Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Metahistory
Cover image of Metahistory
Share this Title:

Metahistory

The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe

Hayden White
with a new preface
foreword by Michael S. Roth

Fortieth Anniversary Edition
Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

This penetrating analysis of eight classic nineteenth-century thinkers explains how historians use literary techniques to write sophisticated historical works.

Since its initial publication in 1973, Hayden White's Metahistory has remained an essential book for understanding the nature of historical writing. In this classic work, White argues that a deep structural content lies beyond the surface level of historical texts. This latent poetic and linguistic content—which White dubs the "metahistorical element"—essentially serves as a paradigm for what an "appropriate" historical explanation…

This penetrating analysis of eight classic nineteenth-century thinkers explains how historians use literary techniques to write sophisticated historical works.

Since its initial publication in 1973, Hayden White's Metahistory has remained an essential book for understanding the nature of historical writing. In this classic work, White argues that a deep structural content lies beyond the surface level of historical texts. This latent poetic and linguistic content—which White dubs the "metahistorical element"—essentially serves as a paradigm for what an "appropriate" historical explanation should be.

To support his thesis, White analyzes the complex writing styles of historians like Michelet, Ranke, Tocqueville, and Burckhardt, and philosophers of history such as Marx, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Croce. The first work in the history of historiography to concentrate on historical writing as writing, Metahistory sets out to deprive history of its status as a bedrock of factual truth, to redeem narrative as the substance of historicality, and to identify the extent to which any distinction between history and ideology on the basis of the presumed scientificity of the former is spurious.

This fortieth-anniversary edition includes a new preface in which White explains his motivation for writing Metahistory and discusses how reactions to the book informed his later writing. In a new foreword, Michael S. Roth, a former student of White's and the current president of Wesleyan University, reflects on the significance of the book across a broad range of fields, including history, literary theory, and philosophy. This book will be of interest to anyone—in any discipline—who takes the past as a serious object of study.

Jump to
Quick Add
Metahistory

Hayden White
with a new preface
foreword by Michael S. Roth

Fortieth Anniversary Edition
Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Preorder
Cover image of Replayed
Replayed

Henry Lowood
edited by Raiford Guins

$50.00
Quick Add
Replayed

Henry Lowood
edited by Raiford Guins

Publication Date: June 6, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of Making Machines of Animals
Making Machines of Animals

Neal A. Knapp

$60.00
Quick Add
Making Machines of Animals

Neal A. Knapp

Publication Date: May 9, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of A Centaur in London
A Centaur in London

Fabian Kraemer

$60.00
Quick Add
A Centaur in London

Fabian Kraemer

Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of The Interlopers
The Interlopers

Vera Keller

$60.00
Quick Add
The Interlopers

Vera Keller

Publication Date: April 18, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture

edited by David A. Brewer and Crystal B. Lake

Volume
Volume 52
$50.00
Quick Add
Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture

edited by David A. Brewer and Crystal B. Lake

Volume
Volume 52
Publication Date: April 11, 2023
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

... seminal...

Metahistory is something more than a study of philosophies of history (although it is that too, and no doubt the most important work in the field since Collingwood): it is also a methodological manifesto, a more sustained argument for a deep-figural hermeneutic than has been worked out anywhere before now.

This is a daring, ingenious... tour de force. White has produced a profoundly original 'critique of historical reason.'

A book that will simply have to be reckoned with by all historians who have the slightest interest in the genesis and forms of historical narrative.

About

Book Details

Table of Contents

Foreword, "All You've Got Is History," by Michael S. Roth
Preface to the Fortieth-Anniversary Edition
Preface
Introduction. The Poetics of History
Part One: The Received Tradition
1. The Historical

Foreword, "All You've Got Is History," by Michael S. Roth
Preface to the Fortieth-Anniversary Edition
Preface
Introduction. The Poetics of History
Part One: The Received Tradition
1. The Historical Imagination between Metaphor and Irony
2. Hegel
Part Two: Four Kinds of "Realism" in Nineteenth-Century Historical Writing
3. Michelet
4. Ranke
5. Tocqueville
6. Burckhardt
Part Three: The Repudiation of "Realism" in Late Nineteenth-Century Philosophy of History
7. Historical Consciousness and the Rebirth of Philosophy of History
8. Marx
9. Nietzsche
10. Croce
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Hayden White

Hayden White is professor emeritus of the histories of consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of a number of books published by Johns Hopkins, including Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation, and Figural Realism: Studies in the Mimesis Effect.