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New Historicism is an approach to literary criticism and literary theory based on the premise that a literary work should be considered a product of the time, place, and circumstances of its composition rather than as an isolated creation of genius. New Historicists aim simultaneously to understand the work through its historical context and to understand history through literature. The method derives principally from the work of the philosopher Michel Foucault, based both on his theory of the limits of collective cultural knowledge and on his technique of examining a broad array of documents in order to understand the episteme of a particular time. New Historicism developed in the 1980s, primarily through the work of the critic Stephen Greenblatt, and gained widespread influence in the 1990s. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Historicism [Oct 2005]
Since the 1990s, some post-modernist thinkers have used historicism to describe the view that there is no absolute truth about deep philosophical questions that should stand for all time. Instead, their historicism holds that there is only the history of philosophy or more generally, intellectual history, including the history of science and technology. This school of thought sometimes goes by the name of New Historicism.
The same label, new historicism is also employed for a school of literary scholarship which interprets a poem, drama, etc. as an expression of the power-structures of the surrounding society. Stephen Greenblatt is an outstanding practitioner of this school. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicism [May 2005]
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