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Which clippings match 'Historical Interpretation' keyword pg.1 of 1
01 MARCH 2013

Interpretation is reactionary, impertinent, cowardly and stifling

"Interpretation in our own time, however, is even more complex. For the contemporary zeal for the project of interpretation is often prompted not by piety toward the troublesome text (which may conceal an aggression), but by an open aggressiveness, an overt contempt for appearances. The old style of interpretation was insistent, but respectful; it erected another meaning on top of the literal one. The modern style of interpretation excavates, and as it excavates, destroys; it digs 'behind' the text, to find a sub–text which is the true one. The most celebrated and influential modern doctrines, those of Marx and Freud, actually amount to elaborate systems of hermeneutics, aggressive and impious theories of interpretation. All observable phenomena are bracketed, in Freud's phrase, as manifest content. This manifest content must be probed and pushed aside to find the true meaning –the latent content –beneath. For Marx, social events like revolutions and wars; for Freud, the events of individual lives (like neurotic symptoms and slips of the tongue) as well as texts (like a dream or a work of art) –all are treated as occasions for interpretation. According to Marx and Freud, these events only seem to be intelligible. Actually, they have no meaning without interpretation. To understand is to interpret. And to interpret is to restate the phenomenon, in effect to find an equivalent for it.

Thus, interpretation is not (as most people assume) an absolute value, a gesture of mind situated in some timeless realm of capabilities. Interpretation must itself be evaluated, within a historical view of human consciousness. In some cultural contexts, interpretation is a liberating act. It is a means of revising, of transvaluing, of escaping the dead past. In other cultural contexts, it is reactionary, impertinent, cowardly, stifling."

(Susan Sontag, 1966)

Susan Sontag (1966). "Against Interpretation: And Other Essays". Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.

TAGS

1966 • aggressiveness • appearance • behind the text • contempt for appearances • cowardly • dead past • destroy • doctrine • dreamsexcavationhermeneuticshistorical interpretation • historical view • human consciousness • impertinent • individual lives • interpretationinterpretation of signsKarl Marx • latent content • liberating actmanifest contentmeaning • neurotic symptoms • observable phenomena • phenomenaphenomenon • philosophy and interpretation • reactionary • revising • revisionism • revolutions • Sigmund Freud • slips of the tongue • social events • stifling • subtext • Susan Sontag • textstheories of interpretation • transvaluing • troublesome text • true meaning • wars • women in cultural theorywork of art

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 SEPTEMBER 2011

Digital History: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

"Lisa Fischer is Director of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Digital History Center (DHC). Located in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, the DHC was created to harness new technologies to help in engaging the public in the continuing conversation about the American Revolution, citizenship, and democracy. The DHC is currently working on a several complementary projects ranging from the creation of a new comprehensive website on the on the American Revolution to 'Virtual Williamsburg,' an initiative to create an interactive 3D model of the town as it looked in 1776 in collaboration with the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH)."

(16 February 2010)

Fig.1 Tom Ellis (2010 ). presentation by Lisa Fischer, Director of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Digital History Center.

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TAGS

1700s • 177618th century3D model3D visualisationarchaeologycolonial • Colonial Williamsburg Foundation • costumecultural heritagecultural history • DHC • digital historydigital toolshistorical interpretationhistorical maphistorical reenactmenthistorical research • IATH • interactive 3D • interactive environmentsinteractive map • Lisa Fischer • living history museummuseummuseum of cultural historyNorth America • North American Revolution • open-air museumperiod lifereconstructed buildingsreconstructionreenactmentrestorationtheme park • town • University of Virginia • Virginia • virtual heritage • virtual models • Virtual Williamsburg • visualisation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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