The Historian’s Craft
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The work explores the craft of the historian from a number of different angles and discusses what constitutes history and how it should be configured and created in literary form by the historian. The scope of the work is broad across space and time: in one chapter, for instance, he cites a number of examples of erroneous history-writing and forgeries, citing sources as wide-ranging as the Commentaries of Julius Caesar and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. His approach is one that is configured not for those who are necessarily professional historians themselves (members of what he referred to as ‘the guild’) but instead for all interested readers and non-specialists. Bloch also expressed the viewpoint that the craft of the historian should not be a judgemental one-that the historian should attempt to explain and describe rather than evaluate in normative terms. At one stage in the work, for instance, Bloch observes that “the mania for making judgements” is a “satanic enemy of true history.” Marc Bloch was a mediaeval historian, University Professor and French Army officer. Bloch was a founder of the Annales School, best known for his pioneering studies French Rural History and Feudal Society and his posthumously-published unfinished meditation on the writing of history, The Historian’s Craft. He was captured and shot by Gestapo during the German occupation of France for his work in the French Resistance.
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