Thursday, July 24, 2014

Historical documents, detached from life

"La storia, staccata dal documento vivo e resa cronaca, non è più un atto spirituale, ma una cosa, un complesso di suoni o di altri segni. Ma anche il documento, staccato dalla vita, è nient'altro che una cosa, simile all'altra, un complesso di suoni e di altri segni: per esempio, i suoni e le lettere nelle quali fu già comunicata una legge, le linee intagliate nel marmo e che manifestarono un sentimento religioso mercé la figura del dio, un mucchio di ossa con le quali si attuò un tempo l'organismo di un uomo o di un animale." -- Benedetto Croce, Teoria e storia della storiografia, p. 23

"History, detached from the living document and made into chronicle, is no longer a spiritual act, but a thing, a complex of sounds or of other signs. But the document also, detached from life, is nothing other than a thing, similar to the other, a complex of sounds and other signs: for example, the sounds and the letters in which there was once communicated a law, the lines cut in marble that manifested a religious sentiment submitted to the figure of a god, a pile of bones that once shaped the body of a man or of an animal."


  1. Hi Gene... What fascinates you about the excerpt?

    1. I do find it interesting, though: Croce is a very important thinker.

    2. Some of your posts I like immediately because I agree. Some I like immediately because they make me stop and think. This one, I didn't know what to do with. (Also, I didn't know what to do with your earlier, one-word response!)

    3. Yes, I understand. I'm trying to read Croce in the original, and when I get a passage, I translate it and post it. At the least, that gives my Italian tutor a chance to critique my translation


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