New Historicist Criticism Essay

New Historicist Criticism Essay-61
Critics might examine the life of the author and look at traditional historical sources like newspaper reports, letters or journal accounts or cast their net more widely to look at medical or penal records, advertisements or other more obscure documentary sources.

Critics might examine the life of the author and look at traditional historical sources like newspaper reports, letters or journal accounts or cast their net more widely to look at medical or penal records, advertisements or other more obscure documentary sources.Analysing this variety of texts alongside literature enables new historicists to find evidence of widespread power structures operating in society.The historian’s own social and cultural context results in potential biases that new historicists argue will be reflected in writings that record history.

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There is no History but histories , that are rampant in the postmodernist era.

It is the writer and the reader who is to decide which is true or correct.

New historicists suggest that all texts, including literature, are complicit in mediating historical, political, social and cultural anxieties whether these anxieties are explicitly discussed or not.

New historicists suggest that as history is always interpreted and written – in other words always textual and a form of narrative – it is not therefore a transparent process, but a practice bound up with the historian’s interpretative subjectivity.

In the present century it is agreed that history depends on who , has recorded the events.

Taking into account the writer , his background and his attitude towards the happenings around him the objectivity assigned to history is now negated.History has always been written by and for the ruling class.A Danish Historian, once said: "Recorded history is the diary of the winning team" ( Rewriting and reinterpreting of history through literature) , or as Salman Rushdie said: "History is the handshake of ...New historicists give equal critical weight to analysing the ways in which literature and historical texts negotiate social and political power.The literary text is not prioritized in any new historicist essay.It is less a theory and more a way of reading or textual practice according to the movement’s leading thinker, Stephen Greenblatt.Greenblatt famously outlined a new historicist mission to ‘speak with the dead’ in his work Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (1980).They then identify potential patterns of subversion that expose networks of power operating across texts.A combined critical focus on literature and historical texts permits the identification of what Greenblatt terms ‘social energies’, which he suggests are encoded across different types of text.Practitioners of new historicism established a pattern for analysis that often begins by citing a single documentary anecdote.The anecdote might initially appear far removed from the concerns of the literary text in question, but by analysing connections across the diverse texts, critics are able to actively expose similar social concerns and power relations in evidence in both.

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