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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 3: 1400-1800$
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José Rabasa, Masayuki Sato, Edoardo Tortarolo, and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199219179.001.0001

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History, Myth, and Fiction

History, Myth, and Fiction

Doubts and Debates

(p.261) Chapter 13 History, Myth, and Fiction
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Peter Burke

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the tangled relations of history, myth, and fiction. It considers the problems of bias and authenticity, and the so-called ‘rehabilitation of myth’. It argues that at the very time that scholars were giving more attention than ever before to distinguishing fact from fiction, other writers were making successful attempts to blur the genres. Ideas and techniques such as the sense of anachronism, the use of footnotes, and the practice of quoting documents supported the verisimilitude of new semi-fictional genres such as secret histories and historical romances as well as works of scholarship.

Keywords:   history, myth, fiction, historical writing, fable, bias, authenticity

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