The problems, purposes, and methods of history writing have been the subject of debate for almost three millennia. Should history be political or philosophical? Is the writing of history an art or a science? What are the limitations of history? This book is an intriguing collection of views on these and other aspects of history writing by eminent Western historians from early Greece to the end of the eighteenth century.
The book contains major texts from 112 historians, both well-known and neglected, ranging from the "mythistories" of Homer and Hesiod to the "reasoned" and "philosophical" accounts of Vico and Voltaire. These texts discuss, for example, theories of historical change, problems of anachronism, narrative, and gender, questions of origins, causation, and historical patterns, and historical criticism. Donald R. Kelley, who selected and arranged the writings, also provides essays and commentary that give background material on the themes of historiography and on the authors included in the book