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Article
Review Article: Could Isidore’s Chronicle Have Delighted Cicero? Using the Concept of Genre to Compare Ancient and Medieval Chronicles
Medieval Worlds (2016)
  • Jesse W Torgerson
Abstract
Richard W. Burgess and Michael Kulikowski’s A Historical Introduction to the Chronicle Genre
from its Origins to the High Middle Ages (Volume I in the authors’ planned series Mosaics of
Time: The Latin Chronicle Traditions from the First Century BC to the Sixth Century AD) posits
that medieval studies has neglected to engage in a systematic, historically-informed reflection
on the genre of chronicles. The present article asserts that this challenge to the field presents
a unique opportunity for an interdisciplinary discussion of wide scope and lasting duration. I
thus argue that Burgess and Kulikowski’s larger points may be reconciled with current scholarship
on medieval chronicles by updating the theoretical premises that underlie our identification
of historical genres. I aim to contribute to the discussion by turning to a consensus
in current theoretical work, that genre is best discussed as a description of the way texts and
their readers communicated. The article concludes by applying this hypothesis to an experiment
in comparison: if it is not the differences but the similarities that stand out when Cicero
and Isidore of Seville’s respective meditations upon chronicles are set side by side, then what
are the implications for our methods of reconstructing the significance of chronicles in their
own milieus?
Publication Date
Summer 2016
Citation Information
Jesse W Torgerson. "Review Article: Could Isidore’s Chronicle Have Delighted Cicero? Using the Concept of Genre to Compare Ancient and Medieval Chronicles" Medieval Worlds Vol. 3 (2016) p. 65 - 82 ISSN: 2412-3196
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jwtorgerson/5/