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In the summer of 1996 the first international conference was held on the medieval chronicle, a genre which until then had received but scant attention from historians or specialists in literary history or art history. There are several reasons why the chronicle is particularly suited as the topic of an international conference. In the first place there is its ubiquity: all over Europe and throughout the Middle Ages chronicles were written, both in Latin and in the vernacular, and not only in Europe but also in the countries neighbouring on it, like those of the Arabic world. Secondly, all chronicles raise such questions as by whom, for whom, or for what purpose were they written, how do they reconstruct the past, what determined the choice of verse or prose, or what kind of literary influences are discernable in them. Finally, many chronicles have been beautifully illuminated, and the relation between text and image leads to a wholly different set of questions. It is the aim of the present volume to provide a representative survey of the on-going research in the field of chronicle studies, illustrated by examples from specific chronicles from a wide variety of countries, periods and cultural backgrounds.
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