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HISTORICAL criticism nowhere occurs as an isolated fact in the
civilisation or literature of any people.  It is part of that
complex working towards freedom which may be described as the
revolt against authority.  It is merely one facet of that
speculative spirit of an innovation, which in the sphere of action
produces democracy and revolution, and in that of thought is the
parent of philosophy and physical science; and its importance as a
factor of progress is based not so much on the results it attains,
as on the tone of thought which it represents, and the method by
which it works.

Being thus the resultant of forces essentially revolutionary, it is
not to be found in the ancient world among the material despotisms
of Asia or the stationary civilisation of Egypt.  The clay
cylinders of Assyria and Babylon, the hieroglyphics of the
pyramids, form not history but the material for history.

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 No. 423
 Posted on 9 June, 2006
 
 
 
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