On Historical Distance Mark Salber Phillips

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
23 Apr 2015
ISBN:
9780300213874
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
312 pages: 227 x 144mm
Illustrations:
10 color + 30 b-w illus.

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Conceptions of distance are foundational to historical thought, but Mark Salber Phillips gives the idea new subtlety and meaning. He argues that distance is a matter not just of time and space but also of form, affect, ideology, and understanding. In this exceptionally wide-ranging study, Phillips examines Renaissance, Enlightenment, and contemporary histories, as well as a broad spectrum of historical genres—including local history, literary history, counter-factual fiction, history painting, and museology.

On Historical Distance is a fascinating and very important book that should be read by all historians. Beautifully written in elegant, economical and engaging prose, the book wears its considerable learning very lightly. A deeply original, challenging and thought-provoking study of the evolving history of history by one of our leading historians of historiography, this book should provoke a lively debate among historians and should be assigned as essential reading for classes on historical methods and historiography.”—John Marshall, John Hopkins University

Mark Salber Phillips is professor of history at Carleton University, Ottawa.

‘Phillips’s book is undoubtedly a major contribution to intellectual history, but it is also a bracing intervention in current thinking about the nature and purpose of history’ – B.W. Young, English Historical Review


"Phillips's work, particularly Society and Sentiment, is widely cited among cultural and literary historians; this book caries his ideas to a new level and will be even more influential."—Jonathan Lamb, Vanderbilt University 


"On Historical Distance is a fascinating and very important book that should be read by all historians. . . . A deeply original, challenging and thought-provoking study of the evolving history of history by one of our leading historians of historiography, this book should provoke a lively debate among historians and should be assigned as essential reading for classes on historical methods and historiography."—John Marshall, Johns Hopkins University


 "Mark Phillips's perceptive analysis of the interplay between proximity and distance in representations of the past combines the skills of an intellectual historian with the trained sensibility of a critic of literature and art."—Peter Burke, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University


 "On Historical Distance throws into relief a feature of historical writing so fundamental that it has escaped sustained attention until now. Combining a heuristic analysis of kinds of distance with examples culled from three distinct periods, Mark Phillips also ventures into literary history and history painting. A thoughtful and original work."—Michael McKeon, Rutgers University 


Winner of the 2014 Wallace K. Ferguson Prize the best scholarly book on non-Canadian history. This award is given by the Canadian Historical Association.


“A richly nuanced analysis of how historians cope with the ‘otherness’ of the past.”—Penelope J. Corfield, American Historical Review


“Philips rejects the prevailing understanding of the concept of ‘historical distance’ as too beholden to the adage that ‘time is the teacher of truth’.”—E. A. Breisach, Choice