Modern Historiography: An Introduction

Modern Historiography: An Introduction

Modern Historiography: An Introduction

Modern Historiography: An Introduction

Synopsis

Modern Historiography is the essential introduction to the history of historical writing. It explains the broad philosophical background to the different historians and historical schools of the modern era, from James Boswell and Thomas Carlyle through to Lucien Febure and Eric Hobsbawm and surveys:* the Enlightenment and Counter Enlightenment* Romanticism* the voice of Science and the process of secularization within Western intellectual thought* the influence of, and broadening contact with, the New World* the Annales school in France* Postmodernism. Modern Historiography provides a clear and concise account of this modern period of historical writing.

Excerpt

Most of this brief account first appeared in 1997 as part of a large-scale study of historiography, edited by the present writer and published by Routledge under the title Companion to Historiography. There were and are strong arguments for leaving it there. The piece had taken shape in an attempt to provide some context for a number of essays aimed at analysing recent currents in historical thinking; and to that extent the self-conscious positioning of trends and schools and moods that the reader will find in this essay defies easy translation into a free-standing survey. It too readily acquires an authorial voice that descants without ground bass or counterpoint such as the sister studies offered in the Companion. Not only that, but the accompaniment of many pieces that had explored the nature of historiography before the onset of the modern era (or had done so in an Asian or Middle-Eastern setting) made it possible to throw those using the Companion into the Enlightenment or romantic period with only a cursory allusion to what had gone before and without any serious comparative ambition. The text assumes, in other words, that the reader is already well down the runway with engines roaring: those still taxi-ing may feel with some justification that they deserve a smoother departure and wish to return to the gentler pace of the larger study.

Perhaps these and other considerations made it necessary that any recommendation to excerpt the piece should come from someone else.

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