Talk:History

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the History page.


What is the source for the Twain quote? I've heard it was misattributed. --66.108.42.146 23:38, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

The earliest source I can find for what was an unsourced quote attributed to Twain is not anything by him, and I have noted this in its entry.
  • History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
    • This is very often attributed to Mark Twain, but the earliest published source yet located is by Joseph Anthony Wittreich in Feminist Milton (1987) where he writes: "History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme, and every gloss by a deconstructionist need not be a loss, pushing us further into an abyss of skepticism and indeterminacy."
Thanks for the info on the lack of sourcing of this quote. If any earlier publications of such a remark are found, please note them. ~ Kalki 23:26, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
    • James George Eayrs attributes the quote to Mark Twain as early as 1971 in his book "Diplomacy and its discontents", page 121: "When Mark Twain declared ‘History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes,’ he went about as far as he could go." [1]
  • A verse in John Robert Colombo's poem, “A Said Poem”, published in Neo Poems (1970), reads: “ ‘History never repeats itself but it rhymes,’ said Mark Twain.” In a private communication, Colombo wrote: “Twain's observation -- correction: the observation attributed to Twain -- has been around since the 1960s. There is no source for it with which I am familiar.” —KHirsch 02:44, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Unsourced[edit]

  • Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a competent historian.
  • History doesn't always repeat itself. Sometimes it just screams, "Why don't you listen to me?" and lets fly with a big stick.
  • History is not a particular branch of knowledge, but a particular mode and method of knowledge in other branches.
  • History is not to be searched for practical lessons, the applicability of which will always be doubtful in view of the inexhaustible novelty of circumstances and combinations of causes, but just this, that the mind acquire a sensitiveness an imaginative range.
  • History is the depository of great actions, the witness of what is past, the example and instructor of the present, and monitor to the future.
  • History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided.
  • History maketh a young man to be old, without either wrinkles or gray hairs,—privileging him with the experience of age, without either the infirmities or inconveniences thereof.
  • It is when the hour of the conflict is over that history comes to a right understanding of the strife, and is ready to exclaim, "Lo, God is here, and we knew him not!"
  • The past actually happened. History is what someone took the time to write down.
  • The happiest times of humanity are the blank pages in the book of history.
  • The history of man is a series of conspiracies to win from nature some advantage without paying for it.
  • The world's history is a divine poem of which the history of every nation is a canto and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian philosopher and historian—the humble listener—there has been a divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come.
  • There is no history worthy of attention but that of a free people; the history of a people subjected to despotism is only a collection of anecdotes.
  • This I hold to be the chief office of history, to rescue virtuous actions from the oblivion to which a want of records would consign them, and that men should feel a dread of being considered infamous in the opinions of posterity, from their depraved expressions and base actions.
  • You cannot possibly understand History without first understanding History's past.
  • Writing history is like drinking an ocean and pissing a cupful.
  • History is always on the move, slowly eroding today’s orthodoxy and making space for yesterday’s heresy.
  • I believe that the more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.
  • History…is indeed little more than the register of the crime, follies, and misfortune of mankind.