To learn what people worry about in history:

L'histoire et ses methodes, sous la direction de Charles Samaran.Encyclopedie de la Pleiade 11 (Paris: Gallimard, 1961).
A great book; even the index is worth translating for yourself.

Patrick Gardiner Ed., Theories of History, (London: Allen & Unwin, 1959).
May be an unfriendly publisher, but good.

For those not up on their dates, etc. there is

Werner Stein  Kulturfahrplan, rev. ed., (Berlin: Herbig, 1963), translated to English by Bernard GrunTimetables of History,  (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1975), also available on CD-ROM.

The standard large series, such as Propylaeen and Delorme are useful now and again. For wordier information:
Will and Ariel Durant, The Story of Civilization. You can find volumes of it in almost any used bookstore, but it is also available on CD-ROM from World Library, Irvine, CA (1994), since you will probably not be using it to read.

If you can find a copy of Louis John Paetow, A Guide to the Study of Medieval History, Rev. ed. (New York: Kraus Reprint Corp., 1959; repr. of 1931 book), cheap, buy it and keep it. He was one of the good ones. There is a supplement:
Gray Cowan Boyce, Literature of Medieval History, 1930-75 (NY: Kraus, 1981).

A recent quick overview you might like: Alfred Heit & Ernst Voltmer, Bibliographie zur Geschichte des Mittelalter (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1997).

If you want more info. on bibliographies, handbooks and the like, see the latest edition of Winfried Baumgart, Bücherverzeichnis zur deutschen Geschichte (also DTV). He lists the `standard' works by language and country.

I also like the New Cambridge Medieval History, 7 vols. (1995-1999), some of the authors of which are Medtextlers, so what's not to like? Also good bibliographies.  With these in hand, you have a firm foot, like our friend Dante.

Other Medtextlers Recommend:

Franz-Josef Schmale: Funktionen und Formen mittelalterlicher Geschichtsschreibung - Eine Einführung mit einem Beitrag von Hans-Werner Goetz, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1985.

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Ursula Link-Heer, and Peter Spangenberg, Eds, Grundriss der Romanischen Literaturen des Mittelalters. 4 vols (Heidelberg: Winter 1987-1993). The texts are in German, English and French - the volumes of the GRLMA contain a fresh methodological assessment, using Hayden White, Koselleck and Annales-historiography as well as a philological documentation of the extant texts in the Romance languages. The 2nd "Teilband" by the latinist Heinz Hofmann is a monography on Latin historiography of the Middle Ages.

Herbert Grundmann`s Geschichtsschreibung im Mittelalter (Vandenoeck and Ruprecht: Gottingen, 1965) -- Provides a nic outline of the varieties of medieval historiography

M. D. Chenu`s essay on Medieval Historiography in La theologie au douzieme siecle (1957) is also worth reading. English trans: M. D. Chenu, "Theology and the New Awareness of History," Nature, Man, and Society in the Twelfth Century. Jerome Taylor and Lester K. Little, Eds. and Trans. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997): 162 - 201.

On the theme of chronicles as literature: There is a good bibliography by Roger Ray on medieval historiography in
F. A. C. Mantello and A. G. Rigg, Medieval Latin. An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide. (Catholic University of America Press, 1996): 639-649.

Cf. also: Speros Vryonis, Jr.,ed., Readings in Medieval Historiography (NY: Houghton-Mifflin, 1968).
There is a Bibliotheque de la Pleiade volume on "Les grands Chroniqueurs," which has a few words to say on the subject.

See also, Dieter Berg and Hans-Werner Goetz,  Eds.,Historiographia mediaevalis. Studien zur Geschichtsschreibung und Quellenkunde des Mittelalters. Festschrift fur Franz Joseph Schmalle zum 36. Geburtstag. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1988). (Schmalle's critical works and editions are generally excellent and worth looking into.)


Jean-Philippe Genet, Ed., L'historiographie medievale en Europe. Actes du colloque organise par la Fondation Europeenne de la Science au Centre des Recherches Historiques et Juridiques de l'Universite Paris I du 29e mars au 13er avril 1989. (Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1991).

A. Scharer and G. Scheibelreiter, Eds., Historiographie im fruhen Mittelalter. (Vienna/Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1994).

See also the general intro in Ernst Breisach, Historiography Ancient, Medieval & Modern, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1994).