For history is an art as well, - the art of representing past events through facts of scientific accuracy. If the facts are inaccurate, it is not history. But if they are not embodied in a picture of a living past, it is not history either. For a smear on a palet [sic] is not a picture. So the historian, when his work among the test-tubes of research is done, must turn artist, abandoning his overalls for the velvet jacket. If he can not, so much less the historian he. It is so easy for the historian to forget his duty in the multiplicity of his business. To put it crudely, he is asked to raise the dead, to bring the past to life, to give a continuous performance of the miracle of Endor. He must achieve this feat with a restricted armory. For he is not allowed the novelist's liberty of invention. His incantations are strictly limited to the ascertained facts, and with their aid alone he is expected to evoke the past. We ask of the historian a great tapestry, crowded with figures, filled with shifting lights and crowds and landscapes; and we insist sternly (though with perfect propriety) that he shall use no single thread for his weaving that can not be vouched for as to its color, length, and weight by reference to his unvarying authorities, the scientific facts.

Philip Guedalla on the historian’s craft

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