chapter  7
34 Pages

Censure and censorship, rhetoric and probabilism

History on the threshold of the Enlightenment
ByVictoria Pineda

On the threshold of the Enlightenment, a new ‘scientific’ or ‘critical’ approach to history coexisted with a more traditional rhetorical orientation. This chapter examines Antonio de Solís’s Historia de la conquista de México (1684) as a perfect example of how eloquence was used to give shape to the new historiographic methods. The rhetorical models embedded in the practice of history writing functioned as tools of censure and censorship, pointing out the limits of historical discourse and suggesting paths of interpretation for the readers. Special attention is devoted to Solís’s ideas about probabilism, which are in turn associated with the possibility of historical knowledge.