A Historian on his Working Method

Here. He begins this way…

It never helps historians to say too much about their working methods. For just as the conjuror’s magic disappears if the audience knows how the trick is done, so the credibility of scholars can be sharply diminished if readers learn everything about how exactly their books came to be written. Only too often, such revelations dispel the impression of fluent, confident omniscience; instead, they suggest that histories are concocted by error-prone human beings who patch together the results of incomplete research in order to construct an account whose rhetorical power will, they hope, compensate for gaps in the argument and deficiencies in the evidence.

I’d be interested to see what happens if someone tried to write a philosophy text almost wholly online before publication—through a series of blog posts.  (Levi Bryant may be the closest.) I’ve talked to some students about my own methods of writing but I don’t remember getting a point-by-point talk like that when I was a student…

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2 comments on “A Historian on his Working Method

  1. [...] is a terrific piece on the mechanics of historical research, written by Keith Thomas, here. Both Peter Gratton and Adrian Ivakhiv have posted about this already. I do think of myself as a historian of sorts, and [...]

  2. [...] musings, quotationsTags: Desktop based blog, Search engines, Using blogs for research Hat tip Gratton for this link to Keith Thomas writing about his methods in research as a historian.  This topic [...]

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