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Francis Marie Arouet Past And Present

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Francis Marie Arouet better known by his pen name Voltaire was a French philosopher and writer of the age of Enlightenment. The age of Enlightenment marks that time in Europe dominated by the explosion of scientific and philosophical activity challenging traditional convictions and teachings. He played an enormous influence on the development of historiography through his demonstration of fresh new ways to look at the past. He was the first scholar to make a serious attempt to write the history of the world discarding theological frameworks and emphasizing culture and theological frameworks. Thus he is considered as one of the most brilliant literary geniuses of his time. His famous quote ‘history is a lie commonly agreed upon’ donates the…show more content…
The most agreed upon definition is that it is merely a study of past events. however it should be noted that the past and history are two very diverse terminologies.the past has occurred.it is gone,there is no way of bringing it back. Cs lewis defines ‘the past’ in terms of a metopher. “The past . . . in its reality, was a roaring cataract of billions upon billions of such moments: any one of them too complex to grasp in its entirety, and the aggregate beyond all imagination. By far the greater part of this teeming reality escaped human consciousness almost as soon as it occurred. None of us could at this moment give anything like a full account of his own life for the last twenty-four hours. We have already forgotten; even if we remembered, we have not time. The new moments are upon us. At every tick of the clock, in every inhabited part of the world, an unimaginable richness and variety of “history” falls off the world into total oblivion’’.what lewis wants us to understand is that we use the this term far too lighly,failing to understand what this it actually encompasses and there is no way of grasping the nearly limitless scope of the past.history refers not only to the past but also what historians make of it,it is tentative and constructed by historians working under all kinds of presumptions and pressures which did not of course, operate on people in the…show more content…
Thus there are many limitations to the knowledge claims that historians can make. secondly no account can recover the past as it was a series of events, situations, etc. there is no proper account to judge for the accuracy except for comparing it with other historians’ interpretations. No matter how widely acceptable or checkable an account is history remains inevitably a personal construct, a manifestation of the historian’s perspective as a ‘narrator’. Different historians will interpret an event according to his/her own perspective. They would want the readers to see it through their eyes and voice and construct opinions according to their own beliefs. Since very human being thinks and interprets a subject differently there is a high possibility that very historical account on the same subject will vary. There can be thousands of interpretaions and it is highly likely that neither one of them is correct. For example some historians argue that queen Victoria was the greatest ruler of great britain while others disagree with this claim, since everyone is entitled to their own opinion and have their own reasons and motives for a particular assertion. Another problem that also weakens history is hindsight which means that sometimes we know more about the past
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