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What Is Microhistory?


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Table of Contents

Part I (Istvan M. Szijarto) Introduction: Against simple truths. Chapter 1: Italian microhistory. Chapter 2: Under the impact of microstoria: the French and German perspective. Chapter 3: Microhistory in a broader sense: the Anglo-Saxon landscape. Chapter 4: The periphery and the new millennium: answers and new questions. Part II (Sigurdur Gylfi Magnusson) Chapter 5: The doctor's tale: the living and the dead. Chapter 6: Refashioning of famous French peasants. Chapter 7: New and old theoretical issues: criticism of microhistory. Chapter 8: A West Side story, and the one who gets to write it. Postscript: To step into the same stream twice. References. Extended Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

Sigurdur Gylfi Magnusson is currently the chair of the Center for Microhistorical Research at the Reykjavik Academy ( and Dr. Kristjan Eldjarn Research Fellow at the National Museum of Iceland. He is the author of seventeen books and numerous articles published in Iceland and abroad. His previous publications include Wasteland with Words. A Social History of Iceland (2010). Istvan M. Szijarto is Associate Professor in the Department of Economic and Social History at Lorand Eoetvoes University, Hungary. He is the author of three books and several articles published in Hungary and abroad. His previous publications include Experience, Agency, Responsibility. The Lessons of Russia's Microhistory (2011).


'The voices of two authors combine in this important analysis of the evolving character of microhistory. This study guides the reader through the achievements of microhistory to date. It also offers a thought-provoking perspective on the potential for microhistory to continue to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past."

Graeme Murdock, Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland

"...[Szijarto's] achievement is impressive; he displays a useful familiarity with scores of publications treating widely divergent periods and places...Magnusson's exploration of the possibilities and limitations of microhistory is original and daring."

Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut in The American Historical Review

"...[Szijarto and Magnusson] both argue for a method understood in epistemological terms, and their ultimate answer to the question that their book bears as a title is that microhistory is the method, and probably the right one, to gain reliable knowledge of the past."

Zoltan Boldizsar Simon, University of Bielefeld

"Magnusson's and Szijarto's book is one of the first comprehensive introductions to microhistorical theory. They show that microhistory has not only been a temporary fashion and that it should be respected as a fully-fledged historical research method... The book is intended to stimulate new debate about the position of microhistory in current historiography."

English Historical Review

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