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New Historicism: I. What is It? A. still evolving B. commonalities 1. historical consciousness has been lost 2.

all texts are caught in a web of historical conditions, relationships, and influences 3. important historical and political realities lie behind and inform art C. historical criticism disappeared with the advent of New Criticism which precluded that one look at the text only New Historical Critics A. less fact and event oriented wonder whether the truth about anything that happened can every be objectively known B. do not see history as linear and progressive as the old criticism did 1. discarded distinctions between literature, history, and social sciences 2. see reconstruction of the past as it really was to be treacherously difficult we have been conditioned by our place and time to believe that it was a certain way 3. realize that they and all of us see events through preconceived notions so they try to reveal the lenses which we wear Foucaults Influence A. Change comes through power but not in the repressive way that Marx saw it 1. rather it is a result of economic necessity and nationalist Preservation (ex. torture elimination not a result of civilizations growing moral conscience but a need to keep people alive to colonize, have infiltrators and informers) 2. different objectives arose for the further movement of a society




Description What will not be found in these essays. . . .is the assumption, so common in text-centered studies of every type, that literary literary works are self-enclosed verbal constructs, or looped intertextual fields of autonomous signifiers and signifieds. In these essays, the questions of referentiality is once again brought to the fore. McGann A. Assumption of Historicists a. works of literature are simultaneously influenced by and influence reality, broadly defined b. share a belief in referentiality a belief that literature refers to and is referred to by things outside itself B. Process a. study biography and bibliography b. consider the expressed intentions of the author c. study the history of the works reception d. attempts to relate it to his/her own audience


Levensons Article on The Dead a. literature is not independent of history and politics (Ireland) b. the relation between history and the literary life is central to Joyces fiction c. Joyce tried to negotiate a personal conflict between art/aestheticism apart from politics/nationalism and a cultural nationalism which demanded that art participate in the political struggle d. Joyce wanted to refute both extremes and find a third way