Forwarding and countering are the techniques used for successful academic writing. The main goal of this essay is to show how Robert Rosenstone uses these techniques for discussing the works of other scholars. In order to achieve this goal, the information about these techniques was studied carefully and the chapter of Rosenstone’s book was examined.
The first essay Rosenstone encounters in his chapter Mainstream Drama, is written by Gerda Lerner. In her essay, she analyzes three different films. Lerner tries to judge the films properly, but the essay goes back and forth between the variety of different judgments. Rosenstone provides numerous quotations in order to illustrate the reader her point of view. However, Rosenstone does not agree with Lerner’s critique of the actors’ performance by stating that “who really knows how the actual Joan looked, sounded, or gestured. Here, we can see how Rosenstone counters Lerner by developing a new line of thinking. Rosenstone shows what her text has failed to reveal.
Rosenstone continues by saying that it is quite difficult for historians to consider the historical films. It is very easy for historians to criticize what they see on the screen. However, if historians are asked about what they expect from historical films, they can only say that these films must be true with regard to the facts. Rosenstone states that the historians consider historical films to be books, which are transformed to the screen, and it must do the things in a proper way. However, people must know that the historical films are not only the collection of the facts. These movies also include a drama and a performance. Rosenstone argues that historical films can depict historical events in many ways. These films are extremely powerful at presenting the history not only in a literal and realistic way but also, in Lerner’s words, “poetically and metaphorically”.. He explains in more details what Lerner said in two words. He extends her opinion by describing the statement from his own perspective. Here, we can see how Rosenstone forwards Lerner.
Rosentone argues the idea that different historical events can be presented in a metaphoric way is not the new one. This idea has been the subject of discussions by scholars, namely White and Ankersmit who provided the idea that metaphorical dimension for describing and presenting different historical events is more important than the literal one. Ankersmit suggests that people should pay too much attention to the acquisition of the new knowledge regarding past events, but they must focus primarily on the language, which is used for speaking about these events. However, Rosenstone proposes that Ankersmit has not said anything about the language of films. He states that the language of film can be used in order to speak about the past events. People just need to learn how to read and understand this language. Rosentone forwards these two scholars by borrowing their ideas in order to use these ideas in presenting his own subject. Rosentone is clear about these ideas and shows what he wants to do with them.
Then, Rosenstone speaks about different historical films, but the most dominant one is called Glory. He states that it is a very good film to analyze. There are two reasons for it. Firstly, critics, academics, and the press consider this film to be very important and extremely accurate depiction of its topic. Secondly, this film is the model of the mainstream feature, because it creates a very realistic world. When people watch this film, they feel themselves be the participants of the events, which are depicted. Those people who are highly interested in the accuracy of historical details consider this film to be the most accurate one, because of great description of the topic. James McPherson is the leading historian of the events, which happened during the Civil War. In this essay, McPherson starts with the question of whether films can teach history. Rosenstone argues that Glory is exactly that kind of movie, which can be effective in teaching history. This movie is the first one, which shows people the role of Black soldiers in the Civil War. Moreover, this movie is the most powerful and accurate one about the events of the Civil War. Kenneth Cameron is the famous scholar who likes to criticize such movies because he thinks that they include lots of errors. However, even Cameron suggests that Glory is the exception because this film “sets the record straight – about historical fact, about participation of Blacks in that war, about the manliness of former slaves”. Rosenstone authorizes the ideas of other scholars in order to support his own point of view. He chooses the ideas and thoughts very carefully and uses them for presenting his own point of view.
As the conclusion, it is necessary to state that Robert Rosenstone uses forwarding and countering in a proper way. With the help of these techniques, he manages to analyze the works of other, discuss them, and argue with them. Moreover, analyzing the essay of Robert Rosenstone, we can see that these techniques are essential in writing a professional and academic essay.
Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How To Do Things With Texts. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2006.
Rosenstone, Robert A. "Mainstream Drama". In History On Film/Film On History, 37-55. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2012.