Workshop on History as Decipherment: Romantic Historiography and the Discovery of the Other

Lionel Gossman, Princeton University
Lionel Gossman, Princeton University
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Other Renaissance Programs
Wednesday, January 9, 1985 to Thursday, January 10, 1985

Directed by Lionel Gossman, Princeton University (now emeritus)

In the early years of the nineteenth century, history redefined its objective as the restoration of broken continuities and the rediscovery of a past that traditional historiography, official historiography, and even the historiography of the Enlightenment had suppressed. Along with their purpose and their subject matter, historians altered their mode of narration, the audience they addressed, and their relation to the latter—their conception of their role.

In a lecture on January 9, Professor Gossman redescribed this fairly well-known shift in the theory and practice of historiography to explore some of its suppoitions, implications, and philosophical underpinnings, and at the same time pointed to a dilemma that may have been inherent in the act of unveiling, interpreting, and serving as spokesman of the forgotten and the oppressed—”lending a voice to history’s silences,” in Jules Michelet’s words.

On January 10, Professor Gossman led a workshop focusing on Michelet’s Introduction à l’histoire universelle.

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