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Writing histories: imagination and narration…
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Writing histories: imagination and narration

by Ann Curthoys

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This book is for anyone wanting to write histories that capture the imagination and challenge the intellect. The commitment to historical accuracy is sometimes seen to limit historians' ability to make their story interesting. This book aims to show that historical narrative and imagination can work together to produce works of history that are a pleasure to read. Nine historians reflect on their work as writers, exploring some of the most difficult and interesting questions any history-writer faces: how to get started, how to find a 'voice', how to enliven a description or a narration, and how to find a worthwhile structure. Contributors also suggest how historians can convey multiple perspectives, 'show' rather than tell, foreground the research process, find inspiration from music, painting and landscape, and use literary techniques such as metaphor. The book will be a useful text for teachers and students in history-writing classes and informal groups. There are suggestions for group exercises, and advice on how to conduct writing workshops. Many historians, however, both students and established writers, will continue to write in relative isolation. This book is also intended for them.… (more)

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