Before embarking on an explanation and exploration of the issues, debates and the evolution and development of new historicism and cultural materialism, we need to set these theories in the context of wider and older debates taking place in the academy and in intellectual discourse. For the most part both new historicism and cultural materialism share common influences, although to different extents. Marxism is much more apparent as an influence in cultural materialism than it is in new historicism, whereas the influence of anthropology is more discernible in new historicism than in cultural materialism. In this chapter of the book I will examine the various factors and figures influencing new historicists and cultural materialists, but, because these influences differ in degrees between both theories, my immediate point of departure is the relationship between new historicism and cultural materialism.
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