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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 5: Historical Writing Since 1945$
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Axel Schneider and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199225996.001.0001

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Epilogue: On the Current and Future State of Historical Writing

Epilogue: On the Current and Future State of Historical Writing

Chapter:
(p.678) Epilogue: On the Current and Future State of Historical Writing
Source:
The Oxford History of Historical Writing
Author(s):

Allan Megill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199225996.003.0034

This epilogue argues that historians ought to be able to produce a universal history, one that would ‘cover’ the past of humankind ‘as a whole’. However, aside from the always increasing difficulty of mastering the factual material that such an undertaking requires, there exists another difficulty: the coherence of universal history always presupposes an initial decision not to write about the human past in all its multiplicity, but to focus on one aspect of that past. Nevertheless, the lure of universal history will persist, even in the face of its practical and conceptual difficulty. Certainly, it is possible to imagine a future ideological convergence among humans that would enable them to accept, as authoritative, one history of humankind.

Keywords:   universal history, human past, historical writing

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