Chronicles, Memory, and Autobiography in Reformation England

19 Jan 2018

This article argues that reports of ‘the death of the chronicle’ in the early modern period have been exaggerated. Through a close analysis of three manuscript chronicles from Worcester, Chester and Shrewsbury, it underscores the vitality and creative evolution of the genre against the backdrop of religious, cultural, and technological changes that seriously challenged traditional structures and patterns of memory and commemoration. It explores their role as a mechanism for remembering a contentious recent past and considers how they functioned as a repository or archive of public and private information created by their compilers to be transmitted down the generations. It also probes the relationship between the chronicle and contemporary forms of life-writing that have been described as ‘diaries’ and ‘autobiographies’.