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A chronicle is one of the most basic forms of telling the story of the past. It is a listing of the events as they seem to the chronicler, or writer of the chronicle. In the earliest chronicles, there is little attempt to analyse the events in any sense recognized by a modern historian: there is little sense of comparative importance; of cause and effect; or of literary style - the verb 'to chronicle' is used as a disparaging term of literary criticism to imply 'bald narrative', with the unsophisticated structure of a child telling a story: 'and then ... and then ... and then ...'. (For more on the etymology, see Chronos - cronos.)

It is an error to use chronicle for any meaning to do with chronic.
It is a greater error to use the mis-spelling chronical for any meaning.

The word Chronicle is often used as a title.

  • Students of history, theology and similar subjects may come across several notable chronicles, of which we note a few:
    • Various mediaeval and early modern historians wrote books they called Chronicles , notably
      • Froissart
      • Holinshed
      • Edward Hall[e]
        • and many other mediaeval manuscripts and later printed texts now called Chronicle (or the Latin equivalent Chronicon), such as Thomas Walsingham's Chronicon Angliae, which covers English history 1328-1388; Knighton's Chronicle (covering 959-1136); the Scotichronicon, by Walter Bower, covering Scottish History from the legendary founding of Scotland to 1437 (continuing Fordun's earlier work Chronica Gentis Scotorum, from the foundation till 1153); Jocelyn de Brakelond, whose Chronicle of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds covers c.1173-1202; and the Monk of Westminster's Westminster Chronicle (England, from the [mythical] reign of Brutus to 1516).
        • Ranulf Higden (d. 1364) wrote, in Latin, a history of the known world that he called Polychronicon ('chronicle of many [things]') that was widely copied and used. It was translated into English by John Trevisa (c.1342-1402) and printed by Caxton in 1482.
  • In more recent times,
    • some newspapers and other periodical publications have been called Chronicles, such as
      • The Morning Chronicle, a famous Whig newspaper‚which ran from 1769 to 1862, employing many noteworthy writers as contributors, such as R.B.Sheridan, John Stuart Mill, Charles Dickens and W.M.Thackeray.
      • The [Daily] Chronicle, founded in 1872 as the Daily Chronicle, and renamed the News Chronicle on its merger in 1930 with the Daily News. It (a paper well-known for its left-of-centre stance) was taken over by the Daily Mail (famous for its right-wing views) in 1960, and the title is no longer used.
      • The Zimbabwe Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and The Chronicle, with which are incorporated the Observer and Weekly Mail (formerly the South Australian Chronicle, published in Adelaide, South Australia, from 1895 to 1954), are important in their areas. In Britain, many essentially regional newspapers (often evening papers) have 'Chronicle' as part of their title, such as the Evening Chronicle of Newcastle upon Tyne, the Bath Chronicle and the Northampton Chronicle & Echo. Many societies, schools and other small groups use the title 'Chronicle' for their newsletters and similar publications.
      • Several periodical publications dealing with special interests include the word Chronicle in their titles, such as
        • The Jewish Chronicle of London (weekly), which is the oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper in the world. It was founded in 1841.
        • The Investors Chronicle, which has been published since 1860, and aims to give news and advice for the benefit of people seeking to invest money in stocks and shares.
    • Some modern novels and sequences of novels have been named Chronicles: examples include
      • The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S.Lewis
      • A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, Henry Williamson
      • The Barchester Chronicles of Anthony Trollope
    • Two technical terms are used in literary studies.
  • The verb 'to chronicle' means 'to recount'.
For an etymological note on the origins of chronicle, see Chronos - cronos.