PRACTICING NEW HISTORICISM PDF
Request PDF on ResearchGate | Practicing New Historicism | For almost twenty years, new historicism has been a highly controversial and influential force in. PRACTiCING. NEW HISTORICISM. CATHERINE GALLAGHER & STEPHEN GREENBLATT. The University of Chicago Press. Cf;icago and London. - '.:Ill. The book Practicing New Historicism, Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt is published by University of Chicago Press.
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Kathleen L. Komar University of California, Los Angeles Practicing New Historicism. By Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt. Chicago: University of. Gallagher & Greenblatt - Practicing New Historic Ism - Download as PDF File Practicing new historicism / Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt. p, em, . In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Journal of Interdisciplinary History () [Access article in PDF]. Book Review .
Dante's style is still.
Dante's mixing of styles and his insistence upon the everyday even in the midst of the sacred is linked. The phrases we have just quoted are not from Auerbach but from Hegel.
If there is a hint of a direction in the succession of these isolated representations. Dante's synthesis has its own inherent forward-driving dynamic of a kind we might expect in a Hegelian analysis. We suspect that Auerbach would have disliked this characterization of his work. Auerbach knows perfectly well. Montaigne's Essays. This strategy. For the manner of compiling such a history.
He is above all allergic to the nationalism. Its principal appeal is that it enabled critics to illuminate extremely complex and-quite simply but not inconsequentiallylong works without exhausting themselves or their readers.
I particularly advise that the manner and provision of it be not drawn from histories. National self-consciousness is occasionally granted considerable importance. Auerbach can say convincing and fresh things about texts like the Bible. The spirit of representation sometimes corresponds to the boundaries of nation or class or religion or language. We will return to the significance of these differences. Auerbach had gone to teach at the Turkish State University after his dismissal in on racist grounds from his teaching position at Marburg.
He writes not in the manner of a conjurer but in the sober. Don Quixote. Above all. So he faced the problem of too few texts as well as too many. Here the epigraph from Marvell finds its meaning: The organizational principle.
But time's winged chariot is hurrying near. But Alcofribas's brief sojourn in Gargantua's mouth and Prince Hal's expression of weariness to his boon companion Poins are not conspicuously great moments in the works of Rabelais and Shakespeare. Madame Vauquer. Auerbach appears simply to be opening a book.
Yet it is precisely in these later chapters. It is this genius literarius-the creative. But Auerbach characteristically employs these local details as a platform on which to construct a far larger structure. This atmospheric realism and the disordered.
Thus there is no need for anecdotes that take the form of miniature narratives. Balzac is describing her daily routine. From Balzac's Pire Goriot.
The demonic impression does not finally depend upon invocations of witchcraft or the spectral. This very ordinariness linking the repulsive. Auerbach selects an almost negligible detail. Nothing about this particular appearance of the pension mistress is momentous.
Auerbach's close reading of the brief anecdote from Balzac helps us understand how strange the familiar notion of "organic" unity actually is. The hallmark of this kind of realism. The Red and the Black or Madame Bovary-at random and starting his analysis wherever his eyes happen to fall. Indeed at moments. The episode of Odysseus's scar is highly charged. Balzac advanced zoological and sociological theories to explicate his work.
Auerbach does not seize on textual traces that disclose some anomaly in the work. The paradox here is that it is easier for him to address the representation of reality than it is to address the inner organization of a finite text. The literary work is interesting to Auerbach not for its swerve away from reality-as if reality were something monumental. But though Auerbach treats texts as integrally bound up with the cultures in which they were produced-that is the nature of his own "atmospheric Historism".
Auerbach does not believe that there was a single ideal form for this convergence. Auerbach thus does not look for textual traces-anecdotesthat reveal some gap between the work and the world.
For Auerbach what is unsaid in Genesis is not a sign of tension. He is not interested in the ineffable or inexpressible. It is possible for Auerbach to unpack long works and even entire cultures out of a close encounter with a tiny fragment because he is less concerned with sequence and form than he is with "the representation of reality.
Dante's Comedy draws upon Christian figural faith to integrate the two. What principally interests Auerbach. For Auerbach.
Stendhal and Balzac. For the anecdotal technique of Mimesis rests on the conviction that tiny details can be made to represent the nature of larger and larger wholes.
MLQ: Modern Language Quarterly
This "historism" that. Auerbach shows. The power of these historical forces is manifested equally in a tulle bonnet and in a revolution. Mimesis begins with two distinct models. It must in some sense mean a loss of the worlds in which these works were originally created: On the contrary.
Arthurian romance and Shakespearean history. This change has forced together into close conjunction peoples. Auerbach was writing in a still darker time: Mimesis is written with something like figural faith.
One obvious consequence is armed conflict. Faced with Joyce or Woolf. For Auerbach to read the Western literary canon as a series ofletters that the past had sent to him was an act of civility in a vicious world. Auerbach discovered in the literature of his own time the very "multiple consciousness" that his own work as a critic had brilliantly cultivated. He could find in masterpieces by Proust. How better to describe the power to respond with the deepest sympathetic intelligence to the Odyssey and the Bible.
It is easy to assimilate such a reflection to our own widespread sense of the homogenizing power of certain international technologies and corporate symbols. But the grasp is sequential. And his informed appreciation of multiple styles bespeaks a kind of cultural catholicity.
In a dark time Petrarch in desperation wrote letters to the great figures of the past. In a letter sent from Istanbul to Walter Benjamin. But this confidence was now turned away from the solid exterior world-the material existence that always seemed to him essential to a robust realism-and toward the inward reaches of the psyche.
Auerbach reflects on what he calls the "fanatically anti-traditional nationalism" of Kemal Ataturk. Mimesis is one of the great literary critical exhibitions in our cen- tury of one mind's capacity to grasp "multiple and multivalent reflections of consciousness" He responded with some dismay to the modernist attack on representation. At the same time. Mimesis closes with a poignant blend of personal melancholy and impersonal.
Auerbach sees the murderous violence unleashed in his world as the expression of what he calls. Auerbach would appeal to a particular ideology to explicate the representational strategies manifested in one of his textual fragmentsChristian creaturalism for Montaigne.
It was to this "ruse of providence" that modern writers. It is clear that the term "literature" functions in part as an honorific.
Gallagher & Greenblatt - Practicing New Historic Ism
Where was the historical reality"in which Montaigne was so deeply engaged? Where were the violent struggles that gave his tragic sense of the human condition its specificity? The point for new historicists was not to assemble a large number of comparable texts. In a sense. We refer not only to works by womenit is notable that Virginia Woolf is virtually the only female author accorded sustained attention in Auerbach's book.
Was not the representation of reality a crucial social and political phenomenon. But the simple solution toward which he thought the world was tending-"a common life of mankind on earth"-gave him pause: Auerbach had every reason to hope passionately for the resolution of conflict through the lessening of differences between distinct ways of life and forms of thought.
If anything. For what was the point of claiming. Auerbach understands. And why after the Bible were the texts almost entirely literary. If they '.
The randomness. Why did the imagination seem to belong. They are also. The anecdote was not merely background: One could turn away to other. What had promised a new access to the real-Auerbach wrote of represented J[irldichkeitjhad come to seem curiously detached from anything""teal.
In large part-at least in the earliest essays of new historicism-the other texts were canonical literary texts: It was not the canonical authors then that had begun to seem exhausted but the approach to them and the notion of the boundaries of their achievement.
In part. The tum to the historical anecdote in literary study promised both an escape from conventional canonicity and a revival of the canon. If one abandoned canonicity. But that is not the whole truth: The answer seems to be by a sense of resonance for other texts. But the trouble is that the procedure itself-pick a passage from a literary text.
AuerbiClt-assumesand that provides the cultural frame for his individual readings-new historicists writing in his wake felt eager to expand the field. The spectral effect rather was like that so teasingly depicted in Borges's cunning essay "Precursors of Kafka.
If the attention-one's own and that demanded of one's readersseemed justified. But even on these terms-that is. And that field no longer seemed to fit securely within traditional period boundaries.
Auerbach could in effect count on canonicity-that. There is an obvious problem with this procedure: Why would you not simply bypass the problem and turn directly to Marlowe or Shakespeare?
There were several reasons. But it could somehow be turned toward a revivification of a ca-. The fact that Auerbach did not feel obliged to read every moment in his text. Such people and events usually come into view historically only at a distance from the trivialities and intricacies of daily life. Or rather the anecdote was a way into the "contact zone. Certainly there are notable exceptions to the rule-we will examine several in this chapterbut historians have generally been more interested in making an epistemological break with the past to create the protocol of objectivity than in producing "the touch of the real.
And the anecdote satisfied the desire for something outside the literary. The anecdote produces the effect of the real. When modern historians write about individual lives or small events.. All anecdotes.
Practicing New Historicism
It offered access to the everyday. Against Pure Reason. And just as in Protestantism where the attack on the Real Presence both saved and threatened the doctrine of the Incarnation. Notes Introduction I. Denis Hollier. Johann Gottfried von Herder. Frank E. Churchill Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Two members of the preceding discussion group.
The fact that disbelief no longer needs a scapegoat like fetishism might. No wonder the discourse of fetishism appears alongside materialism.
In others. Reflections on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind. Michael Rogin. Herder's historicism abjures the attempt to find the optimal climate for civilization. Under these conditions. Joel Fineman. Walter Michaels.
The first editorial board was chaired by Svetlana Alpers and Stephen Greenblatt. Steven Knapp. Does our generation's greater tolerance for fetishism signal the end of the wicked son's ascendancy? Probably not. His questioning may now sound more modest. Apparently unfazed by burgeoning religious revivals. By making fun of the fetishist's collapse of the very metaphysical differences they themselves had rendered untenable. Lynn Hunt. Thomas Laqueur. Against Pure Reason: Writings on Religion.
The wicked son declares his independence from all ontologies. Catherine Gallagher. Howard Bloch. Leo Bersani and D. Marcia Bunge Minneapolis: Fortress Press. Frances Ferguson. It is not the case that Flaubert's novel lacks ethnographic interest. The essay was first published in Social Science Information in Aram Veeser New York: Willard R. Basic Books.
Erich Auerbach. David Simpson. Hannah Arendt. The promise is conveyed.
See Walter Benjamin. Trask Princeton: Princeton University Press. Stephen Bann. New historicists have largely ignored the historical background of their own claims aside from recognizing some affinities with Romanticism , but in this book Greenblatt and Catherine Gallagher do glance back at the culturalist approach of Johann Gottfied von Herder, though substituting multiculturalism for "a singularly nasty volkisch nationalism. Like the "nous des Annales, " satirized by Richard Cobb many years ago, the "new historicists" are also a self-proclaimed, self-referential "we," who have staked out a territory to display their new and improved intellectual wares.
They assume an Old Historicist, or Whiggish, view of their own role in advancing learning. In this post-Marxist age, such advancement involves a bias against theory and grand narratives in general. Though avoiding the rival jargon of "postmodernism," Greenblatt and Gallagher nevertheless deny, postmodernistically, the possibility of a "unitary story" and revel in what Ezra Pound called "Luminous Detail" and what Clifford Geertz called "thick description"--the result being what might be named the New Anecdotalism.
Not the "good God" to paraphrase Aby Warburg but historical or new-historical meaning "resides in the details. This line of argument, justifying "practice" without theory and incoherence in the name of rich diversity, and expanding historical curiosity as "a social rebellion in the study of culture," is essentially a fishing license for interpretive experiments; brilliant as they are, these four essays really constitute what once was termed a miscellany, or quodlibeta.
As such, they are impressive, even virtuoso productions, drawing on anthropological and philosophical as well as literary, historical, and art- historical arguments. The marvelously allusive chapter, "The Touch of the Real," invoking Geertz and Erich Auerbach, reaches out for "real bodies and living voices," or at least traces thereof, but what it grasps is the historicist realism of the latter rather than the descriptive realism of the former, whose anthropological colleagues have not all followed his hermeneutical and indeed literary call.
The second chapter introduces "counterhistory" as another, more up-to-date label for the new historicism. Thompson, Raymond Williams and Foucauldianism.
When the Lollards or Hamlet watch the Host progress through the body, the king through the beggar, the Word becomes a too sullied flesh. Yet bodies do matter. In Gallagher, the nineteenth-century discourses of political economy and suspended animation are explored ex- plicitly in relation to body history.
Worker riots in response to poor wheat harvests were understood as hunger riots despite the ready availability of the vegetable; this paradox, argues Gallagher, suggests that we must begin to historicize "what counted as food and what felt like hunger" Very occasionally, Gallagher s reading seems strained, such as when she exam- ines a passage of Cobbet's to argue that the Irish are literally represented as potatoes: "Through [.
Such moments instantiate a tendency for which new historicism is recurrently taken to task: the anecdotal object - in this case, the potato - is made to bear a preponderant amount of semiotic baggage. Did the potato actually function as a representation for the peasant's body in the period, one wonders, or is Gallagher herself establishing a metaphorical connec- tion between the two? Because this relationship is sometimes unclear, the reading is strongest when Gallagher sets up the comparison as a simile rather than a metaphor, arguing that the potato poses a problem for theo- rists like Malthus because, like the autochthonous peasant body for which it stands, it exceeds the logic of scarcity in its material plentitude.
This content downloaded from In her analysis of Pip's relationship to Magwitch in Great Expectations, for instance, Gallagher argues effectively that the Victorian novel's preoccupation with life-giving reflects ambiva- lence about its efficacy and relation to meaning in an increasingly skeptical time.
In its ability to bring visions to life, the novel finds its mode of poten- tially affecting material reality and creating its "touch of the real. Part of the richness here is that the competing perspectives are at once individual and collective, and if there is something strikingly new and boldly honest in the way this book presents new historicism, it is in Gallagher and Greenblatt s acknowledgment and insistence that an historicist approach is deeply individual and individuated, dependent as much on the critic and the practice as it is on the historical subject and moment.
Tanya Agathocleous and Emily C. Studies in the English Renaissance.While we frequently explore other kinds of texts. Basic Books. Faced with Joyce or Woolf. J2 One The Touch of the Real passages from the same author's work or from that of contemporaries. Fragments of a Correspondence.
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