Frank Ankersmit's Lost Historical Cause: A Journey from Language to Experience

The contemporary Dutch historical theorist/philosopher Frank Ankersmit, an erstwhile advocate and promulgator of what has become known as "the linguistic turn" in historical theory, is very well known within the discipline. His early position with regard to the historical text is frequently discussed and evaluated today, and his writings on the subject are often cited. However, this former narrativist position, so robustly and effectively defended by Ankersmit in the past, has been progressively marginalized by Ankersmit himself as his current and radically different theoretical position, most fully expressed in his recent publication Sublime Historical Experience, now (for him) takes precedence. Yet, despite this radical shift in Ankersmit's position, this conspicuous "conversion" of an eminent prime mover in the field of mainstream language centred historical theory, there has been no comprehensive and sustained (investigative) critique of his various works taken in the whole. Consequently, there has until now been no close reading and analytical dissection of that whole, such that Ankersmit's overall trajectory of philosophical thought might be adequately discerned, and perhaps even explained. In short, there is a vacant space here, and the function of this book is, precisely, to fill that space.