Barbra Tuchman’s definition of history struck me as beautifully romantic. Her emphasis on the story, the narrative, the personal effect history can have on an individual in my mind rang true to the core. Her story regarding her time spent writing her first thesis struck a particular chord. Immersed in literature, Tuchman almost literally had history flow through her as she wrote; it seemed to act as her muse. Her tale, unlike Edward Carr’s, deals with a more scientific and concrete interpretation of the subject. He speaks of a continuous process, a process built upon interaction between historian and facts; a historical dialogue between past and present.
History to me, much like Tuchman, is all about the story. I can remember back to my youth and listening to my father tell me stories about King Arthur and his knights of the round table or being captivated by tales of the adventures of Robin Hood made me curious about the subject. My thirst for knowledge about history came primarily from those stories, and as I grew older and began to read on my own, I found that reality was even more fascinating than the fantasies my father had told me. I was captivated by the lives of people such as Richard the Lionheart, Harold of Essex, Henry V, and other medieval figures of note. From this captivation, I delved more deeply into the subject of history, specifically the history of medieval society. From that childish interest and excitement I matured into a genuine love for history in general. The dates and facts, however, always came second to the story as a whole. As I got older I began to think of the subject in a much larger sense, a sense which Tuchman took to heart as well. History to me is the world’s novel, a novel in which each society throughout time contributes a chapter. A novel whose protagonist is human kind, one which shifts it’s nature from time period to time period, reflecting the direction in which society is heading.