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New Historicism Essay

1604 words - 6 pages

The interpretation of language in the form of speech or written texts is a particular case of interpretation of world and life in general. Once a written text is available, it can be considered apart of the circumstances and actual situation at the time of writing; as a result many critics start to establish a relationship between literature and history which goes along with their believe of the importance of material heritage to the study of history and culture.
New historicism is anew theory that began at the beginning of the 1980,it can be defined as the conjunction of a number of prior discourses, or ways of speaking, about literature and language, and not by inspiration of any single individual .The name most often associated with New Historicism is Stephen Greenblatt, a critic of Renaissance literature, he is an English professor and the progenitor of "the new historicism" theory. Greenblatt published his selection of Renaissance essays which constituted 'anew historicism' it was the first period to generate lots of New Historicist criticism. It has since become important in criticism of Medieval, and nineteenth century British and American literature, and is working its way through

criticism of modernist literature and eighteenth century literature. He aims to make connections between Shakespeare's plays and the political atmosphere in Elizabethan England, for example, or between his own theory and the intellectual atmosphere during the 1970s and 1980s; He studied the historical background for any works of literature to deepen his understandings of these works and help guard against misunderstandings of the intentions of their authors.
"The circumstances which have most influence on the happiness of mankind, the changes of manners and morals, the transition of communities from poverty to wealth, from knowledge to ignorance, from ferocity to humanity - these are, for the most part, noiseless revolutions. Their progress is rarely indicated by what historians are pleased to call important events. They are not achieved by armies, or enacted by senates. They are sanctioned by no treaties, and recorded in no archives. They are carried on in every school, in every church, behind ten thousand counters, at ten thousand firesides." (Maculay, "The Task of the Modern Historian.")
In this dense passage, Thomas Babington Macaulay is trying to show the importance of history and what it carries with it; in addition he conveys his idea of how the historian job should be done. he also added on this field that "He alone reads history aright, who, observing how powerfully circumstances influence the feelings and opinions of men, how often vices

pass into virtues, and paradoxes into axioms, learns to distinguish what is accidental and transitory in human nature, from what is essential and

immutable." (Macaulay, "Machiavelli.") Here Macaulay is articulating his point of view with Greenblatt notion of having enough background to get the truth of what they...

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