Hayden White

Biography and/or project

Hayden White (born July 12, 1928) is a historian in the tradition of literary criticism, perhaps most famous for his work Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (1973/2014). He claims that the manifest historical text is marked by strategies of explanation, which include explanation by argument, explanation by emplotment, and explanation by ideological implication.[3] He has argued that historical writing mirrors literary writing in many ways, sharing the strong reliance on narrative for meaning, therefore ruling out the possibility for objective or truly scientific history.[4] White has also argued, however, that history is most successful when it embraces this "narrativity", since it is what allows history to be meaningful.[5] He is currently professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz, having recently retired from the position of Professor of comparative literature at Stanford University.