What to make of annals…

While I read “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality,” I became interested that authentic history pulls information from what narrative leaves out. What a narrative consciously eliminates illuminates, to some degree, the historical truth of the speaker. However, I think that there is a fair amount of subjectivity when we go to judge the importance of what is left out. What can we presume has been eliminated, and how do we know it has? Again, we have an issue with the authenticity of historical narrative.

A particular part of this reading stood out to me. The author begins a discussion on annals, history via a list of sparsely-explained events. The example given looks like this:

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When I saw this, my mind immediately jumped here:


Now, I’m set on comparing the authenticity of these two forms of historical records. Are they legit? Our initial reactions to annals tend to be positive because these lists are seemingly unbiased. But, does that mean we can treat our twitter feeds with the same regard? The two look awfully alike to me. However, the author explains that the annal we see in the first picture is not as uninfluenced as we may initially think, for the person who wrote it had the “need or impulse to rank events with respect to their significance for the culture or group” (14). Therefore, there is narrative in the annal because the author of that history is showing us what they consider the most important. So, we can attribute narrative and context to the list, and now even it seems a little biased, less likely to be 100% historically accurate. This idea is reflected by the twitter example above. We probably all consider Twitter feeds to be highly biased narrations that do not hold too much historical truth. This is because the author’s story shines through the text so much that the information is totally saturated with context, so historical accuracy may be completely distorted. If even a simple list of events can be dominated by narrative, how do we discover what was actually true and what was true to the author? And does this truth even exist without its relevant context?




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