The New Historicism and Other Old-Fashioned Topics

Overview

Brook Thomas explores the new historicism and the challenges posed to it by a postmodern world that questions the very possibility of newness. He considers new historicism's engagement with poststructuralism and locates the former within a tradition of pragmatic historiography in the United States.

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Overview

Brook Thomas explores the new historicism and the challenges posed to it by a postmodern world that questions the very possibility of newness. He considers new historicism's engagement with poststructuralism and locates the former within a tradition of pragmatic historiography in the United States.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Times Literary Supplement
[Thomas] usefully connects the new historicists with earlier American pragmatists, looks closely at the work of Walter Benn Michaels and Stephen Greenblatt, [and has] interesting things to say about the way the writing of Walter Benjamin complicates and furthers our idea of history.
— Michael Wood
The Boston Phoenix Literary Section
Thomas is especially interesting when he reaches beyond the language of critical discourse to treat larger issues like the battle over "great books" and the current blaming of liberals for the decline in Western values.
— Ted Widmer
CLIO
[Thomas's] knowledge of German philosophical tradition provides a rewarding framework for an understanding of new historicist practice. . . . An essential book for students of the subject.
— Eugene Goodheart
The Times Literary Supplement - Michael Wood
[Thomas] usefully connects the new historicists with earlier American pragmatists, looks closely at the work of Walter Benn Michaels and Stephen Greenblatt, [and has] interesting things to say about the way the writing of Walter Benjamin complicates and furthers our idea of history.
CLIO - Eugene Goodheart
[Thomas's] knowledge of German philosophical tradition provides a rewarding framework for an understanding of new historicist practice. . . . An essential book for students of the subject.
The Boston Phoenix Literary Section - Ted Widmer
Thomas is especially interesting when he reaches beyond the language of critical discourse to treat larger issues like the battle over "great books" and the current blaming of liberals for the decline in Western values.
From the Publisher
"[Thomas] usefully connects the new historicists with earlier American pragmatists, looks closely at the work of Walter Benn Michaels and Stephen Greenblatt, [and has] interesting things to say about the way the writing of Walter Benjamin complicates and furthers our idea of history."—Michael Wood, The Times Literary Supplement

"[Thomas's] knowledge of German philosophical tradition provides a rewarding framework for an understanding of new historicist practice. . . . An essential book for students of the subject."—Eugene Goodheart, CLIO

"Thomas is especially interesting when he reaches beyond the language of critical discourse to treat larger issues like the battle over "great books" and the current blaming of liberals for the decline in Western values."—Ted Widmer, The Boston Phoenix Literary Section

Library Journal
Thomas seeks both to define and to describe the poststructuralist new literary historicism and to suggest more satisfactory paths for it to take. This combination, along with his jargon-filled prose and endlessly shifting (but rather repetitive) perspectives, will leave most readers confused. The goal is not to read literature of the past as documents with fixed meanings that reflect their times but in ways that enable us to imagine alternative possibilities to the power, domination, and exclusion discovered by deconstructionists and others. A good deal of time is spent rooting deeply in theory, in search of errors, ideologies, and, perhaps less compellingly, ways out of them. Thomas also critiques the work of current practitioners (Walter Benn Michaels, Stephen Greenblatt), and the greater level of concreteness makes for more interest. A book for specialists.-- Richard Kucz kowski, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691015071
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/8/1993
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 6.15 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.69 (d)

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