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Volume 9, No.1 Fall1990 121 Black is thus to be congratulated on his industry and on making a case for the importance of Anglo-Jewish history. Ultimately, however, this big book fails due to its lack of synthesis. With more thought and accuracy The Social Politics of Anglo-Jewry might have become a classic text. Instead it appears hurried and must be seen asa wasted opportunity. Tony Kushner Parkes Fellow in Jewish Studies University of Southampton Marc Bloch: A Life in History, by Carole Fink. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. $29.95. When the annals of great historians are finally written in future accounts of twentieth-century historiography, Marc Bloch will be given an honored place. In many ways he can be considered the spiritual father of modern historical work. Without slighting German von Rankian contributions, it is important to understand the immense transformation envisioned by Bloch which finally germinated into the Annales school of French historiography.1 Today, the Annales is the most influential if not the most dynamic school of historical methodological vision. Whether one agrees with its spectrum of approaches or not, the fact remains that it has effected great changes in the way in which historians practice their profession or, as Bloch would have said, their craft. Before discussing the merits of Carole Fink's masterful biography it is judicious to consider some of Bloch's orientation toward historical knowledge and scholarship. For Bloch grace 11 Henri Berr, editor of Revue de synthese, the province of the historian was more than the tabulation and recounting of individualized events in time and spice, it was the past in all its ISee William R. Keylor, Academy and CommWlity: The FOWidation of the French Historical Profession (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975) for an incisive and penetrating account of academic historical studies in the latter 19th century in France. For very good discussion of the Annales, see Traian Stoianovich, French Historical Method: The Annales Paradigm (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1976); Maurice Aymard, "The 'Annales' and French Historiography," Journal of European Economic History 1 (Winter 1972): 491-511; Robert Forster, "Achievements of the Annales School," Journal of Economic History 38 (March 1978): 58-76; Michael Harsgor, "Total History: The 'Annales' School," Journal of Contemporary History 13 (January 1978): 1-13. It should be noted that Bloch was a co-founding editor for Annales: Economies, Societes, Civilizations in 1929, which is still very much engaged in publishing innovative research. 122 SHOFAR diversity and complexity.2 This grander concept required a monumental reorientation of the historian's professional ideology and methodological approach. This Bloch was able to do through his monographic works and innumerable articles.3 Historiography and intellectual history are experiencing profound changes as the historical profession approaches the end of this century. The advent of literary theory and its progeny, deconstruction , semiotics, etc., have been transforming the mission of historical writing. Indeed, if Marc Bloch were to survey this landscape the intellectual horizon would be far different from what he might have expected. Bloch's world was one of optimism for the intellectual enterprise of historical studies and the social sciences in general. Rhetorical analysis and intellectual permutations of literary theory would simply not be his idea of how historical work should evolve. The gifted son of a professor of Classical History, Bloch was a very promising student in lycee and at the Ecole Normale Superieure. Having followed the normal course of professional events for a nonnalien, Bloch continued his tenure at the universities of Clermont-Ferrand, Strasbourg, and finally the Sorbonne. At Strasbourg, he received inspiration from Lucien Febvre, and from that point on Bloch was to become the author of a number of ground-breaking works that propelled him toward Paris, the center of French academic life. Heroic World War I military service, together with a decided Republican allegiance, colored Bloch's perception of things French. In short, he was a very assimilated Jew-one who was extremely Republican French and one who thought in terms ofpatrie and honneurfran raise. He was not unaware of his Jewish heritage,4 but in Third Republic France of that time secular 2Bloch envisioned a historical profession which readily absorbed...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 121-123
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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