New Historicism

By students of 541 gr.:
Malova Daria
Alina Kovalenko
Dovhan Tamila
Zhbadinska Anna
Shults Tetiana
Drizo Ivan
Ivanytska Liza
New Historicism
 is a method based on the parallel reading of
literary and non-literary texts, usually of the
same time period;
 is a school of literary theory which combines
critical theory into easier forms of practice for
academic literary theorists of the 1990s.
New Historicism
 is all about paying close attention to the
historical context of the literary works. After
all, play, poems, novels in general area
product of the specific time and place.
 is an approach to
literary criticism and
literary theory based on
the premise that a
literary should be
considered a product of
time, place and
historical circumstances
of its composition
rather than as an
isolated work of art or
Stephen Greenblatt
 American literary critic,
theorist and scholar;
 professor at Harvard;
 one of the central figures of
New Historicism movement;
 regarded by many as one of
the founders of New
Historicism (1980);
 his studies of the
Renaissance was well-known
as a major figure associated
with New Historicism.
Michel Foucault
 French philosopher, historian
of ideas, social theorist,
and literary critic;
 “the Godfather” of New
 his work, including his studies
of prisons, were pivotal to
New Historicism;
 he believes that all human
systems are symbolic and that
works written could be related
more to the readers when they
know the time period, culture
or political movements.
The New Historicists
want two things
to study how a work of
literature reflects its
historical and
sociocultural context
to understand how a
literary work comments
on and relates to its
Key-points of New Historicism
culture as text
canon and non-canonical
cultural poetics
Self –fashioning
 Self-fashioning is a term introduced by Stephen
Greenblatt in his work Renaissance Self-Fashioning.
 It is used to describe the process of constructing one's
identity and public persona according to a set of
socially acceptable standards.
 He made this term to describe the
way that renaissance authors like
William Shakespeare and
Christopher Marlow created
identities for themselves according
to the social, cultural and political
code of their time.
Culture as a text
 Culture’s like a book. We can open it, read its rituals,
social patterns, economic structures, and common
behaviors as if they’re words or paragraphs, and that
way we can understand how a culture works.
 Basically, the New Historicists think of culture as a
text. And literary texts are little texts within this big
text that is culture. Everything’s a text.
Canon and Non-canonical
 Canon is the “best” literary works
of a given language.
 Non-canonical works are the works
that are not considered to be “high”
literature study.
 non-canonical works alongside
canonical works;
 including the works by authors who
are non-white, non-male, from nonwestern cultures, or non-traditional
modes of writing.
Cultural poetics
 is another name for ‘New Historicism’;
 Stephen Greenblatt prefers to use “Cultural
Poetics” to describe his own practice;
 new way to
look for
the historical
sides of texts, it
focuses on how
it’s a way to
look for the
cultural sides of
 A literary work (or an art work) that depicts aspects of
social or cultural life is representing what those aspects
are like in real life.
W. Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet
Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One Hundred
Years of Solitude
 history isn’t just a list of facts that we compile;
 there are many different versions of history, so
many different ways for it to show up in art or
 is made up of a group of texts, statements, or utterances
relating to a specific topic or theme;
 it’s important is to recognize how one book or thing
someone says about a topic can be a reflection of the
whole treasure trove of ideas already expressed about
that issue.
 material conditions are really important in
how literary works are produced and
consumed by audiences;
 history and culture is a material.
the circulation of power;
the way power circulates in a society, from the big
people down to the little people – and sometimes
back up again.
Differences between Old and New Historicism
Old Historicism
New Historicism
• History is
• History is TEXTUAL.
• Literature mirrors
historical reality.
• Literature is INTERTEXTUAL
• There is such a thing
view of history.
Advantages of New Historicism
 Written in a far more
accessible way than poststructuralist theory.
 It presents its data and
draws its conclusions in a
less dense way.
 Material is often
fascinating and
 New territory(subject).
 Political edge is always
sharp, avoids problems of
straight Marxist