The essence of New Historicism customized essays
In order to better understand the contribution of William Shakespeare into the development of New Historicism and to prove that he was really one of the earliest representatives of this approach, it is necessary to briefly dwell upon the essence of New Historicism as an approach to literary criticism and literary theory. In fact, New Historicism is very important because it is actually one of the major approaches in literary criticism in theory that remains to be very popular and has a lot of supporters. Actually, it is only with the emergence of Postmodernism, this approach is criticized and its reliability is argued (Felluga, 148).
First of all, it should be said that New Historicism is traditionally defined as an approach to literary criticism and literary theory based on the idea that a literary work should be considered as a product of time, place and circumstances of its composition rather than as an isolated creation (Greenblatt, 56). It is worthy of mention that it is considered to be a relatively new approach which dates back to 1980s and is traditionally linked to the name of the critic Stephen Greenblatt, whose works actually contributed to the clear definition and better understanding of New Historicism as a new approach to literary criticism and literary theory (Dixon, 137).
Nevertheless, taking into consideration the essence of this approach, it is possible to estimate that New Historicism or, at least, some of its elements may be traced in works of many writers and poets, including William Shakespeare, who were not even conscious of the essence of this approach but who vividly depicted their epoch through their works (Greenblatt a, 138). In this regard the leadership of William Shakespeare is practically unarguable because his works really help understand the epoch and circumstances in which the author worked and lived.
In such a way, it is possible to estimate that roots of New Historicism may be traced in the works of many writers of the past. Basically, the major assumption of New Historicism is the idea that a literary work is a kind of mirror that reflects the reality surrounding the author and historical context in which a literary work is created (Felluga, 226). In fact, it proves beyond a doubt that the surrounding reality and circumstances of the creation of a literary work produce a profound impact on writers, but often the position of New Historicists is justly criticized because they exaggerate the influence of the surrounding and its impact on writers. What is meant here is the fact that New Historicism rather views a literary works as a product of its time and the surrounding reality than the subjective or independent view of a writer which could be viewed as timeless.
In this regard, works of William Shakespeare supports and rejects the ideas of New Historicism simultaneously because, on the one hand, the author really conveys the major problems, views, beliefs and norms of his epoch, often using metaphors and symbolism of his works, especially in political matters, but, on the other hand, William Shakespeare’s work are still popular not only due to the interest of the audience to his epoch but mainly due to the significance of problems and aesthetic beauty of his works (Greenblatt, 138). In other words, historical retrospection of his epoch, is only a part, though very important one, of works of William Shakespeare but his works raise eternal themes and problems and they may be viewed as a piece of art which is not limited in some timeline and the fact that he is still popular proves this idea.
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