Stephen Greenblatt and New Historicism

While he was teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, Greenblatt helped to found a journal called Representations, in which some of the earlier important New Historicist criticism appeared. As mentioned earlier, however, it was his introduction to The Power of Forms in the English Renaissance (1982) that spurred the growth of the New Historicism.… Read More Stephen Greenblatt and New Historicism

Postmodern British Poetry

If the era of ‘postmodernity’ is increasingly seen as ‘a socio-economic mode that has intensified and surpassed modernity itself’ then poetry produced under this new ‘socio-economic mode’ might rightly be dismissed as another form of ‘postmodern’ candyfloss neatly packaged for our quick or therapeutic consumption.1 On the other hand perhaps poets, often relatively uninvested in… Read More Postmodern British Poetry

Modernism, Postmodernism and Film Criticism

Postmodern cinema ironically has a history now. In 1984, Fredric Jameson observed that contemporary culture seemed to be expressing a new form of ‘depthlessness‘ – a concentration on style and ‘surface’. For Jameson these features represented a retreat from the need to supply a univocal narrative closure to the postmodern text, predicated on the fragmentation… Read More Modernism, Postmodernism and Film Criticism

Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory and Literary Criticism

Chaos theory and complexity theory challenge some of our most deeply held beliefs about the nature of reality. The former claims that natural systems (for example, the weather) are controlled by mysterious forces, called ‘strange attractors‘, such that they are simultaneously random and determined -a conclusion which undermines the laws of logic on which so… Read More Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory and Literary Criticism

Key Theories of Jean Francois Lyotard

A French philosopher of the post-structuralist school, Jean Francois Lyotard (1925-1998) is perhaps best known for his book The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979). In that work, Lyotard attempted to define the principle aspects of postmodernity in the wake of developing technology. Technology transforms knowledge: We can predict that anything in the constituted body… Read More Key Theories of Jean Francois Lyotard

Homi Bhabha’s Concept of Hybridity

One of the most widely employed and most disputed terms in postcolonial theory, hybridity commonly refers to the creation of new transcultural forms within the contact zone produced by colonization. As used in horticulture, the term refers to the cross-breeding of two species by grafting or cross-pollination to form a third, ‘hybrid’ species. Hybridization takes… Read More Homi Bhabha’s Concept of Hybridity