Offering a unique perspective on the very notions and practices of storytelling, history, memory, and language, Clio’s Laws collects ten essays (some new and some previously published in Spanish) by a revered voice in global history. Taking its title from the Greek muse of history, this opus considers issues related to the historian’s craft, including nationalism and identity, and draws on Tenorio-Trillo’s own lifetime of experiences as a historian with deep roots in both Mexico and the United States. By turns deeply ironic, provocative, and experimental, and covering topics both lowbrow and highbrow, the essays form a dialogue with Clio about idiosyncratic yet profound matters.
Tenorio-Trillo presents his own version of an ars historica (what history is, why we write it, and how we abuse it) alongside a very personal essay on the relationship between poetry and history. Other selections include an exploration of the effects of a historian’s autobiography, a critique of history’s celebratory obsession, and a guide to reading history in an era of internet searches and too many books. A self-described exile, Tenorio-Trillo has produced a singular tour of the historical imagination and its universal traits.