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The New Historicism
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The New Historicism has helped to remove traditional barriers separating literary criticism and historiography, in part by replacing the fact-finding model of historical study with a descriptive and narrative model. Using 'literature' as a source and a method, the new historiographers write narratives no longer bound to 'realism' but rather favouring postmodernist and post-structuralist strategies. Certain questions have also arisen: how, for example, is the New Historicism articulated with other movements that have radicalized or politicized the profession, such as Marxism, Feminism, and Third World ideology critique? By what protocols are New Historicist texts to be judged? Those of historiography, or those of emerging disciplines such as ethnoscience, componential analysis, cognitive anthropology, or even postmodern architecture and performance art? The volume represents the state of the art in New Historicism and is designed to engage a broad-based readership. The essays address the emergence of the 'Third World' as a signifier, the relationship of feminism and New Historicism, the disappearance of the category 'class' in New Historicism, and the corrolary rise of 'class' and the Marxist grand recit , as categories in British Cultural materialism. The volume represents, in sum, a useful expansion of the current debate and breaks important new ground.
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