I feel like the Blog hub is just of my random thoughts, so here is another one.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to the lecture tomorrow so I know that I am going to have missed so much, but I hope that what i have gotten from my reading, is good enough.
I want to start off by saying that when I saw this book for the first time, I was apprehensive and nervous that it would be a boring philosophical book that I would loath, but instead I found a very well laid out, and thought provoking book.
I have discovered that I enjoyed reading books about history, not fictitious but actually examining it. Last year I read The Rape of Nanjing and all I can say is that I was blown away by it.
My one criticism with this book was that the back teaser didn’t actually describe what the book was about. Although both the Alamo and the Holocaust were aspects of this book, it was Haiti that was the prime example so I felt that should’ve been touched on. But whatever.
I think for this blog I will post some of my favorite quotes and discuss.
1) One will not castigate long-dead writers for using the words of their time or for not sharing ideological views that we now take for granted. (82)
For the last few years I have been attempting to make this argument and finally Trouillot made it clear. Oftentimes, we try to bring the past into the present, but it doesn’t work. It may still be relevant, but we shouldn’t judge the writer based on our own ideals. Take Shakespeare and how people call him anti-Semitic because of his portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Sure it is awful how Shylock is made fun or and made to be the villain, but that was the time period in which he wrote. Everyone was like that.
2) The Marseillaise was also a cry against ‘slavery’ (86)
This quote really made me think about our society and how we are all enslaved by something. Electronics, other people, ourselves. I know I am enslaved in trying to be the ‘best’ and outdoing others. I get so wrapped up in myself that i lose sight of what really matters. It also makes me think that the world will never allow us to escape the bonds of something – we will never be truly free!
3) Survivors carry history on themselves (149)
This quote is referencing the Holocaust (Shoah) and Slavery in America and instantly I thought of one of the most interesting dialogues in my favorite play The History Boys By Alan Bennet (P.S read it and be prepared to laugh, cry and die). They are having a discussion about whether the Holocaust should be taught in schools and how the extermination camps are now hosts to tourist groups and people taking group photos in front of the sleeping barracks and getting sodas next to the gas chambers and the jewish student, Posner says something along the lines that “You haven’t lost your family in it” For him, the Shoah is something very really and pertinent. He didn’t survive it, but the wounds of his family will always plague him. The teacher in response says
“But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don’t see it, and because we don’t see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian’s jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be… even on the Holocaust.”
As always, I have run out of things to discuss. I really enjoyed this book and it was very thought provoking. Looking forward to seeing what the essay topics are.
some great quotes about history to think of
1) Headmaster: There’s a vacancy in history.
Tom Irwin: [Thoughtfully] That’s very true.
Headmaster: In the school.
Tom Irwin: Ah.
2) Mrs. Lintott: History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.
3)Mrs. Lintott: The smallest of incidents… the junction of a dizzying range of alternatives… any one of which could have had a different outcome.