Hi, need to submit a 1000 words essay on the topic Is there any value in E.H. Carr’s dictum: ‘before you study the history, study the historian’.
He traced his family background through the great Whig historian, George Otto Trevelyan and by doing so he investigated the origin and development of the Whig tradition. And even though it is not the only interpretation of Queen Anne’s reign, it is a valid and, in Trevelyan’s hands, a fruitful interpretation (Trevelyan 1949).
Thus to appreciate significance of a history, the reader should know and understand what the historian is doing. Collingwood (1994) states that historians must re-enact in thought what has gone on in the mind of his dramatis personae, so the reader will also re-enact what goes on in the mind of the historian. Thus reading a work of history should be coupled with listening to what is ‘bubbly’. If one cannot detect something, there is something wrong with how the history was understood or how it was presented. The facts here were treated like fishes swimming in a vast ocean which is sometimes inaccessible to anyone. What the historian catches will depend partly on chance. His choices on what part of the ocean to fish and what equipment to use will depend on the kind of fish he wants to catch. By that, the historian will get the kind of facts he wants. Thus, history means the interpretation of the historian (Carr 1961).
Another example of how the philosophy of British historian E. H.
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