Versions of History from Antiquity to the Enlightenment

Edited by Donald R. Kelley

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The problems, purposes, and methods of history writing have been the subject of debate for almost three millennia. Should history be political or philosophical? Is the writing of history an art or a science? What are the limitations of history? This book is an intriguing collection of views on these and other aspects of history writing by eminent Western historians from early Greece to the end of the eighteenth century.


The book contains major texts from 112 historians, both well-known and neglected, ranging from the “mythistories” of Homer and Hesiod to the “reasoned” and “philosophical” accounts of Vico and Voltaire. These texts discuss, for example, theories of historical change, problems of anachronism, narrative, and gender, questions of origins, causation, and historical patterns, and historical criticism. Donald R. Kelley, who selected and arranged the writings, also provides essays and commentary that give background material on the themes of historiography and on the authors included in the book

"This collection of sources will be of the greatest help to any student of the development of historical thought, and will be of particular use in college classes and graduate seminars concerned with the history of historiography. It is a book of extraordinary interest."—Felix Gilbert, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

"Of interest to students of history, whether novice or advanced. . . . Recommended."—Library Journal

"A collection of readings that illustrates the practices of and views on history writing held by the so-called ‘traditional’ historians from Homer to Condorcet. . . . Kelley has used great care and good judgment."—Choice

ISBN: 9780300047769
Publication Date: August 28, 1991
528 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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