According to Taine, the monograph was the historian's best tool: 'He plunges it into the past like a lancet and draws it out charged with complete and authentic specimens. One understands a period after twenty or thirty such soundings.'
Thursday, June 11, 2009
From Niall Ferguson, introduction to Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, quoting Hippolyte Taine as quoted by Isaiah Berlin in "The Concept of Scientific History," in Philosophical Analysis and History, ed. Dray (hmmm, better track that one down to the source and see where the original passage can be found, this is too much of a remove!):