The Historian as Accidental Poet

G. O. Sayles (1901–1994) payed out, volume by volume, a lifetime over the king’s bench rolls at the UK Public Records Office, now The National Archives. His is the second life, consumed by those rolls, and that’s only up to Henry V.[1] Several more will be claimed, I am sure, by the vastly more numerous records of the later kings and queens who sat, figuratively if not literaly, in propre persona.
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Writing out of context

Years ago, someone on CBC radio mentioned an obscure literary contest, which I have never managed to identify, that awarded prizes for the most poetic and aesthetically pleasing non-fiction prose. What made this contest special was that the contestants were entirely unaware of the competition and their non-fiction work was usually the sort of grey literature of departmental reports or technical writing that no-one expects to be poetic, or even readable.

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