Hayden White once taught that history is a collection of stories told through narrative structures that encode political ideologies regardless of any given historian’s methodological objectivity. Because history can never be raw data, it must be organized by tropological grammars, and therefore is open to the interpretations of literacy criticism. This is now something of a commonsense claim for literary critics and historians alike (whatever differences exist concerning its epistemological implications), but its seeming obviousness can belie the totalizing force of the concept of narrative exercises in White’s and subsequent works of historiography. Is narrative all that is communicated when one reads history or experiences it in another medium? Were positivist historians so blind to the effects of form on their productions? Are there no fault lines within the material objects of history that communicate counternarratives to overt ideologies of nationalism and...

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