New Historicism

CO-TEXT: A historical document which is contemporary with and studied alongside a literary document. COMEDY: A play or literary composition written chiefly to amuse its audience by appealing to a sense of superiority over the characters depicted with a (usually) happy ending for the leading characters. CULTURAL MATERIALISM: – A critical practice that concentrates on the interventions whereby men and women make heir own history and situate the literary text in the political situation of our own (and not of its own day as New Historicists do). It reads the literary text in a way as to enable us to “recover histories”. – It uses the technique of close textual analysis but often employ structuralist and post-structuralist techniques. – It works mainly within traditional notions of the canon. EMPLOTMENT: The process by which a text is organized into a plot. EMPLOTTED: Organized into a plot. EPIC: A long narrative poem celebrating the great deeds of one or more legendary heros in a grand ceremonious style. EQUAL WEIGHTING: A combined interest in “the textuality of history, the historicity of texts” (L.
Montrose) FICTION-MAKING: The historian bestows a particular significance upon certain historical events and then matches them up with a precise type of plot. MAINSTREAM LITERARY HISTORY: : Old historicism, dominant historical scholarship, monological, earlier historicism, single political vision, internally coherent and consistent, the status of historical fact, a stable point of reference. NARRATIVE: – A set of events (The story) recounted in a process of narration (or discourse). – A telling of some true or fictitious event o connected sequence of events, recounted by a narrator.
NEW HISTORICISM: – A critical practice that gives equal weighting to literary and non-literary texts. – It insists on the textualization of reality (from Derrida) and the premise that society is governed by the collusion between discourse and power (from Foucault). – It places literary and non-literary texts in conjunction and interprets the former through the latter – It looks for manifestations in text and co-text of State power, patriarchy and colonization. PLOT: – A particular selection and reordering of the full sequence of events (story). The pattern of events and situations in a narrative or dramatic work. ROMANCE: – A fictional story in verse or prose that relates improbable adventures of idealized characters in some remote or enchanted setting. – A tendency in fiction opposite to that of realism. SATIRE: A mode of writing that exposes the failings of individuals, institutions, or societies to ridicule and scorn. STORY: – The full sequence of events as we assume them to have occurred in their likely order,, duration and frequency. In modern narratology, the sequence of imagined events that we reconstruct from the actual arrangement of a narrative. – In the everyday sense, any narrative or tale recounting a series of events. TAILORING: Adapting the facts to a particular story form. TRAGEDY: A serious play or novel representing the disastrous downfall of a central character, the protagonist. VALUE-NEUTRAL: Historical events acquire narrative value only after the historian organizes them into a specific plot type. VERBAL FICTIONS: A construct which is made of words and based on invention rather than reality.

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