Chris Heaney posted a fabulous two-part series on narrative and personal history over at The Appendix blog last week. Here’s a brief excerpt:
What I want to propose, by saying that ‘narrative is experimental,’ is that there is deep, deep power in how we write; that some of us should embrace ‘big data,’ but others should paddle off into the territory of subjective experience as often as possible. We can explore the strange choices we make when we tell stories of individual lives – especially our own. We can make our historical story-telling compelling and odd. By doing so, we can get to some very humane truths we simply can’t reach through ‘digital humanities,’ which sometimes resembles a ‘black box’ as well.
In other words, historians need to play with genre, form, and voice.
I’d recommend reading the whole thing, and not just because HAW! gets a shout-out in Part 2. (Part 1 here.) And, of course, stay tuned for the first issue of The Appendix, live on the web in late December.