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. 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. White has also argued, however, that history is most successful when it embraces this "narrativity", since it is what allows history to be meaningful. 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.
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