History is a narrative discourse, full of unfinished stories. This collection of innovative and experimental pieces of historical writing shows there are fascinating and important new ways of thinking and writing about the past. The pieces illustrate the performative and fictive nature of history, that point to new ways of thinking about the past.
Fourteen engaging and thought-provoking pieces lead the reader to a deeper understanding of some of the possible responses to the question 'What is history?', and even suggest that this traditional question might be better replaced with a new question, 'How shall I engage with the past today?'. The collection includes subjects as diverse as a lynching in South Carolina, the life of an eighteenth century French Marquise and a journey to a string of Pacific islands. The pieces show what is possible in doing history, and demonstrate how other factors, such as the impact of emotions, the feeling of 'otherness', the confining character of boundaries, authorial subjectivity, and even a sense of boredom with conventional ways of doing history, intrude on historical practice.
As well as being a compelling read, the book includes a thorough two-part introduction on theory and practice, as well as further introductory matter at the start of each section to allow the reader to engage fully with the theoretical aspects of each part of the book. This book should be read by all those with an interest in history and its theory.