As the article states, this question categorises people into three respondents. “Of course it is, historians create histories from the perspectives of their own time and place’, Secondly, the view that ‘history is not fiction, history is history and fiction is fiction’ and the third, the largest group, of those who ‘sit on the fence’ in the situation. I believe that the question ‘is history fiction?’ is a question that well and truly predates any challenge to traditional history from postmodernism.
Historians always attempt to be objective, however, the context of the historian influences their perspective on the interpretation of history. Historians context; their individual and personal belief systems determine what historians see as fact and what as fiction, “we must tell what we find.”
Windschuttle’s critics were harsh, viewing his empirical methodology as flawed. Yet, if his findings are based on his belief system, can that validate the empiricism of ‘his history’? Of course, as truth is relative, this would not seem true. We could come to the conclusion of Windschuttle deliberately misrepresenting the past. Historians are not and have never been united about how history ought to be written. But we could argue that Windschuttle was merely representing the current truth and truth as he knows due to his circumstances. This oversupply of information has created many interpretations of our written history.
With this in mind, interpretations of history suggest history is fiction. If historians can’t tell the truth, then can there be a history at all ? Hayden white suggests that history presents the results of its enquires, its research, as a narrative, and so history necessary falls as a literary form. Although these interpretations of their history can be perceived as the truth. It is only seen from one view of the event/history. Which inevitably could, not be accurate, bias or even invented. Therefore, histories of the same events are rewritten over and over again based on their perspective of the event and are thus taken into a literary form.
Another question posed is the question of the use of metaphoric writing. Both Ankersmit, and
Kellner, deny that metaphorical descriptions can be true. Both regard them as conceptual took for creating order out of the profusion of particular facts about the past, an order which does not represent any reality but is construction expressing the historians cont of view. Ankersmit concludes that metaphorical interpretations of the past ‘are not descriptions but proposals’ that the past be viewed a certain way, and ‘proposals… according to their nature can never be empirically
true or false’ Similarly, Kellner adopts the view that ‘history is not “about” the past as such, but rather about our ways of creating meanings from the scattered, and profoundly meaningless debris we find around is’ Again he says: ‘Historians do not “find” the truths of past events; they create events from a seamless flow, and invent meanings that produce patterns within that flow’
For the materialistic, the past is never reducible to mere speech: it is not a question of representing the past ‘in a convincing narrative’. Marx explains and criticises that there is an difference…