciones,'La esfera de Pascal'
(translated as The Fearful Sphere of
Scienceis so greatly opposed to history and tradition that it cannot be
absorbed by our civilization. Max Born My Life and Views.
English history is all about men liking their fathers, and American history is
all about men hating their fathers and trying to burn
down everything they ever did. Malcolm Stanley Bradbury Stepping Westward, bk.2, ch.5.
To be nameless in worthy deeds exceeds an infamous history Who would
not rather have been the good thief than Pilate? SirThomas Browne Hydriotaphia (Urn Burial), ch.5.
For, strictly considered, what is all knowledge too
experience, and a product of history; of which, therefore,
reasoning and belief, no less than action and passion
are essential materials? Thomas Carlyle Critical and Miscellaneous Essays,'History'.
History is the essence of innumerable biographies. Thomas Carlyle Critical and Miscellaneous Essays,'History'.
History is philosophy teaching by experience. Thomas Carlyle Critical and Miscellaneous Essays,'History'.
La historia me absolvera . History will
absolve me. Fidel Castro (Ruz) Title of propaganda pamphlet.
The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman. Willa Sibert Cather O Pioneers!, pt.1, ch.5.
The view of history that we get through the kitchen window is a more
gentle view, not of war and politics, but of familyand
communityand sharing. Julia McWilliams Child On studying cookbooks dating back to the1400s in
the Library of
Congress. In Memory and Imagination, PBS TV, 15 Aug. Chinese poet and civil servant about whom very little
is known. He wrote a series of three poems
on his separation from his wife, the result of a posting to Beijing.
The loss of India would mark and consummate the downfall of the
British Empire. That great organism would pass at a
stroke out of life into history.From such a catastrophe there
could be no recovery. Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill Speech to the Indian Empire Society, London,12 Dec.
Only thestudyof militaryhistory iscapable of giving
those who have no
experience of their own a clear picture of what I have just
called the friction of the whole machine. Karl von Clausewitz Principles of War (translated by J J Graham).
Your verdict, gentlemen, will be less upon us than upon yourselves.We
appear before you.You appear before history. Georges Clemenceau
Addressing the jury as a member of the defence at Zola's trial, 22 Feb,
following the publication of J'Accuse.
If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But
passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which
experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only
on the waves behind us! Samuel Taylor Coleridge Table Talk (published1835), entry for18 Dec.
To understand a science it is necessary to know its history. Auguste Isidore Marie Fran c° oise Comte ^4 Syste' me de politique positive (Positive
am convinced that we are going to make the whole road and put this
thing in the funny pages of the history books. John Dean Taped conversation with the President, Feb.
History never exactly repeats itself, but it does some rather good
impressions. John Dean Comparing the
presidential styles of Richard Nixon and George W Bush. Quoted in
Worse than Watergate (2004).
Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory. Benjamin, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield Disraeli Contarini Fleming, pt.1, ch.23.
Posterity will do justice to that unprincipled maniac Gladstonean
extraordinary mixture of envy, vindictiveness,
hypocrisyand superstition and with one commanding
characteristic.Whether Prime Minister or Leader of the
Opposition, whether preaching, praying, speechifying, or
scribblingneveragentleman.Heisso vain that he wants
to figure in history as the settler of all the great
questions; but a parliamentary Constitution is not favourable to
such ambitions. Things must be done by parties, not by
persons using parties as tools. Benjamin, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield Disraeli c.1874 Letter.
History is written for the victors and what they leave out is the losers. Arthur Drexler In the NewYork Review, 27 Nov.
History is the endless repetition of the wrong way of living, and it'll start
again tomorrow, if it's moved from here today. 296 Lawrence George Durrell In The Listener, 20 Apr.
If there are indeed any iron laws of history, one of them is surely that in any
major crisis of the capitalist system, a sector of the
liberal middle class will shift to the left, and then shift smartly
back again once the crisis has blown over. Terry Eagleton In the London Review of Books, 2 Dec.
History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have
exhausted all other alternatives. Abba originally Aubrey Solomon Eban Speech, London,16 Dec.
Psychology has a long past, but onlya short history. Hermann Ebbinghaus Summary of Psychology.
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history
to wait for the train of the future to run over him. Dwight D(avid) Eisenhower In Time, 6 Oct.
History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. Dwight D(avid) Eisenhower Inaugural address, 20 Jan.
The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history. George pseudonym of MaryAnn Evans Eliot The Mill on the Floss, bk.6, ch.3.
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now Eliot History has many cunning passages,
contrived corridors And issues, deceives with whispering
ambitions, Guides us by vanities. T(homas) S(tearns) Eliot
History may be servitude, History may be
freedom. T(homas) S(tearns) Eliot Four Quartets,'Little Gidding', pt.3.
people without history Is not redeemed
from time, for history is a pattern Of timeless moments. T(homas) S(tearns) Eliot Four Quartets,'Little Gidding', pt.5.
There is properly no history; only biography. RalphWaldo Emerson Essays: First Series,'History'.
To be an American (unlike being English or French or whatever) is
precisely to imagine a destiny rather than to inherit one; since
we have always been, insofaras we are Americans at all,
inhabitants of myth rather than history. Leslie A(aron) Fiedler 'Cross the BorderClose the Gap', in Playboy, Dec.
Men wiser and more learned than I have discerned in historya plot, a
rhythm, a predetermined pattern. Those harmonies are
concealed from me. I can see only one emergency following
upon another, as wave follows upon wave; only one
real fact with respect to which, since it is unique,
there can be no generalizations.Only one safe rule for
the historian: that he should recognize in the development
of human destinies the play of the contingent and the
unforeseen. H(erbert) A(lbert) L(aurens) Fisher History of Europe, introduction.
History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. Henry Ford Interview, Chicago Tribune, May.
L'histoire est condamne e, par un vice de nature, au mensonge. History is
condemned, bya defect of nature, to lies. Thibault La Vie litte raire, pt.17.
L'histoire n'est pas une science, c'est un art.Onn'y re ussit que par
l'imagination. History isnot a
science. It is an art.One can succeed in it only through the
imagination. Thibault Le Jardin d'Epicure.
History is past politics, and politics is present history. Edward Augustus Freeman Methods of Historical Study.
It does mean the end of Britain as an independent European state. It
means the end of a thousand years of history. Hugh Gaitskell On Britain joining the European Community. Labour Party conference speech,
Porque alla los espan oles y las otras nacionescomo tienen historias
divinas y humanas, saben por ellas cua ndo empezaron
a reinar sus Reyes y los ajenostodo esto y mucho ma s
saben por sus libros. Empero vosotros, que carece is de
ellos, Que memoria tene is de vuestras antiguallas?,
Quie n fue el primero de nuestros Incas? Over there
Spaniards and other nations know from their divine and human
history when their Kings and other peoples' Kings
began their reigns Their books teach them all of this,
and much more. But you, who have no books, what memories
do you have of your ancient past? Who was our
first Inca? Inca Garcilaso de laVega Comentarios reales (TheRoyal Commentaries of
Peru,1688), bk.1, ch.15.
He las! Les femmes n'ont lu que le roman de l'homme et jamais son
histoire. Alas, women have
read only the novel of mankind, not the history. The ophile Gautier Mademoiselle de Maupin.
If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during
whichthe conditionof thehumanrace was most happy and
prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name
that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the
accession of Commodus. Edward Gibbon ^88 The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
Shame of the versifying tribe! Your history whither
are you spinning? Can you do nothing
but describe? Thomas Gray A Long Story, l.17^20.
History repeats itself. Historians repeat each other. Philip Guedalla Supers and Supermen,'Some Historians'.
The Crimean War is one of the bad jokes of history. Philip Guedalla The Two Marshals.
Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have
acted, the indifference of those who should have known
better, the silence of the voice of justice when it
mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to
triumph. Haile Selassie originally Prince RasTafari Makonnen Address to a special session of the UN General
Assembly, 4 Oct, making him
the first head of state to address both that organization and the
League of Nations.
War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading. Thomas Hardy The Dynasts, pt.1, act 2, sc.5.
It would indeed be the ultimate tragedy if the history of the human race
proved to be nothing more noble than the story of an ape
playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump. William David Ormsby Gore, 5th Baron Harlech In the Christian Science Monitor, 25 Oct.
Experience and history teachthat nations and governments have
never learned anything from history, or acted
upon any lessons they might have drawn from it. Simon Heffer Lectures on the Philosophy of World History,
Mad from life's history, Glad to death's
mystery, Swift to be hurled
Out of the world! Honorius of Autun 'The Bridge of Sighs'.
Le but de l'art est presque divin: ressusciter, s'il
fait de l'histoire; cre
er, s'il fait de la poe sie. The goal of art is almost divine: to
resuscitate, if it concerns history;
to create, if it concerns poetry. Victor Marie Hugo Cromwell, pre face.
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most
important of all the lessons that history has to
teach. Aldous Leonard Huxley 'A Case of Voluntary Ignorance'.
Current nationalism is merely the affirmation of the right of colonial elites
to repeat historyand follow the road travelled by the
rich toward the universal consumption of internationally
marketed packages, a road which can ultimately lead
only to universal pollution and universal frustration. Ivan Illich Celebration of Awareness, ch.12.
The effect of boredom on a large scale in history is underestimated. It
is a main cause of revolutions, and would soon bring to
an end all the static Utopias and the farmyard
civilization of the Fabians. William Ralph Inge The End of an Age, ch.6.
What ishistory, in fact, but a kind of Newgate calendar, a register of the
crimes and miseries that man has inflicted on his fellow-man? Washington Irving A History of NewYork, bk.4, ch.1.
woman's whole life is a history of the affections. Washington Irving ^20 The Sketch Book,'The Broken Heart'.
It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature. Henry James Hawthorne, ch.1.
The great modern corporations are so similar to independent or
semi-independent states of the past that they can only be
fully understood in terms of political or constitutional
history, and management can only be properly studied as
a branch of government. SirAntony Rupert Jay Management and Machiavelli.
Man's contribution to human history is nothing more than a drop of
sperm. Jiang Qing or Chiang Ch'ing In Newsweek, 20 Feb.
The automobile is the greatest catastrophe in the entire history of City
architecture. Philip Cortelyou Johnson 'The Town and the Automobile or the Pride of Elm Street', published in
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake. James Augustine Aloysius Joyce Ulysses.
History teaches us that enmities between nationsdo not last
forever.Wemustconduct ouraffairsinsuchaway that it becomes in
the communists' interests to agree on a genuine peaceto
let each nation choose its own future, so long as
that choice does not interfere with the choices of others.
If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can
help make the world safe for diversity. John F(itzgerald) Kennedy Speech, American University, Washington DC,10 Jun.
Whether you like it not, history is on our side.We
will bury you. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev Remark to Western diplomats at the Kremlin,18 Nov. Khrushchev later
claimed that he had meant 'We will overtake you
[economically]', rather than this more sinister version.
If some countries have too much history, we have too much geography. William Lyon Mackenzie King Address to the House of Commons, Ottawa,18 Jun.
History is a tale of efforts that failedaspirations that weren't realized,
or wishes that were fulfilled and then turned out to be
different from what one expected. HenryAlfred Kissinger In the NewYork Times,13 Oct.
Painters of history make the dead live, and do not begin to
livethemselvestill theyare dead.Ipaint the living, and they make me live! Godfrey Kneller When asked why he
preferred portraits to more prestigious history scenes.
Quoted in A Cunningham The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters,
Sculptors and Architects (1829).
The most persistent sound that reverberates through men's history is
the beating of war drums. Arthur Koestler Janus; A SummingUp,'Prologue: The New Calendar',
History does not provide us with any instance of a society that
repressed the economic liberties of the Irving Kristol Hungarian-born British film producer. He worked
in Vienna, Berlin and Hollywood before coming
to Britain in the early 1930s where he founded London Film
Productions and the Denham Studios.
We declare: the genius of our days to be: trousers, jackets, shoes,
tramways, buses, aeroplanes, railways, magnificent
shipswhat an enchantmentwhat a great epoch
unrivalled in world history. 490 Mikhail Larionov 'Rayonnist Manifesto', quoted in C Gray The
Russian Experiment in Art
The Sitwellsbelong tothehistoryof publicity rather
than of poetry. F(rank) R(aymond) Leavis New Bearings in English Poetry, ch.2.
Baedeker is astonishingly enduring; travellers can use nineteenth-century
editions with confidence, providing they take some
elementary precautions. Many hotels will long since have
disappeared, and the prices will be somewhat different,
but if Baedeker says'On leaving the tunnel, the best
view is on the right', it probably still is, unless somebody has
shifted the mountain, and his descriptions of
sceneryand where to go to see it at its best are still
valid, as ispracticallyall of his potted history. (Henry) Bernard Levin Hannibal's Footsteps.
A Lady with a Lamp shall stand In the great
history of the land, A noble type of
good, Heroic womanhood. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Of Florence Nightingale.'Santa Filomena'.
History, at least in its ideal state of perfection, is a compound of poetry
and philosophy. 1st Baron 'Hallam's Constitutional History' in the Edinburgh
The history of England is emphatically the history of progress. 1st Baron 'Sir James Mackintosh's History of the Revolution
in England, in1688' in the Edinburgh Review, Jul.
The history of England is emphatically the history of progress. 1st Baron House of Commons, 22 May.
To care for the quarrels of the past, to identify oneself passionately with a
cause that became, politically speaking, a losing
cause with the birth of the modern world, is to
experience a kind of straining against reality, a rebellious
nonconformity that, again, is rare in America, where children are instructed in the virtues of the system they
live under, as though history had achieved a happy
ending in American civics. Joseph R(aymond) McCarthy Of Catholicism. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood,'To
History, like a badly constructed concert hall, has occasional dead
spots where the music can't be heard. Archibald MacLeish In the Observer,12 Feb.
Let us be frank about it. Most of our people have never had it so good.Go
around the country, go to the industrial towns,
go to the farms, and you will see a state of prosperity such
as we have never had in my lifetimenor indeed
ever in the history of this country. Stockton Speech, Bedford, 20 Jul. This is the original form
of the oft- misquoted'You never
had it so good'.
We tend to justify our actions and in a sense we color history to achieve
that objective. Robert Strange McNamara Quoted in Robert
Siegel (ed) The NPR Interviews (1994).
Ithink Isaid'All menare Jews excepttheydon't know it.'I doubt I expected
anyone to take the statement literally. But I think it's an
understandable statement and a metaphoric way of
indicating how history, sooner or later, treats all
men. Bernard Malamud 'An Interview', in L
and J Fields (eds) Bernard Malamud (1975).
History isn't through with me yet. Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Remark, quoted in Sterling Seagrave The Marcos
Thehistoryofall hithertoexisting society isthehistoryof class struggles. Karl Heinrich Marx The Communist Manifesto (with Friedrich Engels, translated by
Samuel Moore,1888), opening sentence.
Our whole history inclines us towards the democratic powers.Our
renaissance is a logical link between us and the democracies of
the west. Toma s Garrigue Masaryk Inaugural address, 23 Dec.
L'histoire, cette vieille dame exalte e et menteuse. History, this old,
honoured and lying woman. Guy de Maupassant Sur l'eau.
Roosevelt will probably go down into American history as a great hero. It
is one of our Heavenly Father's characteristic
jokes upon the American people, and in the usual bad taste.
H(enry) L(ouis) Mencken Journal entry. Collected in The Diary of H. L.
Hiswhole carcassseemedtobemade of iron.There was no give in himno
bounce, no softness. He sailed through American
history like a steel ship loaded with monoliths made of
granite. H(enry) L(ouis) Mencken Of President Grover
Cleveland. Quoted in Fred Hobson Mencken: A Life
It would be a curious reading of the history of thought to suggest that the
absence of disagreement testifies to a developing discipline.
Robert King Merton Defending internal disputes among sociologists.'Now
the Case for
Sociology', in the NewYork Times Magazine,16 Jul.
History is the myth, the true myth, of man's fall made manifest in time. Henry Valentine Miller Plexus, ch.12.
No social study that does not come back to the problems of
biography, of history and of their intersections
within a society has completed its intellectual
journey. C(harles) Wright Mills The Sociological Imagination, ch.1.
La Historia no se detiene nunca. D|a y noche su marcha es incesante.
Querer detenerla ser|a como querer detener la
Geograf|a. History never
stops. It progresses ceaselessly day and night. Trying to
stop it is like trying to stop Geography. Augusto Monterroso
Lo dema s es silencio ('The Rest is Silence'),'Aforismos, dichos, etc'.
All that I know of our historyand thehistoryof the Indian Ocean I have got
from books written by Europeans Without Europeans,
I feel, all our past would have been washed away, like
the scuff marks of fishermen on the beach. Sir V(idiadhar) S(urajprasad) Naipaul A Bend in the River, ch.1,'The Second Rebellion'.
Who owns history? The public servants who make it, or the people who hire
them and to whom they are accountable? NewYorkTimes 'Who Owns History?', editorial,19 Nov.
When it comes to the final judgements on political conduct, history is
not merciful. It is just. NewYorkTimes 'Justice and Mercy in Arkansas', editorial,17 Dec.
Today, children,Iam going totell you about thehistoryof Mr.Blackmaninthreesentences.Inthebeginning
hehad the land and the
mind and the soul together.On the secondday, they
took thebodyaway tobarter itforsilver coins.On the third
day, seeing that he was still fighting back, they brought
priests and educators to bind his mind and soul so
that these foreigners could more easily take his land and
produce. Ngu‹ u g|‹ waThiong'o originally James Nguu‹ g|‹ Petals of Blood, ch.8.
We dislike the IRA, most of us, and fear it.We are a peaceful and
democratic people.But our history, our idealistic
pretensions and our fatal ambivalence have stuck us with an
ideology that is warlike and anti- democratic, and
calls increasingly for further human sacrifice. Joyce Carol Oates In the NewYork Review of Books, 29 Apr.
Of historyand its consequences it may be said:
'Those who can, gloat;
those who can't, brood.' Englishmen are born gloaters;
Irishmen born brooders. There are, it is true, brooders who
take to gloating, and they did much to build the
Empire.Yet the brooder-gloater, such as the Irishman turned
Englishman, is not, as a human type, altogether a
success. He is a little too much on his guard, like an
excessivelyassimilated Jew, or a son of Harlem who has decided
to'pass'. The past of the Irishman, the Jew, the Negro, is,
psychologically, too explosive to be buried. Cruise To Katanga and Back: a UN case history.
The best thing about the violence in Northern Ireland is that it's all so
ancient and honorable The Irish are in the same terrific
position as the Shiites in Lebanon, the peasants in El Salvador,
the blacks in America, the Jews in Palestine, the
Palestinians in Israel (and everybody everywhere, if you
read your history)enough barbarism has been
visited on the Irish to excuse all barbarities by the
Irish barbarians. P(atrick) J(ake) O'Rourke Holidays in Hell.
The more you look back into English history, the more you are forced to
the conclusion that alongside civility and the deeply held
convictions about individual rights, the English have a
natural taste for disorder. Anna Pavlova The English: A Portrait of a People.
every fact, every present or past phenomenon of [the] universe,
every phase of present or past lifetherein, has been examined,
classified, and coordinatedwith the rest,
thenthemissionof sciencewill be completed.What isthisbut saying
thatthetaskof science canneverend till man ceases to be,
till history is no longer made, and development itself
ceases? Karl Pearson The Grammar of Science, pt.1, ch.5.
Sencillamente se me ocurre que la parodia se ha desplazado y hoy
invade los gestos, las acciones. Donde antes hab|a
acontecimientos, experiencias, pasiones, hoy quedan so lo
parodias. Eso trataba a veces de decirle a Marcelo en mis
cartas: que la parodia ha sustitutido por completo a la
historia. It's simply that I
believe that parody has been displaced and that it now
invades all gestures and actions.Where there used to be
events, experiences, passions, now there are nothing
but parodies. This is what I tried to tell Marcelo so many
times in my letters: that parody had completely replaced
history. Ricardo Piglia Respiracio n artificial, pt.2, ch.4 (translated
as Artificial Respiration,1994).
There is no history of mankind, there are only many histories of all
kinds of aspects of human life. And one of these is the
history of political power. This is elevated into the history of
the world. Sir Karl Raimund Popper The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol.2, ch.25.
Thehistoryof science, likethehistoryof all humanideas, is a history of
irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, and of error. But science
is one of the very few human activitiesperhaps
the only onein which errors are systematically
criticized and fairly often, in time, corrected. This is
why we can say that, in science, we often learn from
our mistakes, and why we can speak clearly and sensibly
about making progress there. Sir Karl Raimund Popper Conjectures and Refutations (published1963), ch.10.
History is littered with the wars which everybody knew would never happen.
(John) Enoch Powell Speech to Conservative Party conference,19 Oct.
The poet is a master of the quotidian, of conveying a whole history in
two or three lines that point to an exact past drama and
intensifya future one. Sir V(ictor) S(awdon) Pritchett The Myth Makers,'Borges'.
The entirehistoryof scienceisa progressionofexploded fallacies, not of
achievements. 678 Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged.
We make historyand changing it is within our power. Ronald Wilson Reagan On welcoming Soviet premier Mikhail S Gorbachev to
the White House, 8 Dec.
The whole ofcontemporary history, theWorld Wars, the War of Dreams, the
Man on the Moon, science, literature,
philosophy, the pursuit of knowledgewas no more than a
blink of the Earth Woman's eye. 701 Arundhati Roy The God of SmallThings.
The remarkable legion of the unremarked, whose individual opinions
are not colorful or different enough to make news, but
whose collective opinion, when crystallized, can
make history. William Safire Of the so-called'silent majority'. Safire's New
The people of Crete unfortunately make more history than they can
consume locally. Saki pseudonym of Hector Hugh Munro The Chronicles of Clovis,'TheJesting of Arlington Stringham'.
In America journalism is apt to be regarded as an extension of
history: in Britain, as an extension of conversation. Anthony (Terrell Seward) Sampson TheAnatomy of BritainToday, ch.9.
Hansard is history's ear, already listening. Herbert Louis, 1st Viscount Samuel Samuel House of Lords, Dec.
DefinitionScience is systematized positive knowledge, what has
been taken as such in different ages and in
different places. TheoremThe acquisition and systematization
of positive knowledge are the only human activities
which are truly cumulative and progressive.CorollaryThe
history of science is the only history which
can illustrate the progress of mankind. In fact,
progress has no definite and unquestionable
meaning in other fields than the field of science. George A Sarton The Study of the History of Science.
And what is time but shadows that were cast By these
storm-sculptured stones while centuries fled? The stones remain;
their stillness can outlast The skies of
history hurrying overhead. Siegfried Louvain Sassoon The Heart'sJourney, pt.9,'What is Stonehenge? It
is the roofless past'.
Hidden in wonder and snow, or sudden with summer, This land stares at
the sun in a huge silence Endlessly repeating
something we cannot hear. Inarticulate,
arctic, Not written on by
history, emptyas paper, It leans away from
the world with songs in its lakes Older than love,
and lost in the miles. 722 F(rancis) R(eginald) Scott Of Canada.'Laurentian Shield'.
'I can't believe it! What will History say?' 'History, sir, will
tell lies as usual.' George Bernard Shaw Major Swindon and Gen Burgoyne. The Devil's
Disciple, act 3.
Stella, think not that I by verse seek fame; Who seek, who hope,
who love, who live, but thee: Thine eyes my
pride, thy lips my history; If thou praise not,
all other praise is shame. Nevil originally Nevil Shute Norway Shute Astrophel and Stella, sonnet 90.
The white race is the cancer of human history, it is the white race, and it
aloneits ideologies and inventionswhich
eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it
spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the
planet, which now threatens the very existence of life
itself. Susan Sontag In Partisan Review,Winter.
History shows that there are no invincible armies. Joseph originally Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili Stalin Radio broadcast, 3 Jul, announcing the declaration
of war against Germany,
three weeks before Hitler invaded.
The question of how to apply social theory to historical materials, as it is
usually posed, is ridiculous.One does not apply theory to
history; rather one uses history to develop theory. Arthur S Stinchcombe Theoretical Methods in Social History, p.1.
The historyof theVictorian age will never be written: we know too much about
it. For ignorance is the first requisite of the
historianignorance, which simplifies and clarifies,
which selects and omits, with a placid perfection
unattainable by the highest art. (Giles) Lytton Strachey EminentVictorians, preface.
Life is one-tenth Here and Now, nine-tenths a history lesson. For most of
the time the Here and Now is neither now nor here. Graham Swift Waterland, ch.8.
Human blunders usually do more to shape history than human wickedness. A(lan) J(ohn) P(ercivale) Taylor The Origins of the SecondWorldWar.
Like most of those who study history, Napoleon learned from the mistakes
of the past how to make new ones. A(lan) J(ohn) P(ercivale) Taylor BBC radio broadcast, 6 Jun.
thicker and thicker as it approaches recent times. A(lan) J(ohn) P(ercivale) Taylor English History1914^1945.
Unless we change our ways and our direction, our greatness as a
nation will soon be a footnote in the history books, a
distant memory of an offshore island, lost in the mist of
time like Camelot, remembered kindly for its noble past.
Margaret HildaThatcher, Baroness Thatcher General election campaign speech, Bolton, 2 May.
History is hard to knowbutit seems entirely reasonable to think
that every now and then the energy of a whole
generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons
that nobody really understands at the timeand which
never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened. Hunter S(tockton) Thompson Fear and Loathing in LasVegas, ch.8.
Twickenham is one of those happy places which is not burdened with a
history. 858 James Thorne Handbook to the Environs of London.
But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have
done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect
its presence.I much prefer history, true or feigned, with
its varied applicability to the thought and experience of
readers. J(ohn) R(onald) R(euel) Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring, foreword.
I am convinced that the history of so-called scientific work in our famous
centers of European civilization will, in a couple of
hundred years, represent an inexhaustible source of laughter
and sorrow for future generations. The learned men of
the small western part of our European continent
lived for several centuries under the illusionthatthe
eternal blessed life wastheWest'sfuture. They were
interested in the problem of when and where this blessed life
would come.But they never thought of how they were going
to make their life better. Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy What is Art? (translated byV Tchertkoff).
Her logic was a combination of half-truths and cliche s, her worldviewa
compound of misconceptions deriving from a history of
our nation as written from the perspective of a
subway tunnel. John Kennedy Toole A Confederacy of
Dunces (published1980), ch.5, pt.3.
You have played out your role.Go where you belong: to the dustheap of
history. Leon originally Lev Davidovich Bronstein Trotsky To the Mensheviks, at the first Congress of Soviets
October Revolution. Quoted in A J P Taylor From the BoerWar to the
ColdWar: Essays onTwentieth-Century Europe (1995), p.271.
En effet, l'histoire n'est que le tableau des crimes et des malheurs. In fact, history is
nothing but a tableau of crimes and misfortunes. Voltaire pseudonym of Fran c° ois Marie Arouet L'Inge nu, ch.10.
But we live like our names and you would have to be colonial to
know the difference, to know the pain of
history words contain. Derek Alton Walcott The Star-Apple Kingdom,'The Schooner Flight', pt.6.
History's nostalgia, it prefers a thatched roof to a concrete
factory, and the huge church above a bleached
village. Derek Alton Walcott Omeros, bk.6, ch.45, section 2.
The fate of poetry isto fall in love with the world, in spite of History. Derek Alton Walcott In the NewYorkTimes, 8 Dec.
'I often think,' he continued,'that we can trace almost all the disasters of
English history to the influence of Wales!' Evelyn Arthur StJohn Waugh Decline and Fall, pt.1, ch.8.
No philosopher now looks for anything but the gradual evolutionoftheneworder
fromtheoldHistoryshows us no example of
the sudden substitutions of Utopian and revolutionary
romance. SidneyJames Webb Fabian Essays.
The history of a battle is not unlike the history of a ball. Some individuals
may recollect all the little events of which the great
result is the battle won or lost; but no individual can
recollect the order in which, or the exact moment at which,
they occurred, which makes all the difference. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington Of the Battle of Waterloo. Letter, 8 Aug.
Humanhistory becomesmoreand morea racebetween education and
catastrophe. H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells The Outline of History, vol.2, ch.41.
Now it is on the whole more convenient to keep history and theology apart.
H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells A Short History of theWorld, ch.37.
There is no history of artthere is the history of artists. Marianne Werefkin Lettres a' un Inconnu (1901^05).Translated by
Mara R Witzling (ed)
inVoicing OurVisions:Writings byWomen Artists (1992).
The epitaph on the Kennedyadministration became Camelota magic
moment in American history, when gallant men danced
with beautiful women, when great deeds were done,
when artists, writers and poets met at the White House and
the barbarians beyond the walls were held back. Theodore H(arold) White In Search of History.
The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it. Oscar Fingal O'FlahertieWills Wilde Intentions,'The Critic as Artist'.
The main essentials of a successful Prime Minister are sleep and a sense
of history. (James) Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx The Governance of Britain.
My war history has been a simple one. I have just sat in my chair and
written all the time. Plum Letter to Ira Gershwin, 24 Jan.