Features April 1983
The pride and prejudice of Fernand Braudel
“If the Nobel Prize were given to historians, it would almost certainly have been awarded to Fernand Braudel.” Thus begins a recent article by a prominent American historian, Samuel Kinser, on the “Braudel phenomenon,” the methods, principles, and above all the claims made on behalf of the work of Fernand Braudel (born 1902), the French historian commonly viewed today as the grand master of twentieth-century historiography. Another, more moderate admirer, J.H. Hexter, wrote in 1972 in an issue of the Journal of Modern History dedicated exclusively to Braudel and his influence that he and his followers were “the most productive and lively school of historians practicing their art today,” while in 1975 Braudel and his work received the supreme accolade of the ruling cultural forces of the Anglo-Saxon world when the New York Times...
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