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An introduction

History in the historiographical sense is made by us, not by people in the past, nor by the record of their actions. This book facilitates the critical reading of works of history. It looks at the historical profession, its predilections and traditions. The Whig interpretation of history has been chosen to illustrate the relationship between historiography and a prevalent culture because of its central role in the period when the historical profession began to establish itself in England and because of its continuing popular and political influence. The book acts as a guide to reading historiographical texts, looking at the relationship between 'facts' and 'theories', and at 'meta-narrative' and causation. The book examines the issues of planning and structuring in the process of writing an essay. It offers a guide to the writing of academic history at undergraduate level and to the skills involved, and contrasts this with the non-academic uses of history. The book talks about some gender historians who viewed gender identities as expressions of social change within a wider society. It explores the unique fascination that the Nazis has exercised on both academic and popular historiography, along with the allied study of the Holocaust. The book also explores the works of Marxist historians associated with the Communist Party Historians' Group and considers the earlier approaches to cultural history, as influences on the Group, and the development of newer theoretical positions that developed both out of and in opposition to Marxism. The developments in British historiography are discussed.

Roger Spalding and Christopher Parker

This chapter provides a guide to reading historiographical texts, looking at the relationship between 'facts' and 'theories', and at 'meta-narrative' and causation. The examples are chosen to illustrate the problems inherent in the idea of there being an easy distinction between fact and theory. They include the empiricist-Marxist debate on the French Revolution, class and English social history, and imperialism in the context of globalisation. Historians can be excused for feeling very ambivalent about the relationship between narrative and historical explanation. Narrative often appears to be the lazy way of avoiding a selection of material or the application of reason to a historical problem. Narration can be taken to imply a causal connection between events that are narrated consecutively. A successful narrative always has to have an analytical structure as well; and, in historiography, an analytical approach has an implied narrative, if it is to have any meaning.

in Historiography
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History and historiography
Roger Spalding and Christopher Parker

influence. Additionally, the critique that demolished the Whig influence in academic circles is illustrative of the supposedly professional ‘objectivity’ that displaced it and which was subsequently challenged by more relativist approaches. That chapter concludes with an appreciation of the most recent debates between so-called traditionalist and various postmodern positions. Having established the context in which historical scholarship has to be assessed, we move, in Chapter 3 , to a guide to reading historiographical texts, looking at the relationship between

in Historiography
Victor Skretkowicz

typical of Greek historical method, for which ‘The real presentational parallel is the modern novel, and it is unsurprising that modern narratological techniques, forged for analysing novelistic fiction, are proving so fruitful when applied to ancient historiographic texts’. 34 Plutarch’s biographies remain credible despite his moralistic interventions, skewing of history and fictive

in European erotic romance
From self-representation to episcopal model. The case of the eloquent bishops Ambrose of Milan and Gregory the Great
Giorgia Vocino

considered unique in the Carolingian panorama.63 The strategies employed by its author are comparable and in many points similar to those behind the writing of the De vita et meritis sancti Ambrosii, not least for the stress put on Ambrose’s and Gregory’s constantia. Both hagio-historiographical texts were conceived not as liturgical empire certainly influenced John’s reading of Gregory’s letters to Emperors Maurice and Phocas. For the historical context of those years and further bibliography see K.  Herbers, ‘Rom und Byzanz im Konflikt:  die Jahre 869/870 in der

in Religious Franks
Fintan Lane

revolutionary literature and historiographical text, redolent of the possibilities of its time, it is treated very seriously by many socialists today when they engage in political analyses of the Irish past; moreover, the template it established greatly influenced later socialist historical polemics, most notably Peter Berresford Ellis’s socialist-republican study, A History of the Irish Working Class (1972), explicitly described in its preface as ‘no more than an attempt at expansion and updating’ of Connolly’s ‘classic of Marxist literature’ (Ellis, 1972: 9).4 Indeed, it

in Mobilising classics
Robert Portass

, whether metalwork or stone sculpture. For historians, dating the ‘Viking Age’ is about linking it to events recorded in narratives and other documentary sources. This creates a tension between historical and archaeological approaches to the ‘Viking Age’ which has still not been resolved. The vikings and the ‘Viking Age’ therefore remain very difficult phenomena to identify and explain adequately. For the purposes of this chapter, we will look broadly at the period between around 750 and the twelfth century, when the first historical/historiographical texts were

in Debating medieval Europe