The response given to C.G. Hempel's well-known challenge by Arthur Danto in his Analytical Philosophy of History of 1965 - that deductive-nomological and narrative explanations are logically compatible yet employ incommensurable schemata - is here investigated from a historical perspective. It is shown that the developmental trajectory that emerges from an analysis of Danto's previous writings - including not only a forgotten paper of 1958 but also his PhD dissertation of 1952 - contains distinctive step-changes with publications of 1953 and 1956 still prior to that of 1958-59 which enabled his subsequent discovery of narrative sentences. It is also argued that Danto's developmental trajectory runs contrary to that presumed by some prominent commentators. Analytical History of Philosophy was not the midpoint of his ascent from mainstream philosopher of science to high priest of postmodern aesthetics, but represents a reasoned retreat from his early historical idealism.