Views on Popular Historians

October 22, 2018 |  Tagged , , | Comments Off on Views on Popular Historians

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Sam Hurley

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 History Engages the Public

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 22 October 2018

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Dr. Antonova

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Views on Popular Historians

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Gregory M. Pfitzer, an American Studies professor, writes over 200 pages of what it means to write popular history and where it has gone towards. His book entitled Popular History and the Literary Marketplace; 1840-1920 observes only a microscopic view on only 80 years of history. It is clear his focus on this particular period introduces the idea of when America was beginning to become world leaders. As results of the Civil War, the Industrial Revolutions, and the Great War, those three important moments in American history has changed the dynamic of what America was from a colony to an independent world power.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Popular history books resemble books like Anne Frank or The Lies My Teacher Told Me. Not always having a wonderful ending, those books share the creative writing styles of non-historians while having a historical reference. Defining popular history has a few blurred lines, nevertheless, for a near accurate definition; it means the author may indulge the ideas and wants of a larger audience while relating to history. Pfitzer’s introduction and table of contents provide what he plans to share in his book, while chapters 1-6 and the conclusion becomes an analytical reference book.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Pfitzer writes that he creates two questions to which is the central purpose of his book. He tells the reader based on the works of Charles Knight eight-volume Popular History of England, Edward Eggleston, Edward S. Ellis, Julian Hawthorne, William Cullen Bryant, and his collaborator, Howard Gay, Huey Long, John Clark Ridpath, Alice Kessler-Harris, and others, he wants the reader to consider “popular histories both as material and as cultural artifacts.” He lays out the groundwork of how history must be reviewed by “first the material, reducing it to their simplest component.” As the book goes on, it develops as a history of popular history through a large number of sources and quotes.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 The number of quotations and sources used showed there was a great deal of work placed into this research and the publication of the book; however, it was hard to find his own personal points. By constantly reading other writers words it is unclear if he had any of his own. He used a quote from Alice Kessler-Harris speaking about social history and writing saying it “was colorful and anecdotal but lacked [an] explanatory capacity.” Ironically, Pfitzer’s book was lacking that explanatory capacity and was unclear at times.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 As a problem with writing through a microhistory, topics are short—which can force the writer or researcher to add and fill in more to meet a criterion. Pfitzer recognized that popular history has always been important and some topics still need discovery or a full explanation. The time presented in the title was for an 80-year span; however, he constantly needed historical evidence past that period or before to support his argument.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Nonetheless, Pfitzer historiography of various popular history authors and their fight writing popular history does shed light on the genre. Whether the book meant to be a popular history book or a book based on the history of popular history, Pfitzer is able to introduce the idea of the quality of books. The quality not only based on the pricing, but the writing style and the intended audiences. This book not only was an analytical reference but an extended critique and book review on works about the academic vs public reception of popular history and its authors.


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