The art historians are the real wreckers of art, Reger said. The art historians twaddle so long about art until they have killed it with their twaddle. Art is killed by the twaddle of the art historians. My God, I often think, sitting here on the settee while the art historians are driving their helpless flocks past me, what a pity about all these people who have all art driven out of them, driven out of them for good, by these very art historians. The art historians' trade is the vilest trade there is, and a twaddling art historian, but then there are only twaddling art historians, deserves to be chased out with a whip, chased out of the world of art, Reger said, all art historians deserve to be chased out of the world of art, because art historians are the real wreckers of art and we should not allow art to be wrecked by the art historians who are really art wreckers. Listening to an art historian we feel sick, he said, by listening to an art historian we see the art he is twaddling about being ruined, with the twaddle of the art historian art shrivels and is ruined. Thousands, indeed tens of thousands of art historians wreck art by their twaddle and ruin it, he said. The art historians are the real killers of art, if we listen to an art historian we participate in the wrecking of art, wherever an art historian appears art is wrecked, that is the truth.
What was, was. The past defines itself. Historians refuse to accept that definition & instead superimpose their analysis of the past through the eyes of the present. Thus, history becomes a pale reflection of the present, while the true past is lost behind the reflected image presented by historians who would have us see what they believe, rather than what was.
L.E. Modesitt Jr.
I have a hard time with historians because they idolize the truth. The truth is not uplifting; it destroys. I could tell most of the secretaries in the church office building that they are ugly and fat. That would be the truth, but it would hurt and destroy them. Historians should tell only that part of the truth that is inspiring and uplifting.
Boyd K. Packer
If physicists could not quote in the text, they would not feel that much was lost with respect to advancement of knowledge of the natural world. If historians could not quote, they would deem it a disastrous impediment to the communication of knowledge about the past. A luxury for physicists, quotation is a necessity for historians, indispensable to historiography.
J. H. Hexter
Our American past always speaks to us with two voices: the voice of the past, and the voice of the present. We are always asking two quite different questions. Historians reading the words of John Winthrop usually ask, What did they mean to him? Citizens ask, What do they mean to us? Historians are trained to seek the original meaning; all of us want to know the present meaning.
Daniel J. Boorstin
Modern history, both early and late, was made by Europeans, who "built a world around Europe", as historians "know", according to Braudel. That is indeed the "knowledge" of the European historians who themselves "invented" history and then put it to good use. There is not even an inkling of suspicion that it may have been the other way around, that maybe it was the world that made Europe.
Andre Gunder Frank
That historians should give their own country a break, I grant you; but not so as to state things contrary to fact. For there are plenty of mistakes made by writers out of ignorance, and which any man finds it difficult to avoid. But if we knowingly write what is false, whether for the sake of our country or our friends or just to be pleasant, what difference is there between us and hack writers? Readers should be very attentive to and critical of historians, and they in turn should be constantly on their guard.
Historians of a generation ago were often shocked by the violence with which scientists rejected the history of their own subject as irrelevant; they could not understand how the members of any academic profession could fail to be intrigued by the study of their own cultural heritage. What these historians did not grasp was that scientists will welcome the history of science only when it has been demonstrated that this discipline can add to our understanding of science itself and thus help to produce, in some sense, better scientists.
I. Bernard Cohen
Two main groups like to drop the readymade bomb""galleries and art historians. Galleries love to drop the Duchamp brand because dealers can try to convince clients of an artist's worth just by mentioning the mouthwatering response readymade. Most Art Historians aren't interested in what artists are making in Bushwick studios, most of whom rarely wake up with Duchamp on the brain.
What the art historians had forgotten is that in Chinese, Japanese, Persian, and Indian art, they never painted shadows. Why did they paint shadows in European art? Shadows are because of optics. Optics need shadows and strong light. Strong light makes the deepest shadows. It took me a few years to realize fully that the art historians didn't grasp that. There are a lot of interesting new things, ideas, pictures.
Our task as historians is to make past conflicts live again; not to lament the verdict or to wish for a different one. It bewildered me when my old master A. F. Pribram, a very great historian, said in the nineteen-thirties: 'It is still not decided whether the Habsburg monarchy could have found a solution for its national problems.' How can we decide about something that did not happen? Heaven knows, we have difficulty enough in deciding what did happen. Events decided that the Habsburgs had not found a solution for their national problems; that is all we know or need to know. Whenever I read the phrase: 'whether so-and-so acted rightly must be left for historians to decide', I close the book; the writer has moved from history to make-believe.
As to the ancient historians, from Herodotus to Tacitus, we credit them as far as they relate things probable and credible, and no further: for if we do, we must believe the two miracles which Tacitus relates were performed by Vespasian, that of curing a lame man, and a blind man, in just the same manner as the same things are told of Jesus Christ by his historians. We must also believe the miracles cited by Josephus, that of the sea of Pamphilia opening to let Alexander and his army pass, as is related of the Red Sea in Exodus. These miracles are quite as well authenticated as the Bible miracles, and yet we do not believe them; consequently the degree of evidence necessary to establish our belief of things naturally incredible, whether in the Bible or elsewhere, is far greater than that which obtains our belief to natural and probable things.