Figural Realism: Studies in the Mimesis Effect

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9780801865244: Figural Realism: Studies in the Mimesis Effect

In his earlier books such as Tropics of Discourse and The Content of the Form, Hayden White focused on the conventions of historical writing and on the ordering of historical consciousness. In Figural Realism, White collects eight interrelated essays primarily concerned with the treatment of history in recent literary critical discourse. "'History' is not only an object we can study," writes White, "it is also and even primarily a certain kind of relationship to 'the past' mediated by a distinctive kind of written discourse. It is because historical discourse is actualized in its culturally significant form as a specific kind of writing that we may consider the relevance of literary theory to both the theory and the practice of historiography."

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About the Author:

Hayden White is professor emeritus of the history of consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His books include Metahistory, Tropics of Discourse, and The Content of the Form, all available from Johns Hopkins.

Review:

"[White] is a master of critical and provocative thought... Figural Realism... deserves to be read by historians in search of rejuvenating a sense of theoretical enlightenment."

(Johan W. N. Tempelhoff H-Ideas, H-Net Reviews)

" A collection of essays by one who has arguably changed the course of historiography in the past twenty years... Any serious historian will need to engage the issues and answers that White raises."

(Fred W. Burnett Religious Studies Review)

"[A] fascinating meditation on modernism or, more accurately, the effects of modernism... In this book, White confirms that he remains an active and important thinker."

(David W. Price Southern Humanities Review)

"White lays out his arguments with a clarity and rigor that few can match."

(Choice)

"Of all the writers on subjects connected to tropology, White is surely the best at making the complex both engaging and approachable. This is an important book."

(James M. Mellard, Northern Illinois University)

"Hayden White... is the most prominent American scholar to unite historiography and literary criticism into a broader reflection on narrative and cultural understanding."

(The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism)

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