I was just referred to this article by Aaron Diaz (creator of Dresden Codak).
One of Isaac Asimov's most important essays is entitled "Lost in
Non-Translation", published in the unfortunately out-of print collection
"The Tragedy of the Moon". It points out that simply presenting stories
and parables in a historical context robs them of the power that they
had for people for whom that context wasn't history.
folks, you'll have to get it in paper form, it's not available
digitally. It's a shame, this book contains some of his best non-fiction
works. The other books containing this essay are also out-of-print and
(in an ideal world Baen would have the rights and it would be in the Free Library, I consider this essay that important)