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Truth And Fiction

May 2024
1min read


As one historian precisely stated it, “Too often the savor of drama, the sense of reliving the past, the communicable thrill of a story to tell, is buried under the accretion of data. Yet history is inevitably dramatic. The very word comes from the same root as ‘story'; narration is of the essence.” This appeared nearly four decades ago in your publication, written by Dixon Wecter in his blast of fresh air titled “History and How to Write It.” As an amateur historian, I find that portions of his thoughts still make the hair on my neck stand up in excitement:

“To say also that the chronicle of great events calls for a touch of poetry is not to call down upon us showers of cadenced prose and purple passages, beloved of the swashbucklers and patrioteers. It means that powers of symmetry, proportion, aesthetic design, controlled emotion, even a knack of playfulness, and at high moments a certain unforced eloquence can be summoned into the service of truth.”

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