History As A Kind Of Writing: Textual Strategies In Contemporary French Historiography

Hardcover | March 8, 2017

byPhilippe Carrard

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In academia, the traditional role of the humanities is being questioned by the “posts”—postmodernism, poststructuralism, and postfeminism—which means that the project of writing history only grows more complex. In History as a Kind of Writing, scholar of French literature and culture Philippe Carrard speaks to this complexity by focusing the lens on the current state of French historiography.

Carrard’s work here is expansive—examining the conventions historians draw on to produce their texts and casting light on views put forward by literary theorists, theorists of history, and historians themselves. Ranging from discussions of lengthy dissertations on 1960s social and economic history to a more contemporary focus on events, actors, memory, and culture, the book digs deep into the how of history. How do historians arrange their data into narratives? What strategies do they employ to justify the validity of their descriptions? Are actors given their own voice? Along the way, Carrard also readdresses questions fundamental to the field, including its necessary membership in the narrative genre, the presumed objectivity of historiographic writing, and the place of history as a science, distinct from the natural and theoretical sciences.

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In academia, the traditional role of the humanities is being questioned by the “posts”—postmodernism, poststructuralism, and postfeminism—which means that the project of writing history only grows more complex. In History as a Kind of Writing, scholar of French literature and culture Philippe Carrard speaks to this complexity by focusi...

Philippe Carrard is a visiting scholar in the Comparative Literature Program at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Poetics of the New History: French Historical Discourse from Braudel to Chartier and The French Who Fought for Hitler: Memories from the Outcasts. He lives in New Hampshire and Switzerland.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:March 8, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022642796X

ISBN - 13:9780226427966

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

A Note about Translations and Documentation
Acknowledgments
Preface
Introduction: French History and Its Manuals
1 Dispositions
Squabbles about Narrative
Linear Narratives
Writing the Event
Synchronic Cross Sections
Stage Narratives
Theory of a Practice
2 Situations
Enunciations
Perspectives
The Discourse of the Absentee
Readerships
3 Figures
Attestations
References
Computations
Uncertainties
Wordplay and Figures of Speech
Conclusion
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Consistently lucid, admirably balanced, remarkably well informed, and based on an impressively broad and diverse corpus, History as a Kind of Writing captures the textual nature and specificity of contemporary French historiography and constitutes a veritable poetics of that historiographic production. In fact, it does more and contains thought provoking pages addressing the differences between plot and emplotment or between construction and invention, factual and fictional discourse, history and fiction; shedding light on narrative and narrativity or on the image of the reader inscribed in the paratext; discussing the problem of received historical categories or received organizational patterns; and pointing to the epistemological and ideological implications of various existing practices. The book will be of interest not only to historians, poeticians, and students of France, but to humanists and humanistic social scientists in general.”