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Writing Histories: Imagination and Narration



We are delighted that Monash University ePress is republishing Writing Histories: Imagination and Narration as a print and an e-book. Electronic publication will enable it to reach a larger audience. We are grateful to Monash Publications in History for publishing the book in the first place. Since that time, it has reached a diverse audience. This is so, we think, because there are few books quite like this one. There are many guides to writing history essays and theses, and to writing particular kinds of history—family, local, church, and company history, to mention those most likely to attract writing guides—but there are few that aim to assist in the writing of general and academic histories. We hope this republication assists a new generation of budding historians to participate in the adventure of mind and imagination that is the writing of history.

We have updated the reading guide and bibliography to include material published since the book’s first edition. In Australia and internationally, the discipline has undergone many significant changes since 2000, including the ‘history wars’, the debates around history and fiction prompted by Kate Grenville’s The Secret River, and the moves towards transnational history. The reading guide now includes some of the main texts from these developments. It also has several books that have appeared since their authors reflected in this volume on the writing challenges they presented.

Finally, we note with great sadness the passing of one of our contributors, Greg Dening, in 2008. Greg had a long and distinguished career as an historian of international reputation, but we knew him mainly towards the end of his career, when he conducted many workshops for PhD students at the Australian National University and elsewhere. He inspired his students, and indeed his peers, to have faith in their projects, believe in the value of history generally, realise that historical writing is always a performance, and aim high in their writing. We dedicate this electronic edition of Writing Histories: Imagination and Narration to him.

Ann Curthoys

Sydney, February 2009

Ann McGrath

Canberra, February 2009

Writing Histories: Imagination and Narration

   by Ann Curthoys and Ann Mcgrath