Talking medieval philosphy with Ian Mortimer

The Medievalists' Network website has posted an interview with Dr. Ian Mortimer, author of The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century.

When asked about his philosophy of writing history and how it affected his latest work, Mortimer writes:

In The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England I designed the whole book around the interests of a theoretical reader, prioritising his/her questions over the evidence. In 1415: Henry V’s Year of Glory I designed the book to be a day-by-day account of Henry V in that year. This approach is radical, and no academic would employ it; yet it avoids many of the criticisms that postmodernists level at historians: for example, that historians ’select their evidence’ and neglect conflicting evidence, or ‘arrange their evidence to suit their argument’. In 1415 I laid out every detail of every event I could find in relation to Henry V on the calendar day on which it took place. So in these two books, Time Traveller’s and1415, you have two very different ways of writing history, both of which are heavily referenced and connected to their source material yet which are both aimed at a mass readership. And there are many, many other ways of doing this. Traditional academia is enormously restrictive and - to the general public’s mind - hugely difficult to understand or enjoy.