The emperor Honorius, whose reign was not adequately explained until the current historical theory came into fashion.
Dear Dr. Boli: I was speaking with an academic of my acquaintance, a professor of history in fact, who told me that the histories written in the nineteenth century and before are all out of date and useless now, because they subscribed to the “Great-Man Theory” of history, which he said is now completely discredited. Is that true? I ask because I was preparing a new edition of a little history of the world in five books that I published some time ago, but if it is of no use to the public I shall not bother to reissue it. —Sincerely, W. Raleigh.
Dear Sir: Your informant is correct in saying that the “Great-Man Theory” of history, which posited that history was largely a record of the deeds of certain “great men” who guided the destinies of nations, has been almost unanimously rejected by academic historians of the current generation. It has been superseded by the “Arrogant-Imbecile Theory,” which assumes that history is largely a record of the gross miscalculations of a series of arrogant imbeciles. This is a theory that was first enunciated by Dr. Boli himself some time ago, but he is a little reluctant to claim it and take his own place in history, given the current academic climate, for which he himself is partly responsible.