The Chinese tradition of historical writing is rich and complex. That tradition is outlined here from its earliest appearance in such canonical texts as Shangshu, Chunqiu, and Zuozhuan down to the establishment of the Tang Bureau of History in 629 and the completion of Liu Zhiji’s masterful book-length study of Chinese historiography in 710, a text that provides much of the framework for the discussion. The chapter explores such issues as the tension throughout this period between official historical writing, sponsored by the ruler and sometimes sustained by the government bureaucracy, and historical texts produced by private parties; the search for appropriate forms to recount the past; and the boundaries of “histories” in early Chinese systems of bibliographic classification.
Christina Shuttleworth Kraus
Like other genres in antiquity, the various prose forms of Roman historiographical narrative had certain formal attributes and aroused certain expectations. But just as it is impossible to get a full sense of its function and meaning by considering only one side of a coin, so it is a mistake to also separate rigorously ‘historiography’ from ‘biography’. For, though ancient authors were conscious of, and sometimes indeed formulated, distinctions between historia and uita, those distinctions – like other generic and sub-generic boundaries – were more honoured in the breach (or the ‘Kreuzung’) than the observance. Through the analogy of the coin, this article explores the similarities as well as the differences in these two literary modes with which the Romans preserved their cultural memory. Comparisons are made in terms of form, content, and purpose.