William Carlos Williams Writing Styles in In the American Grain

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The narrative voice in works of history is central to those works' claims of authority. Generally, historiography (or the writing of history) takes two forms: first-person narrations by people who figured in or lived through the period being described, or third-person narrations in which a historian researches a period by using source materials, interviews, or any other form of evidence and writes about the period without making reference to his or her own role in picking and choosing among this evidence. These two kinds of history are also called, respectively, "primary sources" and "secondary sources."

Each kind of historiography claims authority in a different way. First person histories often capture the details of the time and, when written by the leaders of the organizations involved, can give the reader otherwise unavailable information about the motivations of the players in the drama. However, this kind of history suffers from...

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This section contains 652 words
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In the American Grain from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.