New Historicism

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What do you understand to be distinctive (and specifically new historicist) about New Historicist approaches to literature?

This question asks us two things. Firstly, it asks us what is distinctive about the New Historicist approaches to literature, so this implies explaining the New Historicist approach carefully and thoroughly. It also asks what is particularly new about the New Historicist approach to literature. This implies that the Old Historicist approach needs to be compared with the new. The Historicist approach to literature was prior to a style called ˜The New Criticism', which is post ˜New Historicist'. This ˜New Criticism' therefore also needs some explaining. I will refer to the texts that I have been reading during this module in order to give examples of these different types of criticism.

Historicist criticism is generally considered as a type of criticism that was used in the period prior to the 1940's. It was characterised by its attention to the era or historical surroundings that the piece of work was written in. Historical criticism looks for the truth about the past in the text and the information it provides about the people and events that it describes in thei... Continue Reading