Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-8cclj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-29T16:13:49.835Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2010

Jesus College, Cambridge E-mail:


This essay reconstructs the intellectual development of the philosopher of history Louis O. Mink Jr, in order to illuminate the philosophical background to “postmodernism” in American historical epistemology. From around 1970, Mink was a prominent and influential defender of the view that historical narratives were imaginative constructions rather than representations of past actuality. This has since been understood as a characteristically postmodern view. Mink's wider sensibility, however, is better described as modernist than postmodernist. The crucial context for his philosophy was a hostility to “positivism” going back to his graduate years at Yale, and his epistemological views were of a piece with a defence of historical understanding as both distinctive and valuable. In both respects Mink was influenced by the philosophy of R. G. Collingwood, while he was himself an important influence on Hayden White. Mink's case therefore helps bridge the gap between interwar and later twentieth-century versions of Anglophone historical contructivism, while drawing attention to some cultural contexts in which the development of both modernist and postmodernist views of historiography must be understood.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 Michael Bentley has made an impressive effort to rectify this for the British case, but his account consciously relies upon a sense of the postmodern in order to define historical “modernism”: Bentley, Michael, Modernizing England's Past: English Historiography in the Age of Modernism, 1870–1970 (Cambridge, 2005), esp. 89Google Scholar. Peter Novick's earlier study of roughly the same period in American historiography, written without reference to “postmodernism”, finds diversity as prominent as continuity in its subject matter: see Novick, Peter, That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge, 1998)Google Scholar.

2 The distinction made here follows one made in O'Brien, Michael, Henry Adams and the Southern Question (Athens, GA, 2005), 143–4Google Scholar.

3 Harvey, David, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford, 1990), 9Google Scholar; Jameson, Fredric, Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (London, 1991), 45–6Google Scholar.

4 See Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, viii, 3–118; Jameson, Postmodernism, xiii, 1–54.

5 Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, 116–18; Jameson, Postmodernism, 46.

6 Ankersmit, Frank, “Historiography and Postmodernism”, History and Theory 28 (1989), 137–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Spiegel, Gabrielle M., “History, Historicism, and the Social Logic of the Text in the Middle Ages”, Speculum 65 (1990), 5986CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For the incorporation of an epistemological conception of “postmodernism” into the common knowledge of the historical profession since 1990 see Joyce, Patrick, “History and Post-modernism”, Past and Present 133 (1991), 204–13, 208CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Appleby, Joyce, Hunt, Lynn and Jacob, Margaret, Telling the Truth about History (New York, 1994), 200–1Google Scholar; Haskell, Thomas L., Objectivity Is Not Neutrality: Explanatory Schemes in History (Baltimore, MD, 1998), 8Google Scholar; Sewell, William H. Jr, Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation (Chicago, 2005), 79CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gorman, Jonathan, Historical Judgement: The Limits of Historiographical Choice (Montreal, 2008), 134–5Google Scholar.

7 Ankersmit, “Historiography and Postmodernism”, 144–5; Spiegel, “The Social Logic of the Text”, 59–61; Joyce, “History and Post-modernism”, 206; Zagorin, Perez, “Historiography and Postmodernism: Reconsiderations”, History and Theory 29 (1990), 263–74, 263CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Spiegel, Gabrielle M., “History and Post-modernism”, Past and Present 135 (1992), 194208, 197CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Toews, John E., “A New Philosophy of History? Reflections on Postmodern Historicizing”, History and Theory 36 (1997), 235–48, 235–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sewell, Logics of History, 3.

8 Vann, Richard T., “Louis Mink's Linguistic Turn”, History and Theory 26 (1987), 114CrossRefGoogle Scholar; idem, “Turning Linguistic: History and Theory and History and Theory, 1960–75”, in Ankersmit, Frank and Kellner, Hans, eds., A New Philosophy of History (London, 1995), 4069Google Scholar.

9 Mink, Louis O., “Philosophy and Theory of History”, in Iggers, Georg G. and Parker, Harold T., eds., International Handbook of Historical Studies: Contemporary Research and Theory (Westport, CT, 1979), 19Google Scholar, original emphasis.

10 Ibid., 25.

11 See, for the first and second features, Ankersmit, “Historiography and Postmodernism”, 137–53; Zagorin, “Historiography and Postmodernism: Reconsiderations”, 271; Spiegel, “Social Logic”, 59–63; Joyce, “History and Post-modernism”, 208; Thomas L. Haskell, “Farewell to Fallibilism: Robert Berkhofer's Beyond the Great Story and the Allure of the Postmodern”, History and Theory 37 (1998), 347–69, 351. The third is noted in Keith Jenkins, “Introduction: On Being Open about Our Closures”, in Keith Jenkins, ed., The Postmodern History Reader (London, 1997), 20; Gertrude Himmelfarb, “Telling It as You Like It: Post-modernist History and the Flight from Fact”, Times Literary Supplement, 16 Oct. 1992, 14; Gorman, Historical Judgement, 135.

12 Brian Fay, Eugene O. Golob and Richard T. Vann, “Editors’ Introduction”, in Louis O. Mink, Historical Understanding, ed. Brain Fay, Eugene O. Golob, and Richard T. Vann, (Ithaca, NY, 1987), 1–34; Vann, Richard T., “Louis Mink's Linguistic Turn”, History and Theory 26 (1987), 114CrossRefGoogle Scholar. There is substantial overlap between these two pieces: most of Vann's History and Theory essay is reprinted in the “Editors’ Introduction”.

13 See, for example, Himmelfarb, “Telling It as You Like It”, 15; Appleby, Hunt and Jacob, Telling the Truth about History, 207, 224; Zagorin, Perez, “History, the Referent, and Narrative: Reflections on Postmodernism Now”, History and Theory 38 (1999), 124, 5CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 François Cusset has recently argued for the importance of American conditions for the reception of French thought in the United States, but an emphasis on the differences between French and American political culture draws his attention away from the contexts discussed here. See François Cusset, French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States, trans. Jeff Fort with Josephine Berganza and Marlon Jones (Minneapolis, 2008).

15 Wesleyan University Catalogue 1953/4 (Middletown, CT, 1953), 77–9; Wesleyan University Catalogue 1968/9 (Middletown, CT, 1968), 76; The quotation is from Louis Mink to Adaline Glasheen, 8 July 1982, Louis O. Mink Papers, Olin Memorial Library, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (hereinafter cited as LMP/Wesleyan).

16 Louis Mink to Adaline Glasheen, 8 July 1982, LMP/Wesleyan.

17 Louis Mink, “Critical Approaches To and Away from Finnegans Wake”, paper delivered in Dublin, 17 June 1982, LMP/Wesleyan.

18 The view of modernism relied upon here has been influenced by Michael O'Brien and David Harvey; see O'Brien, Henry Adams, 141; Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, 10–38.

19 Mink, Louis O., “Reading Finnegans Wake”, Southern Humanities Review 9 (1975), 116, 7–10Google Scholar; compare idem, “Everyman His or Her Own Annalist”, Critical Inquiry 7 (1981), 777–83, 782–83.

20 On this repudiation, see Jameson, Postmodernism, 23.

21 Mink, Historical Understanding, 55.

22 Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, 39–65; Jameson, Postmodernism, 31, 44; Ankersmit, “Historiography and Postmodernism”, 149.

23 Mink's 1947 Kent Fellowship application, quoted in Louis O. Mink, Fellowship, ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Donald W. Sherburne (New Haven, 1983), 40.

24 Mink, Historical Understanding, 123.

25 See White, Hayden, “The Structure of Historical Narrative”, Clio 1 (1972), 520Google Scholar, 19–20, as well as the discussion below. For White's influence and connections with “postmodernism” in historiography see F. R. Ankersmit, “The Dilemma of Anglo-Saxon Philosophy of History”, History and Theory, 25, Beiheft 25: Knowing and Telling History: The Anglo-Saxon Debate (1986), 1–27, 18–21; Keith Jenkins, Re-thinking History (London, 1991), especially the epigraph; Himmelfarb, “Telling It as You Like It”, 12; Zagorin, “History, the Referent, and Narrative”, 17. There is a persuasive and relevant discussion of Hayden White, which sees him as more pre-professional moralist than postmodernist nihilist, in Novick, That Noble Dream, 599–607.

26 Mink, Fellowship, 11; “Wesleyan People”, Wesleyan University Alumnus (Fall 1975), unpaginated clipping in LMP/Wesleyan.

27 Alexander Nehemas, “Trends in Recent American Philosophy”, in Thomas Bender and Carl E. Schorske, eds., American Academic Culture in Transformation: Fifty Years, Four Disciplines (Princeton, NJ, 1998), 230, 233; see also Hilary Putnam, “A Half Century of Philosophy Viewed from Within”, in ibid., 219.

28 O'Shea, James R., “American Philosophy in the Twentieth Century”, in Moran, Dermot, ed., The Routledge Companion to Twentieth Century Philosophy (London, 2008), 235Google Scholar; Blanshard, Brand, “The Philosophy of Analysis” (1952), in Lewis, H. D., ed., Clarity Is Not Enough: Essays in Criticism of Linguistic Philosophy (London, 1963), 79Google Scholar.

29 Ayer, A. J., “Editor's Introduction”, in Ayer, A. J., ed., Logical Positivism (Glencoe, IL: 1959), 37Google Scholar; O'Shea, “American Philosophy”, 223. For Mink's awareness of logical positivism see the (unfortunately undated, and now lost) fragments quoted in Fay, Golob and Vann, “Editors’ Introduction”, 10–11.

30 Brand Blanshard, “The Philosophy of Analysis”, 79; Ayer, “Editor's Introduction”, 10. For brief general discussions of logical positivism, see O'Shea, “American Philosophy”, 223–26; and Bruce Kuklick, A History of Philosophy in America, 1720–2000 (Oxford, 2001), 232–7.

31 Indeed, Hilary Putnam has contended that, in the 1940s and 1950s, “at the time when logical positivism was supposed to have been dominant, logical positivists were extremely few and largely ignored”. Putnam, “A Half Century of Philosophy”, 194, original emphasis.

32 O'Shea, “American Philosophy”, 204–5, H. D. Lewis, “Preface”, in idem, Clarity Is Not Enough, 9; Blanshard, “The Philosophy of Analysis”, 76.

33 Blanshard, “The Philosophy of Analysis”, 107.

34 Kuklick, Bruce, “Philosophy at Yale in the Century after Darwin”, History of Philosophy Quarterly 21 (2004), 313–36, 322–3Google Scholar; idem, Philosophy in America, 257.

35 See Mink, Historical Understanding, 65, 216–18, and passim.

36 Mink, Fellowship, 11, original emphasis.

37 “Louis Mink, ‘The Soul Of Wesleyan,’ Dies At 61”, Wesleyan University Alumnus (Fall 1982–Winter 1983), unpaginated clipping in LMP/Wesleyan; Mink, Fellowship, 28; “History of Hiram College”, Hiram College website,, accessed 13 July 2009; Louis Mink, quoted in “Wesleyan People”, unpaginated clipping in LMP/Wesleyan.

38 Louis Mink, 1947 Kent Fellowship application, quoted in Eugene O. Golob, “Louis Mink's Philosophy” (unpublished manuscript dated 21 March 1984, LMP/Wesleyan), 27.

39 Hayden White, electronic correspondence with author, 1 June 2007; Brian Fay, interview with author, Middletown, CT, 15 April 2007; Richard T. Vann, interview with author, London, 19 July 2006.

40 He refused, for example, to consider restoring “God the Author” in order to reconcile historical realism and narrative form. Mink, Historical Understanding, 190, 202.

41 Mink, Fellowship, 1, 16.

42 Louis O. Mink, “The Golden Age of the Golden Department”, History of Education Quarterly 20 (1980), 189–95, 192.

43 Kuklick, “Philosophy at Yale”, 320–33.

44 The clearest evidence that this was the more general view at mid-century Yale is the 1945 volume Philosophy in American Education; two of the five authors (Brand Blanshard and Charles W. Hendel) taught Mink at Yale, and the jointly authored preface affirmed that “philosophy at its best . . . can make a profound difference in the range and quality of human experience and . . . the constructive effort now required to make it a vital factor in American thought and education is very worth making”. Brand Blanshard, Curt J. Ducasse, Charles W. Hendel, Arthur E. Murphy and Max C. Otto, Philosophy in American Education: Its Tasks and Opportunities (New York, 1945), xii.

45 Louis Mink, untitled and undated fragment, quoted in Fay, Golob and Vann, “Editors’ Introduction”, 10; Kuklick, “Philosophy at Yale”, 316.

46 Kuklick, “Philosophy at Yale”, 326.

47 Brand Blanshard, “The Opportunity of Philosophy”, in Blanshard et al., Philosophy in American Education, 8–10.

48 Brand Blanshard, “The Climate of Opinion”, in ibid., 36.

49 Blanshard commented in writing on several of Mink's papers from his time at Yale, and Mink remembered him as a source of encouragement in his early philosophical career. Mink, Historical Understanding, 289; Mink, Fellowship, 12–13. Mink also edited an “interrogation” of Blanshard in 1964: “Interrogation of Brand Blanshard”, in Beatrice Rome and Sidney Rome, eds., Philosophical Interrogations (New York, 1964), 201–57.

50 Blanshard, “Opportunity”, 87–94.

51 Ibid., 101–3.

52 Mink, Historical Understanding, 88, original emphasis.

53 This was a conviction which Mink shared with R. G. Collingwood: see R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (Oxford, 1970), 318–20.

54 Mink, Historical Understanding, 220.

55 Ibid., 84, 87.

56 Mink, Louis O., review of Plumb, J. H., ed., Crisis in the Humanities, Harvard Educational Review 35 (1965), 516–19, 518Google Scholar.

57 Mink, Fellowship, 40.

58 Mink, Historical Understanding, 86, see also 125.

59 Hempel, Carl G., “The Function of General Laws in History”, Journal of Philosophy 39 (1942), 3548, 35–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

60 Ibid., 48, 37. For the close relation of Hempel's article to logical positivism and the “verifiability principle” see Danto, Arthur C., “The Decline and Fall of the Analytical Philosophy of History”, in Ankersmit, Frank and Kellner, Hans, eds., A New Philosophy of History (Chicago, 1995), 7085Google Scholar.

61 See Louis O. Mink, “Knowledge of the Past: A Critique of Epistemological Theories with Respect to Their Consequences for Knowledge of the Past” (Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University, 1952), 320–35.

62 See especially “The Autonomy of Historical Understanding” (1966): Mink, Historical Understanding, 61–88.

63 Mink, Historical Understanding, 88, see also 265. For the English idealists see Collingwood, The Idea of History, 2, 205–334; Michael Oakeshott, Experience and Its Modes (Cambridge, 1933), 8–85.

64 Mink, Historical Understanding, 35–6.

65 This was another theme Mink shared with an English idealist tradition. See especially Oakeshott, Experience and Its Modes; but also Collingwood, The Idea of History, esp. 210–17.

66 Mink, Historical Understanding, 35–41 (quotation at 39).

67 Ibid., 76–7.

68 Mink, “Knowledge of the Past”, 323; idem, Historical Understanding, 68–72.

69 This point was very important for William Dray. Dray, William H., “The Historical Explanation of Actions Reconsidered”, in Hook, Sidney, ed., Philosophy and History: A Symposium (New York, 1963), 105–35Google Scholar; see also Mink, Historical Understanding, 119–20.

70 There is an irony here, since the covering-law model was first formulated by Karl Popper, whose influential The Poverty of Historicism passionately condemned any belief in “Inexorable Laws of Human Destiny”: Karl R. Popper, The Poverty of Historicism (London, 1961; first published 1957), iii. For the Popperian origins of the covering-law model see Mink, Historical Understanding, 120.

71 Mink, Historical Understanding, 120.

72 Louis Mink, memorandum on “Stanley Paluch—‘The Covering Law Model of Historical Explanation,’” 13 June 1966, History and Theory Papers, History and Theory Offices, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.

73 See, for example, Carl G. Hempel, “Reasons and Covering Laws in Historical Explanation”, in Hook, Philosophy and History, 143–63; cf. Mink, Historical Understanding, 143–4.

74 Mink, Historical Understanding, 121.

75 Ibid., 68.

76 Mink, “Knowledge of the Past”, 328.

77 Mink, Historical Understanding, 76–7; cf. ibid., 21.

78 Ibid., 68–72. Mink's first formulation of this point preceded Danto's. See Mink, “Knowledge of the Past”, 331–2; for Danto's version see Danto, Arthur C., “Narrative Sentences”, History and Theory 2 (1962), 146–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

79 Mink, Historical Understanding, 73. The reference to the “Fourth Ming Dynasty” was, presumably, a joke.

80 Ibid., 72–5.

81 Ibid., 75. The classic twentieth-century account is Collingwood's The Idea of History, 282–302. See now Dray, William, History as Re-enactment: R. G. Collingwood's Idea of History (Oxford, 1995)Google Scholar.

82 Dray, William, Laws and Explanation in History (Oxford, 1957), 129Google Scholar; Gardiner, Patrick, The Nature of Historical Explanation (Oxford, 1952), 128Google Scholar; Hempel, “Function of General Laws in History”, 44–5. See also Walsh, W. H., An Introduction to Philosophy of History (London, 1957; first published 1951), 57–8Google Scholar.

83 Mink, Historical Understanding, 75–6. Up to this point, Mink was in agreement with William Dray. See Dray, Laws and Explanation in History, 57.

84 Mink, Historical Understanding, 76–7, 85.

85 Ibid., 77, 82. This, as noted in more detail below, seemed to be a departure from Collingwood's own understanding of “the re-enactment of past experience”. See Collingwood, The Idea of History, 282–302.

86 Mink, Historical Understanding, 80–82.

87 Ibid., 85–6.

88 Ibid., 87–8.

89 Expanded undergraduate education as a site of public influence for intellectuals has arguably been neglected in discussions of intellectuals in twentieth-century American culture, but on the wider issue see Bender, Thomas, Intellect and Public Life: Essays on the Social History of Academic Intellectuals in the United States (Baltimore, MD, 1993)Google Scholar; Jacoby, Russell, The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe (New York, 1987)Google Scholar; Robbins, Bruce, Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (London, 1993)Google Scholar.

90 Mink, Fellowship, 29.

91 “Louis Mink, ‘The Soul of Wesleyan'”, unpaginated clipping in LMP/Wesleyan. Despite his original job title, Mink almost entirely taught philosophy courses at Wesleyan. There were exceptions in 1955 to 1958, when Mink participated in the teaching of a general freshman course in “humanities”, and in 1964 to 1970, when he chaired a combined course in “History, Literature, and Philosophy”. Both these courses were part of the Freshman Integrated Program, discussed below. See Wesleyan University Course Catalogues 1952–1983 (Middletown, CT, 1952–1983).

92 Hallie, Philip P. and Mink, Louis O., “Victor L. Butterfield, 1904–1975”, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 49 (1975–6), 153–4, 153Google Scholar; Clark, Burton R., “The Wesleyan Story: The Importance of Moral Capital”, in Riesman, David and Stadtman, Verne E., eds., Academic Transformation: Seventeen Institutions under Pressure (New York, 1973), 367Google Scholar.

93 “Wesleyan People”, unpaginated clipping in LMP/Wesleyan; “Louis Mink, ‘The Soul of Wesleyan'”, unpaginated clipping in LMP/Wesleyan.

94 Mink, Fellowship, 39.

95 Blanshard, “Opportunity”, 92, 117.

96 “L. O. Mink, Jr., Dies; Philosopher, Scholar”, Hartford Courant, 21 Jan. 1983, B10; Louis Mink, “Freshman Integrated Program: Ideas and Institutions, Annual Report 1969–70”, LMP/Wesleyan; Frank Phillippi, “The CSS: Is It Succeeding?” Wesleyan Argus, 18 Feb. 1966, 3.

97 Mink, Fellowship, 40; Louis Mink, quoted in “A Tolerance for Ambiguity”, Wesleyan University Alumnus, May 1967, 9.

98 See especially Mink, Fellowship, 1–10.

99 Ibid., 20–21.

100 Ibid., 18–21.

101 Hayden White, electronic correspondence with author, 1 June 2007.

102 Mink, Louis O., “Learning and the Higher Relativism”, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 61 (1978), 449–55, 452Google Scholar.

103 Mink, Louis O., “The Autonomy of Historical Understanding”, in Dray, William H., ed., Philosophical Analysis and History (New York, 1966), 160–92Google Scholar; Elton, Geoffrey, The Practice of History (1967; London, 1969), 42 nGoogle Scholar; Eugene O. Golob, “The Irony of Nihilism”, History and Theory, Beiheft 19 (1980), 55–65, 57. Paul Ricoeur also admired Mink's essays of the 1966–1970 period; see Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, vol. 1 (Chicago, 1984), 155–61.

104 See especially “The Writing and Rewriting of History” (1972), in Mink, Historical Understanding, 89–105; “Narrative Form as a Cognitive Instrument” (1978), in ibid., 182–203.

105 Mink, Louis O., Mind, History, and Dialectic: The Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood (Bloomington, IN, 1969), vviGoogle Scholar.

106 Ibid., vii–viii.

107 See, for examples, Mink, Historical Understanding, 265; Collingwood, The Idea of History, 219, 318–20.

108 See Mink, Historical Understanding, 61–88, 229, 246; Collingwood, The Idea of History, 236–37. Stefan Collini's valuable portrait of Collingwood's intellectual and cultural persona touches on a number of these themes. Collini, Stefan, Absent Minds (Oxford, 2006), 331–49Google Scholar.

109 Mink, Fellowship, 33. In an unpublished memorial essay, Mink's friend Eugene Golob considered the relationship between Mink and Collingwood in some detail, and concluded that Mink was “no more a student of Collingwood than he was a disciple or follower. Louis Mink was a creative philosopher who found it rewarding to do his own work in the context of Collingwood”. Golob, “Louis Mink's Philosophy”, 23, original emphasis. This seems an apt judgement.

110 Collingwood, The Idea of History, 217–18.

111 Ibid., 297.

112 Mink, Historical Understanding, 281. Almost the same passage, minus the last sentence, can be found in idem, Mind, History, and Dialectic, 190.

113 Mink, Historical Understanding, 286–7.

114 Gourevitch, Victor, “Louis Otto Mink, Jr., 1921–1983”, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 56 (1983), 634–5, 634Google Scholar.

115 Mink, Fellowship, 7.

116 History and Theory Papers, History and Theory Offices, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT; Louis Mink to Colin Campbell, 18 Sept. 1976, LMP/Wesleyan, in which Mink remembered his concerns in the later 1960s about “running dry” as a philosopher of history.

117 This review is reprinted as “Philosophical Analysis and Historical Understanding” in Mink, Historical Understanding, 118–46. The books under review were Danto, Arthur C., Analytical Philosophy of History (Cambridge, 1965)Google Scholar; Gallie, W. B., Philosophy and the Historical Understanding (London, 1964)Google Scholar; and White, Morton, Foundations of Historical Knowledge (New York, 1965)Google Scholar.

118 Mink, Historical Understanding, 123, original emphasis.

119 Thus the first indication of Mink's turn to narrative was in Nov. 1968, when he suggested as a theme for the interdisciplinary Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan the question of why some narratives are better than others. Fay, Golob and Vann, “Editors’ Introduction”, 16–17. For textual evidence of the influence of Danto and Gallie on Mink's thought see Mink, Historical Understanding, 45–6, 173–7.

120 Those glimpses appear in Mink's criticism of Gallie as failing to see the link between following a story and “see[ing] as intelligible a pattern of relationships”, and in his suggestion that historical and fictional narratives, though comprising different kinds of statement, afforded the same kind of understanding. Mink, Historical Understanding, 137, 123.

121 Danto, Analytical Philosophy of History, 10.

122 Ibid., 142; Mink, Historical Understanding, 139.

123 Danto, Analytical Philosophy of History, 8–11, 142–3.

124 Ibid., 238.

125 Mink, Historical Understanding, 141. This, again, was a Collingwoodian position. Collingwood, The Idea of History, 216 and passim.

126 Mink, Historical Understanding, 141.

127 Ibid., 124, 141.

128 Ibid., 270, 272–3n; Louis O. Mink, “Comment on Stephen Toulmin's ‘Conceptual Revolutions in Science'”, Synthese 17 (1967), 92–9.

129 Mink, Historical Understanding, 92–4, 141–5.

130 Mink, “Knowledge of the Past”, 441; Mink, Historical Understanding, 93, 282. It should be noted that the relevant passage in Mink, Historical Understanding, 282, duplicates Mink, Mind, History, and Dialectic, 191.

131 Mink, Historical Understanding, 98, original emphasis.

132 Ibid., 99, 153.

133 Collingwood, The Idea of History, 9, 5.

134 Ibid., 282.

135 Ibid., 218.

136 For Mink's anxieties about abandoning historical realism see especially his 1972 essay “On the Writing and Rewriting of History” in Mink, Historical Understanding, 92–9.

137 Ibid., 92–9, 203, 90–92, 42–3.

138 See Canary, Robert H. and Kozicki, Henry, “Clio: A Prospectus”, Clio: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 1 (1971), 5Google Scholar; Vann, “Turning Linguistic”, 61.

139 See Gallie, Philosophy and the Historical Understanding, 42–5.

140 Mink, Historical Understanding, 47–8, 137 (quotation at 47–8).

141 Ibid., 48.

142 Ibid., 51–3, 56–7, 58–9

143 Louis Mink to Clive Hart, 25 July 1968, LMP/Wesleyan; Louis Mink, “Application for Grant-in-Aid of Research to American Council of Learned Societies”, 16 Aug. 1972, LMP/Wesleyan. This obsession would find issue in 1978 with Louis O. Mink, Finnegans Wake Gazetteer (Bloomington, IN, 1978), a five-hundred-page reference work in which Mink identified all references to places real or imaginary in Joyce's novel. I owe an understanding of the relevant characteristics of Finnegans Wake to Jocelyn Betts.

144 See Louis Mink, “Project for a Gazetteer of Finnegans Wake”, LMP/Wesleyan; Louis Mink, “River and Mountain”, LMP/Wesleyan.

145 Mink, Historical Understanding, 59–60.

146 Ibid., 60, 55, 183.

147 Ibid., 282–84 (the same passage is in Mink, Mind, History, and Dialectic, 191–3).

148 Collingwood, The Idea of History, 242, 245; Mink, Historical Understanding, 283 (the same passage is in Mink, Mind, History, and Dialectic, 192–93).

149 Mink, Historical Understanding, 283 (the same passage is in Mink, Mind, History, and Dialectic, 283); Collingwood, The Idea of History, 243.

150 Collingwood refers in The Idea of History to the construction of a “convincing narrative” (Collingwood, The Idea of History, 279), but there is no entry in the index for “narrative” or “story.” This is not conclusive, since Collingwood himself did not compile either The Idea of History or its index, but it is fair to say that narrative was at best a recessive theme in Collingwood's own philosophical writing. By way of contrast, Mink's posthumously collected essays contained five lines of index entries for “narration and narrative”: Mink, Historical Understanding, 293.

151 Mink, Louis O., “The Theory of Practice: Hexter's Historiography”, in Malamet, Barbara C., ed., After the Reformation: Essays in Honour of J. H. Hexter (Manchester, 1980), 19Google Scholar.

152 Mink, Historical Understanding, 92.

153 See Carr, David, “Narrative and the Real World: An Argument for Continuity”, History and Theory 25 (1986), 117–31, 118–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Klein, Kerwin Lee, Frontiers of Historical Imagination: Narrating the European Conquest of Native America, 1890–1990 (Berkeley, CA, 1997), 52–3, 105CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Munslow, Alun, Deconstructing History (London, 1997), 140Google Scholar; Carter, Jonathan A., “Telling Times: History, Emplotment, and Truth”, History and Theory 42 (2003), 127, 2, 27–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

154 Mink, Historical Understanding, 182–4.

155 White, Hayden, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Baltimore, MD, 1973), xiiGoogle Scholar.

156 For White as a medievalist see Hayden V. White, “Pontius Cluny, the Curia Romana and the end of Gregorianism in Rome”, Church History 27 (1958), 195–219.

157 Hayden White, electronic correspondence with author, 17 April 2007 and 1 June 2007.

158 White, “Structure”, 19–20. A number of other Minkian themes echoed through Metahistory: the importance of the act of comprehension as opposed to the passive apprehension of the data of perception, the unjustifiability of any claim that a single way of conceiving the world was the only legitimate way, and an emphasis on the historical consciousness as part of culture in general. See White, Metahistory, xii, 30, 433–4, and passim.

159 See Hayden V. White, “Translator's Introduction”, in Carlo Antoni, From History to Sociology: The Transition in German Historical Thinking, trans. Hayden V. White (Detroit, 1959), xv–xxviii; Hayden V. White, “The Abiding Relevance of Croce's Idea of History”, Journal of Modern History 35 (1963), 109–24.

160 Domanska, Ewa, Kellner, Hans and White, Hayden, “Interview: Hayden White: The Image of Self-Presentation”, Diacritics 24 (1994), 91100, 93CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

161 White, “Abiding Relevance of Croce”, 121; cf. Mink, Historical Understanding, 125.

162 Mink did not specifically criticize White in these terms, but he expressed great concern about the collapse of the distinction between history and fiction in general. See Mink, Historical Understanding, 203.

163 Ibid., 125.

164 Ibid., 199, 202–3.

165 For White's commitment to this view see especially Hayden White, “The Burden of History” (1966), in idem, Tropics of Discourse (Baltimore, MD, 1978), 27–50.

166 Mink, Historical Understanding, 125, 55, 85–7, 161–2.

167 Jameson, Postmodernism, ix; Mink, “Reading Finnegans Wake”, 11.

168 White, Hayden, “Historical Pluralism”, Critical Inquiry 12 (1986), 480–93, 487, original emphasisCrossRefGoogle Scholar.

169 Jameson, Postmodernism, 46.

170 In 1993, White described himself as still “stuck in modernism”. Domanska, Kellner and White, “Interview: Hayden White”, 92.

171 The key text here is again Hayden White's “The Burden of History”, in idem, Tropics of Discourse, 27–50.