Saturday, October 24, 2009

On Historical Writing, Or How to Build a Skyscraper

Wonders and Marvels has an interesting essay about historical writing.

From the piece...

I didn’t realize it as I was reading…but I had just learned how to build a skyscraper! And as a native Chicagoan, I can never look at those gargantuan buildings the same way.
I think Cynthia Crossen, who writes the Wall Street Journal’s “Book Lover” column, explains it even better than I do. Take a look at her recent article “Learning While You Read.”

Frankly, I’ve always wondered why more of us in higher education don’t craft more accessible stories. After all, in my classes, I tell stories all the time to lure my students into history (in my case, the history of medicine).

Yet, until recently, I had not found the courage to link research with compelling storytelling in my own writing. And, believe me, it takes courage–bucking as it does some long-standing conventions in academic publishing.

Pictured above: The Cathedral of Learning, at the University of Pittsburgh

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