From the late Middle Ages until well into the nineteenth century, a remarkable number of middle-class men across Europe were chronicling current events in their communities and beyond, thus creating a hybrid type of non-institutional archive that was both local and personal. Such texts were rarely printed in the lifetimes of their authors, but they circulated in the localities and were frequently read and continued by others. Some places had a particularly strong chronicling tradition: cities such as Augsburg and Nuremberg in Germany, Bristol and Norwich in England, Valencia and Barcelona in Spain, Den Bosch and Mechelen in Brabant, or Le Puy-en-Velay and Metz in France had chroniclers in successive generations. Although chronicles did, of course, change over time, the type of information chroniclers selected for inclusion in their texts remained fairly stable, thus enabling us to study the genre across many centuries.

Although...

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