Experiencing the Horse

As coincidence would have it, I was rereading Historical Reason, a collection of lectures by José Ortega y Gasset, for the first time in over a decade and a half when John Lukacs’s latest, The Future of History, fell onto my desk.  While Lukacs’s debt to Ortega has always been clear (indeed, I first read Historical Reason because of Lukacs), I was still struck by the overlap not only in subject matter but even in the structure of these two short books.

Yale bills The Future of History as a reflection on the historical profession and the writing and teaching of history, and there is much here to justify this marketing approach (especially the chapters on “Problems for the Profession” and “Future of the Profession”).  But it would be a mistake to think that this is a book written solely for professional historians or for academic students of history.  Indeed, the two chapters in question seem almost, but not quite, out of place, because the main theme of The Future of History, as of so much of Lukacs’s work even before the 1968 publication of his magisterial Historical Consciousness, is the deepening of the historical sense in the minds of all men today, not just (or even not especially) the minds of professional historians.

It is here that Lukacs reminds me most of Ortega, even when The Future of History and Historical Reason...

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