History Quote by David Brett

January 9, 2012

“History, truly considered, is a verb, not an abstract noun. We history.”

 — David Brett 1993, p. 186

This quote by David Brett has appeared in many of my writing about the fluidity and changing nature of history. It is an mobile entity that is plural in form by default. Thus, the past plays a role in the present and the present a role in the past. However, because there is no such thing as the past or the history, it is often a case of which part of a past is being presented, and under whose authority? Like shifting sands of time, the meaning of history (in plural) is much like grasping at continuously shifting ideas, for many concepts exist in multi-temporal, -spatial, and -vocal surroundings.

The idea of history as moving (verb) as opposed to static (noun), as commonly assumed, making it one of many archaeological ‘universals’ that have been taken for granted among humankind and requires re-evaluation in order to avoid misinterpretation.

Reference: Brett, D. 1993. The Construction of Heritage. Pp. 183-202. In O’Conner, B. and M. Cronin (eds) Tourism in Ireland: A Critical Analysis. Cork: Cork University Press


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