Artisans of Glory: Writers and Historical Thought in Seventeenth-Century France

Artisans of Glory: Writers and Historical Thought in Seventeenth-Century France

Artisans of Glory: Writers and Historical Thought in Seventeenth-Century France

Artisans of Glory: Writers and Historical Thought in Seventeenth-Century France

Synopsis

Ranum analyzes the canons of writing history and describes the lives and achievements of the royal French historiographers. He examines the manner in which these writers described and, in some sense, created the glory that surrounded the lives of the nobility, hoping by so doing to enhance their own glory. Through studying the careers of these men, the author demonstrates how rhetorical, ideological, and social beliefs determined the way history was written.

Originally published in 1980.

Excerpt

In 1965 the annual meeting of the American Historical Association was held in San Francisco. Having decided to attend, I left New York by train. For my reading as I traveled across the country I took along Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s A Thousand Days. The book and the hours of reflection upon it afforded by train travel inspired what follows.

The interest expressed in my work by colleagues and friends over the years has been very important to me. Richard Hofstadter was among the first to express curiosity about the roles writers and history played in seventeenth-century France. My colleagues in the Johns Hopkins History Seminar, David Donald, Jack P. Greene, Kenneth S. Lynn, J. G. A. Pocock, and Nancy Struever, have been particularly helpful. Felix Gilbert, Clifford Geertz, John Elliott, a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and a leave from Hopkins were indispensable in the middle years of the project. I also benefited from the many helpful criticisms given by William F. Church, Richard Golden, Herbert Rowen, and Gabrielle Spiegel. An earlier fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and a leave from Columbia University permitted me to do much of the basic research. Philippe Ariès, first as author of Le temps de l'histoire and then as critic and friend, has encouraged me by continually asking when the manuscript would be finished. Over the whole work looms Donald Kelley's scholarship; its importance cannot be sufficiently acknowledged by the frequent citations to his works. Paul Saenger, Mrs. Morton L. Deitch, Georges Dethan, and Le Comte d'Adhémar de Panat continued, as always, to offer answers to my questions. Patricia M. Ranum became a collaborator many years ago: her understanding, common sense, and help have been unstinting all along. My editor, Lewis Bateman, expressed interest in the manuscript almost from the beginning and has been helpful to the end. Trudie Calvert remained courteous and helpful throughout what the French call the toilette du manuscrit. The give and take in the discussion over the merits and weaknesses in the rules for citation developed by The University of Chicago Press prompted compromises without changing convictions.

1 June 1979 O.R. Baltimore . . .

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