The present history of music, Noise, is first of all to be read in the context of a general revival of history, and of a renewed appetite for historiography, after a period in which "historicism" has been universally denounced (Althusser) and history and historical explanation generally stigmatized as the merely "diachronic (Saussure) or as sheer mythic narrative (Levi-Strauss). The richness of contemporary historiography, however, by no means betokens a return to simpler narrative history or chronicle. Rather, the newer work can be seen as the renewal of a whole series of attempts, beginning in the nineteenth century, to write something like a totalizing history of social life, from the "expressive causality" of German Geistesgeschichte, or of Hegel himself, to Spengler or even Auerbach-all the way to the "structural causalities" of a Foucault or of the Annates school.