The aim of this book is very simple. It is to explain how historians make, and specifically, write history. By that I mean what ‘rules’, ‘procedures’, ‘figurative’ and ‘compositional techniques’ do historians follow and what decisions do they make in order to turn ‘the past’ into that narrative about it we choose to call ‘history’? It follows from what I have just said that the basic assumption behind the book is that history is a form of narrative written by historians. Professional historians are generally well aware of the construction of historical explanations - especially the basics of hunting out the sources and the most appropriate ways to work out what they mean. Indeed, many historians have written at length about the techniques of source analysis and inference. However, discussions of the nature of history as a narrative-making exercise have primarily been left to a few philosophers of history who have an interest in what seem to be matters largely irrelevant to practitioners who actually do the job. Because of this deficiency, I offer in this book an introduction to the nature of the history narrative. That requires that I outline the rules of, and functional relationships that exist in, the actual writing of history as a narrative form. I will be illustrating this mainly from twentieth-century historiography.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number