Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hobsbawn and History

Eric Hobsbawm has long been a favorite historian of mine -- not for his renowned Marxism, but for books like THE INVENTION OF TRADITION and its companion, NATIONS AND NATIONALISM SINCE 1780.

Anyhow, I just ran across an essay by Hobsbawm about the Hungarian uprising of 1956 in the Nov. 16 issue of the London Review of Books. Not terribly relevant to Asian entertainment or Korean history... But I did love the opening sentence of his essay:
Contemporary history is useless unless it allows emotion to be recollected in tranquillity.

A great, simple point about history and politics and all that stuff that gets people so hot and bothered. Lord knows more people over here in East Asia should follow his advice.

(By the way, a rather different view (i.e., negative and shrill) of Hobsbawm and his legacy can be read here.)

(Btw2: I never knew this until just now, but apparently Hobsbawm and Noble Prize winner Kim Dae-jung met a few years ago, at a conference is Olso.)

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