History is the long struggle of man, by exercise of his reason, to understand his environment and to act upon it. But the modern period has broadened the struggle in a revolutionary way. Man now seeks to understand, and act on, not only his environment, but himself; and this has added, so to speak, a new dimension to reason and a new dimension to history.
Reading. The erotics of reading for me -- its moment of trembling pleasure -- lie in those times when I realise that what I am reading is just what I was about to say. It is a moment of jealousy and disappointment, as if the occasion had been stolen from me, but it is a moment of excitement, too -- because I think I would like to try and say it better, because now the monologue in my mind has become dialogue. My immediate impulse is to write something, anything, notes to tell me the significance of what I have read, an appreciative letter to the author, the first sentences in a preface to a book that will never be written. Th archives of my readings are monumentally high. I can never let these erotic moments go. They are the paper trail of my mind.
The person who expects to understand history must submerge himself in it, must get rid of patriotism, as well as bitterness. And especially in studying a historic life that consists in insecurity must the historian rid himself of all insecurity. He must accept the totality of the data in all their fullness, the noble with the paltry, thinking of how the two interlock.