If you find history texts daunting, exhausting, and boring look no further. Hans U. Gumbrecht aims to change the game of learning history in his book, In 1926’n’Living on the Edge of Time. Instead of following the same format that many historians pursue, Gumbrecht proposes an unconventional route to make learning history intriguing once again. You may find yourself asking, how do you generate a different history book? Gumbrecht addresses that question and many others in the introduction. From the start he encourages the reader to not read the book from start to finish, which cause the average person slight anxiety since history is usually presented as a hard and fast timeline. But not to worry, the book itself encompasses the year 1926, and Gumbrecht divides the chapters into topics, recreating moments or events, to “conjure some of the worlds of 1926.” By recreating 1926, Gumbrecht hopes to pull the reader back in time with him and rediscover history in a new light.
A new take on history could be beneficial for music historians because sometimes, music historians began at the end or the middle. Music history is a complex history when you break it down. Music historians look at timelines, yes, but also recordings, scores, composers, world events, and cultures. And that just scratches the surface. An unconventional book, like Gumbrecht’s that still makes history coherent even if it is read atypically for a certain topic, like a genre of that time period, could be constructive for a music historian and help them in uncovering all that history holds for them.