Reality and irony in history

Discusses Hayden White's universal philosophy of historical knowledge as set forth in the introduction to his 'Metahistory' (1973). The basic premise of White's philosophy is his treatment of the historical work as "a verbal structure in the form of a narrative prose discourse," which produces a narrative not only linguistic, but poetic, and informed by five levels of conceptualization: chronicle and story, as well as modes of implotment, argument, and ideological implications. The result of White's work has been to reveal that the skepticism in historical thought of the late 20th century derives from an ironic frame of mind and that to realize this is to "turn Irony against itself," opening the way for the restructuring of history as a poetic, scientific, and philosophical activity.