July 12, 1928 |
University of Michigan
Roland Barthes, William J. Bossenbrook,
Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe
Hayden White (born July 12, 1928) is a
historian in the tradition of
literary criticism, perhaps most famous for his work
Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (1973/2014). He claims that the manifest historical text is marked by strategies of explanation, which include explanation by argument, explanation by emplotment, and explanation by ideological implication.
 He has argued that historical writing is influenced by literary writing in many ways, sharing the strong reliance on narrative for meaning, therefore eliminating the possibility of objective or truly scientific history.
 White has also argued, however, that history is most successful when it uses this "narrativity", since it is what allows history to be meaningful.
 He is currently a
professor emeritus of the
University of California, Santa Cruz, having retired recently from the job of Professor of
comparative literature at