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About this book

New historicism and cultural materialism emerged in the early 1980s as prominent literary theories and came to represent a revival of interest in history and in historicising literature. Their proponents rejected both formalist criticism and earlier attempts to read literature in its historical context and defined new ways of thinking about literature in relation to history. This study explains the development of these theories and demonstrates both their uses and weaknesses as critical practices. The potential future direction for the theories is explored and the controversial debates about their validity in literary studies are discussed.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Literature in History

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

Introduction: Literature in History

John Brannigan

The Turn to History

Frontmatter

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

1. Key Contexts and Theorists

John Brannigan

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

2. New Historicism: Representations of History and Power

John Brannigan

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

3. Cultural Poetics: After the New Historicism?

John Brannigan

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

4. Cultural Materialism: Literature and Dissident Politics

John Brannigan

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

5. New Historicism and Cultural Materialism Today

John Brannigan

Applications and Readings

Frontmatter

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

6. ‘On the Edge of a Black and Incomprehensible Frenzy’: A New Historicist Reading of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

John Brannigan

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

7. Producing the Subject: A New Historicist Reading of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wall-paper’

John Brannigan

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

8. Cultural Materialism and Reading Dissidence in(to) the Poetry of Alfred Tennyson

John Brannigan

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

9. ‘I Write It Out in a Verse’: Power, History and Colonialism in W. B. Yeats’s ‘Easter 1916’

John Brannigan

Afterwords

Frontmatter

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

10. After History: Textuality and Historicity in the New Historicism

John Brannigan

1998 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

11. The Importance of Not Concluding

John Brannigan
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