The celebrated scholar Tzvetan Todorov offers a study examining the complex relationship between "ethics" and "history". Exploring such questions as "How does one measure and experience freedom in the depths of society?" and "How does one practise and measure equality among different societies?", Todorov confronts topics ranging from the conquest of America and 19th-century colonialism, to democracy and conflicts of the "self" versus the "other". As he probes the effects of intercultural relationships and the difficulties inherent to the representation of the other, Todorov describes his own experience as a Bulgarian living in France. He also studies a variety of travel narratives from those of Columbus to Amerigo Vespucci to Lamartine, and he analyzes with great clarity the writings of the "ideologues" of both colonialism and anticolonialism. Offering an urgent call to contemporary intellectuals to re-examine their role in society and to integrate values into their work, "The Morals of History" explores the relationship between facts and values, truth and fiction, interpretation and articulation.
Addressed to a broad audience, it should intrigue readers interested in contemporary discussions regarding the outcome of democracy and the future of late capitalism, the persistence of a logic of conquest and ethnocentrism, and the signs which point to emerging fascisms.