Salta al contenuto principale
Passa alla visualizzazione normale.


Narrating the Unspeakable The Use of Metaphor between Hayden White and Hannah Arendt


The paper addresses the question of the use of metaphors and analogies for events such as the Holocaust in the context of the discourse on the reduction of historiography to its narrative or rhetorical dimension and reflects on the philosophical implications of this reduction with respect to the question of post-truth. The critical debate resulting from the rhetorical or linguistic turn brings out within historical research a tension between narrative and documentation that, to the risk of making the boundary between history and the novel implied by the centrality of the role of narrative increasingly evanescent, counterpoints an appeal to the status of evidence, invoked by some historians, which in turn is not without its criticality. In particular, we take as a point of departure Hayden Whyte's Forms of History from Reality to Narrative, in which historiographical research is characterized with reference to the ability to follow those organizing principles peculiar to literary experiments as modes of historical explanation: modes that bring narrativity closer to historiography. The skeptical challenge coming from Hayden White's meta-history is an interesting cue to essay the undoubted persuasive effectiveness of the use of the Shoah metaphor in other contexts, but at the same time to question its permissibility in some cases. Comparison with the prominence given to metaphor in Hannah Arendt's reflection places emphasis on the question of the narrative of historical phenomena and the potential of metaphorical operating for acting in the plural dimension, but also on metaphorical thinking as a bridge thrown over the gulf between the activity of the mind and the world of appearance.