Quotes on History

The twilight zone that lies between memory and written history is one of the favorite breeding places of mythology.

C. Van Woodward

(1908 – 1999)

The act of forgetting, I might almost say historical error, plays a significant role in the creation of a nation and therefore advances in the field of history are often a threat to the nation.

Ernest Renan (1823 – 1892)

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)


Historians & their books


“The past is never dead. It’s not even past. All of us labor in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity and environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity. Haunted by wrong turns and roads not taken, we pursue images perceived as new but whose providence dates to the dim dramas of childhood, which are themselves but ripples of consequence echoing down the generations. The quotidian demands of life distract from this resonance of images and events, but some of us feel it always.

William Faulkner

(1897 – 1962)

History does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.

James Baldwin

(1924 – 1987)

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