Chapter 7. Analogy in history

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Over the last few decades, there has been a remarkable spate of interest for history. Thus, this academic discipline has been tackled for the captivating copresence of narrative and argumentative components in professional historians’ scientific prose. Additionally, a few attempts have been made to classify the most widely spread forms of argument. However, in spite of the inspiring nature of available studies, only tangentially have scholars examined the inherently textual dimension of historical argumentation. The aim of this paper is thus to bring insights into the linguistic construction of argumentation in historical text, by choosing argument by analogy as a case in point. The study is based on a corpus of authentic research articles taken from specialised journals. By combining quantitative with qualitative methods, findings show that the reiterated expression of analogy serves as a clue to understand some crucial features of the organisation of historical text, e.g. the formulation of the writer’s own evaluation and the overall fleshing out of the meta-discursive substance characterising the interactive plane of historical text. The thesis argued here is that analogy is a chiefly interactive device, which combines with a set of discursive tools securing a fruitful relationship between writers and readers in the development of historical narrative and argument.


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