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Why Romantic historians acknowledge the human feelings behind the facts

Following the Age of Enlightenment’s emphasis on empiricism, Romantic historians such as the French writers Augustin Thierry (1795-1856) and Jules Michelet (1798-1874) viewed human emotion as vital to – and inexorably part of – constructing meaningful renderings of history. This piece from the UK video essayist Lewis Waller offers a brief intellectual history at the nexus of Romanticism and historiography. From there, Waller makes the case that, by rejecting the possibility of objective detachment from historical facts and embracing feelings and narrativisation, these Romantic thinkers built more ‘truthful’ histories than empiricists.

Video by Then & Now

Director: Lewis Waller

8 May 2020

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