The Relativism of Historical Truth

Use this forum to discuss the June 2018 Book of the Month"The Girl Who Knew da Vinci" by Belle Ami
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TaaraLynn
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Re: The Relativism of Historical Truth

Post by TaaraLynn » 20 Jun 2018, 14:12

Miriam Molina wrote:
04 Jun 2018, 20:44
I actually plan to Google the historical details. But I know that recorded history may not be accurate. The powers-that-be can and do dictate history.
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Post by Cardinalsparrow » 21 Jun 2018, 19:38

It's quite normal to want to google historical details of a book but then it's only those who opportune to write it that do so and whatever we find online is still their version or interpretation

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Post by Bettercallyourbookie » 21 Jun 2018, 21:46

Perhaps a little more clarification? Are you asking about relative accuracy and telling of historical fiction? In that context, I think embellishments or dramatizations are okay as long as they add something to the story.

If you're talking about historical events and details that were purposefully changed, I think that's a whole other issue. We know that there are historical records that have been destroyed for some political purpose. Because of this, we'll likely never know the real truth about certain events. It's like the saying goes, "History is written by the winners."

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Post by Samy Lax » 21 Jun 2018, 23:33

I surely would. Part of my fascination with books like these involves my immediate need for researching more to find out if the facts the authors state in their books are actually facts. Love the process!
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Post by bluegreenmarina » 22 Jun 2018, 09:42

This is a very valid point and I often think about how what we know about the past and consider truth is simply what people have chosen to write down and the stories that have carried on through time. I bet we would be shocked to learn how much distortion has occurred as well as how much detail and history is lost to time. This is one of the reasons society tends to follow the same cycles and make the same mistakes in my opinion. I wonder if our modern age of technology and information surveillance will affect that pattern for future generations.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 22 Jun 2018, 12:54

Samy Lax wrote:
21 Jun 2018, 23:33
I surely would. Part of my fascination with books like these involves my immediate need for researching more to find out if the facts the authors state in their books are actually facts. Love the process!
Researching the events in a book also sort of keeps the plot alive for me. Instead of feeling disappointed because I finished reading a great story, I get to go look up more about the events, places, people that were mentioned. It draws out the amount of time I get to enjoy it.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 22 Jun 2018, 12:58

bluegreenmarina wrote:
22 Jun 2018, 09:42
This is a very valid point and I often think about how what we know about the past and consider truth is simply what people have chosen to write down and the stories that have carried on through time. I bet we would be shocked to learn how much distortion has occurred as well as how much detail and history is lost to time. This is one of the reasons society tends to follow the same cycles and make the same mistakes in my opinion. I wonder if our modern age of technology and information surveillance will affect that pattern for future generations.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the same trends continue. I'm not normally very interested in history or politics. How many other people are like me? Too many. I don't even watch or read the news. I live in my own little world and don't really worry about what's going on in the US, the world as a whole, or even my own Home Owner's Association. I know that sounds bad, which is the point. I can point the finger of blame at myself to reflect the idea that I know I'm far from being the only one. If we don't bother to read the history that is recorded, we definitely can't learn from it.

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Post by ReyvrexQuestor Reyes » 22 Jun 2018, 20:09

History will always be written from different perspectives. For instance, in cases of wars, the victors usually have the "authorized" version. Defeat is not something to flaunt about as one would with a victory. It is only at some later time that numerous "critique" of the event would come out. And worst, there are now conspirators who would perpetuate the wrong history by means of false testimonies, cover-ups, and even orchestrated media hype. Have you heard of conspiracy theories? It could be recalled how Aristotle influenced the world of long ago to hold the wrong view of our solar system. His opinions and misconceptions were the general truth. This may be due to his immense influential status during those days. And worst, he wielded also the power to banish anyone who would present a dissenting opinion to the currently-accepted views. Remember Copernicus? Could anyone find similarities to the present system of things?
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Post by KitabuKizuri » 23 Jun 2018, 10:44

Accuracy in storytelling, verbal or written and in today's influential motion picture is subject to the storyteller's discretion. We tend to colour by exaggeration and bending facts in order to captivate the audience. If one is to follow all the facts then the aim is to make a non-fiction.

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Post by Bonnie Shelby » 25 Jun 2018, 10:23

I ended up using Google to determine whether or not Fioretta and Guliano were real people, and to see if they were actually a couple. I like that the history theme in the book makes you want to learn more about specific time periods and famous historical people, even if the information you find isn't entirely accurate. How are we to know with absolute certainty what actually happened in the past if the main characters are dead and gone?

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Post by Sdejardine » 25 Jun 2018, 10:39

With this book, I do not know much about Da Vinci and his paintings, so I would not seek out information to know whether there was historical accuracy. I was happy just reading the book and enjoying it. If it were a topic I was more knowledgeable about, I would be more judgmental about inaccuracies. I think I would be able to handle a few inaccuracies as this is a book of fiction, however.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 25 Jun 2018, 11:21

Bonnie Shelby wrote:
25 Jun 2018, 10:23
I ended up using Google to determine whether or not Fioretta and Guliano were real people, and to see if they were actually a couple. I like that the history theme in the book makes you want to learn more about specific time periods and famous historical people, even if the information you find isn't entirely accurate. How are we to know with absolute certainty what actually happened in the past if the main characters are dead and gone?
We wouldn't even know with absolute certainty if we talked to all the main players. Their accounts would still be biased in some way if not intentionally falsified. We do this every day. We fib to keep from hurting someone's feelings or we exaggerate to make ourselves look good. Even when we try to be 100% accurate, we each have a unique perspective on every aspect of life so unless it is simply a matter of facts and no opinions, the story will always be a little bit inaccurate at best.

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Post by Bonnie Shelby » 25 Jun 2018, 12:33

kfwilson6 wrote:
25 Jun 2018, 11:21
Bonnie Shelby wrote:
25 Jun 2018, 10:23
I ended up using Google to determine whether or not Fioretta and Guliano were real people, and to see if they were actually a couple. I like that the history theme in the book makes you want to learn more about specific time periods and famous historical people, even if the information you find isn't entirely accurate. How are we to know with absolute certainty what actually happened in the past if the main characters are dead and gone?
We wouldn't even know with absolute certainty if we talked to all the main players. Their accounts would still be biased in some way if not intentionally falsified. We do this every day. We fib to keep from hurting someone's feelings or we exaggerate to make ourselves look good. Even when we try to be 100% accurate, we each have a unique perspective on every aspect of life so unless it is simply a matter of facts and no opinions, the story will always be a little bit inaccurate at best.
Very true. Good point!

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Post by bookowlie » 25 Jun 2018, 13:41

bluegreenmarina wrote:
22 Jun 2018, 09:42
This is a very valid point and I often think about how what we know about the past and consider truth is simply what people have chosen to write down and the stories that have carried on through time. I bet we would be shocked to learn how much distortion has occurred as well as how much detail and history is lost to time. This is one of the reasons society tends to follow the same cycles and make the same mistakes in my opinion. I wonder if our modern age of technology and information surveillance will affect that pattern for future generations.
I used to think what was written down in history was fairly accurate because people in those days had higher ethical standards vs. the super-charged political climate in today's world. Who knows...maybe people in history also distorted events to suit their own agenda. If future generations look back at events happening currently, they will read twitter posts, newspaper articles that are sometimes opinion-based, etc. It will be hard to get a true picture of the facts.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 27 Jun 2018, 12:26

everyone that writes history has some sort of bias, which can be seen through which details are kept, which are left out, which are emphasized, etc. However, when it comes to fiction, whether in print or on the screen, my personal preference is for it to be as accurate as possible in overall setting, characters, relationships, actions, etc. I want it to be plausible :)
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