Practicing New Historicism

Paperback | September 1, 2001

byCatherine Gallagher

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For almost twenty years, new historicism has been a highly controversial and influential force in literary and cultural studies. In Practicing the New Historicism, two of its most distinguished practitioners reflect on its surprisingly disparate sources and far-reaching effects.

In lucid and jargon-free prose, Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt focus on five central aspects of new historicism: recurrent use of anecdotes, preoccupation with the nature of representations, fascination with the history of the body, sharp focus on neglected details, and skeptical analysis of ideology. Arguing that new historicism has always been more a passionately engaged practice of questioning and analysis than an abstract theory, Gallagher and Greenblatt demonstrate this practice in a series of characteristically dazzling readings of works ranging from paintings by Joos van Gent and Paolo Uccello to Hamlet and Great Expectations.

By juxtaposing analyses of Renaissance and nineteenth-century topics, the authors uncover a number of unexpected contrasts and connections between the two periods. Are aspects of the dispute over the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist detectable in British political economists' hostility to the potato? How does Pip's isolation in Great Expectations shed light on Hamlet's doubt?

Offering not only an insider's view of new historicism, but also a lively dialogue between a Renaissance scholar and a Victorianist, Practicing the New Historicism is an illuminating and unpredictable performance by two of America's most respected literary scholars.

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From the Publisher

For almost twenty years, new historicism has been a highly controversial and influential force in literary and cultural studies. In Practicing the New Historicism, two of its most distinguished practitioners reflect on its surprisingly disparate sources and far-reaching effects.In lucid and jargon-free prose, Catherine Gallagher and St...

From the Jacket

"Gallagher and Greenblatt offer a brilliant introduction to new historicism. In their hands, difficult ideas become coherent and accessible."-ChoiceFor decades, new historicism has been a highly controversial and influential force in literary and cultural studies. In this dazzling, seminal volume, two of the discipline's most distingui...

Catherine Gallagher is the Eggers Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.Stephen Greenblatt is the Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.

other books by Catherine Gallagher

The Body Economic: Life, Death, and Sensation in Political Economy and the Victorian Novel
The Body Economic: Life, Death, and Sensation in Politi...

Kobo ebook|Jan 10 2009

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:260 pages, 8.5 × 5.38 × 0.8 inPublished:September 1, 2001Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226279359

ISBN - 13:9780226279350

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Touch of the Real
2. Counterhistory and the Anecdote
3. The Wound in the Wall
4. The Potato in the Materialist Imagination
5. The Mousetrap
6. The Novel and Other Discourses of Suspended Disbelief
Notes
Index