My Personal Library (30)
Hayden White’s The Content of the Form (1987) is an excellent, though high-brow, treatise on the problems of meaning in different historical epochs. White’s ideas will be useful to future historians when they write about Joseph Muscat’s political legacy.
(Incidentally, in Maltese, the word ‘legacy’ used in this sense should not be translated as legat, but as wirt or eredità. We use legat as a technical term, in the context of successions, if we want to refer to a personal bequest, something bequeathed in a will. When used in its everyday sense, not as legal jargon but to refer to political legacy, legacy is wirt not legat. This linguistic phenomenon is known as interference. One should exercise mental discipline and avoid it.)
Dr Muscat’s political legacy will have a meaning which, if we apply White’s ideas, will reside in “the content of the form”, in the way that future historians will want their present to be the fulfilment of a past from which they will wish to have descended. I’m sure it will be a different past from the one Joseph Muscat is leaving them.