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The Education of Henry Adams Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Horwitz discusses Adams' ideas on history writing as found in The Education of Henry Adams.

Adams's parody of the autobiographical self resonates in his parallel genre of history-writing, and it is not accidental that the Adams persona defines the self as mistake while deciding to accept the post at Harvard. Adams's persona is a clear diminution of what E. R. A. Seligman and Charles A. Beard (both of Columbia University) called "the great man theory" of history-writing, which, along with a teleological idea of progress and a methodological confidence about identifying causes and their effects, was one of the three central premises of historical discourse at the time.

The great-man theory of history is familiar to us from traditional political history. In this model of historiography, as James Harvey Robinson (also of Columbia) wrote, the historian compiles "striking events of the past" and...

(read more from the Critical Essay #2 section)

This section contains 1,867 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
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