If, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, we can assume that history is constituted as a complex series of narratives – representations – of the past, then we have the foundations upon which we can build our visions of its future. The important point to make here, of course, is that there are always multiple visions rather than one vision of what history is or what it may become. Just as there can never be one authorised version of the past, so there can be no single methodological way of bringing that past to us as history. To sustain a commitment to the ‘time before now’ therefore suggests that we must continually develop our relationship with it and that part of that process of commitment is to dissent from orthodoxies. All historians have, in effect, a duty of discontent.1 Happily, the notion of history as a narrative that can never be merely revised but has, rather, to be constantly rewritten and reimagined is its greatest strength and safeguard against the ‘corruption’ of contentment. To be a historian means at some point to make a break; to make something anew. Historians must be disloyal to some degree precisely to have a larger loyalty to a tradition or a belief system or a theory: up to a certain (radically undecidable) point, to be loyal means not being loyal; to be truly faithful involves a degree of infidelity. Jacques Derrida encapsulates this paradox in a single phrase: ‘to be true to what you follow you have to interrupt the following’.2 There is thus, perhaps, a ‘deeper’ understanding of fidelity at play here: to be a follower of Marx, Nietzsche or Freud, for example, or of the ‘historical’ methods of, say, Annales, empiricism, phenomenology, post-structuralism, hermeneutics and so on, we have to repeat, but always repeat differently. We are all, therefore (in certain degrees), simultaneously acolytes of history and revisionists, followers and rebels, believers in old things and celebrators of the new, conformists and dissenters; each of us full of both reiterations and innovations.