We are accustomed to think of the intellectual history of Europe in terms of the history of philosophy, of science and religion, of art, literature and of ideas of social order and political authority. But the history of ideas about the past, as expressed in historical writing, and how the present stands in relation to it, is also part of that history. . . [A History of Histories xvii]
I’ve been doing some background thinking about historiography lately. One of the things I’m doing to stimulate that thinking is reading John Burrow’s 2007 book A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century. I’m only a couple of chapters into it but so far it reads like a novel and makes one think like mad. I do have a quibble or two about his Prologue, “Keeping Records and Making Accounts: Egypt and Babylon.” But so far even the quibbles are stimulating.