© 1998

New Historicism and Cultural Materialism

  • Authors
  • Makes new historicism and cultural materialism accessible to the student reader through clear demonstration of the critical practices
    Discusses the controversial debates surrounding these theories
    Explores potential future directions of these theories

Part of the Transitions book series (TRANSs)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction: Literature in History

    1. John Brannigan
      Pages 1-16
  3. The Turn to History

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. John Brannigan
      Pages 19-54
    3. John Brannigan
      Pages 119-127
  4. Applications and Readings

  5. Afterwords

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 199-201
    2. John Brannigan
      Pages 218-221
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 222-249

About this book


New historicism and cultural materialism emerged in the early 1980s as prominent literary theories and came to represent a revival of interest in history and in historicising literature. Their proponents rejected both formalist criticism and earlier attempts to read literature in its historical context and defined new ways of thinking about literature in relation to history. This study explains the development of these theories and demonstrates both their uses and weaknesses as critical practices. The potential future direction for the theories is explored and the controversial debates about their validity in literary studies are discussed.


literary studies New Historicism poetry

About the authors

JOHN BRANNIGAN is Lecturer in Literary Studies and Irish Studies at the University of Luton. He has published essays on new historicism, cultural materialism, Derrida and has co-edited books on Derrida and Joyce. He is currently working on a study of 1950s writings in England.

Bibliographic information