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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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Italian Renaissance Historical Narrative

Italian Renaissance Historical Narrative

(p.347) Chapter 17 Italian Renaissance Historical Narrative
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

William J. Connell

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the emergence of a distinctive narrative genre for writing history during the early Renaissance in Italy, which became the ancestor of much of today's historical writing. Renaissance historians emphasized human rather than divine agency. They experimented with historical periodization, developing what would become the standard framework of ‘ancient, medieval, and modern’ still used in most retellings of European history. They also claimed to base their histories on the comparative, critical examination of sources, which included not only written narratives and the accounts of eyewitnesses but also archival documents, physical remains, and inscriptions.

Keywords:   Italian historical writing, historiography, Renaissance historians, historical periodization

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