Impartial Stranger: History and Intertextuality in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

By Peter Cosgrove | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
The Genres of the Fact

IF THE NARRATIVE OF THE DECUNE AND FALL IS PROFOUNDLY INFLUENCED BY drama and romance, the footnotes act in some ways as the kind of immediate detail critics require of realist fiction. This phenomenon belies the common assumption that the scholarly apparatus is a pure function of verification where no question of literary strategy arises. The loose barrage of unconnected references seems to render implausible any suggestion of narrative emplotment, and the curious position of the notes at the foot of the page or the back of the book has the effect of making them appear not quite part of the text. Yet an intertextual reading can hardly be satisfied with a notion of the footnotes that presumes that they have some more immediate connection with reality than the rest of the book. The facts and the footnotes through which they are presented, we need to remind ourselves, are also part of the written text. They are one of the multiple drafts of the historiographical consciousness. And if, as in the case of the Decline and Fall, from time to time they diverge from the narrative, we must consider carefully what verification might mean. For one thing, their contention disturbs the neat symmetry between narrative and reference. An apparatus at loggerheads with the narrative will cast doubts on the efficacy of the historical reconstruction. For another, the simple relation between modes of emplotment and unstructured sets of data that seems to fuel so much of historiographical thought will be brought into question. If the apparatus that supposedly conveys references to actual states of affairs in history starts to exhibit propensities to rhetorical intervention in the text, will it not, willy-nilly, come to be suspected as a mode of emplotment or a generic device undermining its own referentiality?

The importance of this issue might be said to rest on the question of frames of reference, embedded modes that intervene between consciousness and experience. To a transcendent entity like the impartial stranger impartiality is sustained by the possibility of a vision beyond frames of reference, a vision that can directly translate facts

-160-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Impartial Stranger: History and Intertextuality in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Contents 9
  • Acknowledgements 11
  • Introduction 13
  • Chapter 1 - Tropes of Transcendence 48
  • Chapter 2 - Pandemonium and Romance 100
  • Chapter 3 - The Genres of the Fact 160
  • Chapter 4 - Translating the Sources: Dialogue or Bricolage? 199
  • Conclusion 252
  • Notes 255
  • Bibliography 273
  • Index 282
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 290

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.