Friday, 23 August 2019

Bookish Déjà-Vu: Penguin Island by Anatole France

Much like beauty also truth is in the eye of the beholder. This becomes particularly obvious with regard to history because known facts are always subject to interpretation and often allow very different, if not utterly contradictory conclusions to fill inevitable gaps. The factors that influence our view of the past are as myriad as they are manifold and, if we like it or not, they are more or less marked result of individual knowledge and belief. Politicians, notably demagogues gladly take advantage of this bias of historical truth to create their own, suitable version of events past with the help of experts who share their ideas. In the Chronicles of the fictitious country Penguinia, which span from the Middle Ages to a highly technological future, my bookish déjà-vu Penguin Island by Anatole France, recipient of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Literature, satirises historiography at the service of militant patriotism.
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