New Historicism Essay

New Historicism Essay-27
The earlier formulation of historicism was made by Vico (1668-1744) and Herder (1744–1803).

The earlier formulation of historicism was made by Vico (1668-1744) and Herder (1744–1803).Vico criticized the concept that truth transcends history and argued that truth is conditioned by human history.

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To understand the event, one must leave one’s present context of understanding and view it from the historical context of that event.

Hermeneutics is art of interpreting the historical contexts of events in human life.

Historicism stressed the unique diversity of historical contexts and stressed the importance of developing specific methods and theories appropriate to each unique historical context.

Historicism also often challenged the concept of truth and the notion of rationality in modernity.

Herder rejected central ideas of the Enlightenment, such as the concept of universal rationality, and belief in the progress of human history according to the development of reason.

These ideas of the Enlightenment were built upon the presuppositions that there was only one kind of rationality applicable to all people and cultures and that human history is a linear process of progress whose pattern of development was the same for all.

New Historicism attempted to reintroduce the concept of history into literary studies, in part as a corrective to the ahistorical and apolitical nature of much of Post-structuralism.

However, in adopting the Foucauldian notion of epistemic rupture between ages and civilizations, which makes understanding the text in the terms in which it was produced impossible, New Historicism has been criticized for reducing the importance of literature as a work of art and turning it into just another historical artifact.

They argued that there were diverse and unique characteristics to each region and people, which were irreducible to abstract uniform patterns based upon abstract speculative ideas in philosophy.

Ranke, for example, approached history based upon a critical examination of primary documents and sources as opposed to Hegel’s speculative approach.


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