Meaning, truth, and reference in historical representation
Co-edition with Cornell University Press. Selling rights for Europe
A powerful and provocative contribution to the debate about the nature of historical writing
Frank Ankersmit is the author of many books and essays on the theory of history. In this original work, he provides, for the first time, a systematic account of his understanding of the nature of historical writing. This rehabilitation of historicism will surprise many, as will the way in which Ankersmit goes about it.
Ankersmit argues that the historicist account of historical writing (from Herder, via Ranke and Humboldt, to Dilthey) is correct but needs to be translated from its original romanticist vocabulary into a more modern philosophical idiom. This translation, he maintains, 'reveals the basic truths about the nature of the past itself, how we relate to it, and how we make sense of the past in historical writing.'