The Wider World of Chronicling

Daniel Woolf

in The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199565757
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The Wider World of Chronicling

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This chapter presents a broad historiographic sketch of events happening in other parts of the world, during the half a century or so on either side of the Holinshed, focusing on East Asia and the Islamic world (including Mughal India). It provides a brief landscape of the Eurasian historiographic world c.1580, and offers some comparisons between English, Western European, and Asian forms of history writing, and the political and social contexts within which they arose. The chapter concludes by citing two reasons to study trends in historiography around the world. First, individuals doing careful analysis of Holinshed may see the text of the chronicles in a slightly different light, just as new world discoveries in the sixteenth century forced a rethinking and adjustment of the Judeo-Christian master narrative. Second, we can glean a broader understanding of many of the issues confronting late sixteenth-century historians and their readers in England by the commonality of questions of style and form, of the conditions of writing, of the relation between orality and text, of the development of scepticism, and of the tension between the individual author, collaborative writing teams, and court or State influence over the representation of the past.

Keywords: historiography; East Asia; world history; Islamic world; Mughal India; history writing

Article.  6577 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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