Napoleon Series Archive 2003

Re: Bad History
In Response To: Re: Bad History ()

I’ve been following this discussion and like the rest of you, have found it fascinating reading. It seems that every generation has to re-invent the art of writing history, both in style and function.

And of course, how much of bad history is simply bad writing or inept historiography? The many authors can’t all be Muir’s or Smith's or Urban’s or Duffy’s, just as all published novelists can’t all be Nora Roberts or Dean Koontz. There’s no cure for that. To be fair to Petre, he was writing for a far different audience both culturally and chronologically. Any number of military history books written at the same time as Petre’s use the identical forms for describing army movements and battles

There are period ‘templates’ and expected forms to writing in past generations that we current readers all find ‘turgid’ to say the least. I’ve been reading some British histories written by contemporaries of Wellington. Gad Zooks, what a convoluted lot they were. They seemed to think the only sentences worth writing were the ones that used up half a page and twenty commas.

Now having said that, the questions that have been tossed around about “bad history” here have ALL been addressed by historians and researchers. The questions are really either technical or one concerning the author’s goals. For instance, the reasons for using footnotes and when they are ‘necessary’ has gotten a lot of attention by historians. It’s not surprising, as intellectual tools, they have been a pain in the butt for more than two centuries. There are a number of works that deal with the issues, but I have never seen a better presentation of the issues and solutions that the 1959 book, “The Modern Researcher” by Barzun and Graff.

While there are hundreds of valid reasons for writing history and a hundred different approaches, the technical aspects are fairly uniform and limited. They are not all clearly addressed and answered, to be sure, but most are. No point in reinventing the wheel.

Bill H.

Messages In This Thread

Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Better History 101
Re: Better History 101
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Bad History and Relativism
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Rory Muir's "Salamanca".
Early Christmas
Re: Quotes
Re: Early Christmas
Re: Early Christmas
Limits of Narrative
Re: Limits of Narrative
Feu de Joie for Rory Muir
Why Write History?
How We Grow
Re: How We Grow
Re: How We Grow
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Right Angle
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Footnoting
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... Left Angle
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Only 'quite intelligent'?
Re: Only 'quite intelligent'?
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Audiences
Re: Audiences
Follow Ups or Spin Offs
Re: Follow Ups or Spin Offs
Re: Audiences
Re: Right Angle
Re: How We Grow
Reach for your Swords !
Re: Reach for your Swords !
"Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Re: "Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Re: "Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Long Footnotes
Re: Reach for your Swords !
Fair Points
When I was child, I spoke as a child
In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: Limits of Narrative
The Pits
Re: Limits of Narrative
And Good, Durable History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Good Military History