New Historicism and Cultural Materialism

A term coined by Raymond Williams and popularised by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield (in their collection of essays Political Shakespeare), Cultural Materialism refers to a Marxist orientation of New Historicism, characterised by the analysis of any historical material within a politicized framework, in a radical and subversive manner. Cultural Materialism emphasises studying the historical… Read More New Historicism and Cultural Materialism

Foucault’s Influence on New Historicism

The anti-establishment ethos of New Historicism wasprofoundly influenced by Foucault‘s theories of Power/Knowledge and Discourse. Foucault observed that the discourse of an era brings into being concepts, oppositions and hierarchies, which are products and propagators of power, and these determine what is “knowledge”, “truth” and “normal” at a given time. Drawing on Jeremy Bentham‘s notion… Read More Foucault’s Influence on New Historicism

New Historicism’s Deviation from Old Historicism

New Historicism envisages and practises a mode of study where the literary text and the non-literary cotext are given “equal weighting”, whereas old historicism considers history as a “background” of facts to the “foreground” of literature. While Old historicism follows a hierarchical approach by creating a historical framework and placing the literary text within it,… Read More New Historicism’s Deviation from Old Historicism