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Rethinking Historicism from Shakespeare to Milton


Ann Baynes Coiro, Thomas Fulton, Andrew Hadfield, Michael McKeon, Marshall Grossman, Heather Hirschfeld, Paul Stevens, Lawrence Manley, Sharon Achinstein, Martin Dzelzainis, Laura Knoppers, Erin Murphy, Nigel Smith
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  • Date Published: December 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107027510

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About the Authors
  • Reading literary texts in their historical contexts has been the dominant form of interpretation in literary criticism for the past thirty years. This collection of essays reflects on the origins of historicism and its present usefulness as a mode of literary analysis, its limitations and its future. The volume provides a brief history of the practice from its Renaissance origins, offering examples of historicist work that not only demonstrate the continuing vitality of this methodology but also suggest new directions for research. Focusing on the major figures of Shakespeare and Milton, these essays provide important and concise representations of trends in the field. Designed for scholars and students of early modern English literature (1500–1700), the volume will also be of interest to students of literature more generally and to historians.

    • Provides exemplary essays by leading American and British scholars on the practice of historicism
    • Covers major issues in scholarship from Erasmus to Milton
    • Of broad interest to students and researchers of early modern English literature
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This rich and timely collection of essays, edited by Ann Baynes Coiro and Thomas Fulton, comes at a moment when historicism's primacy in the field of early modern literary studies seems somehow at once both more assured and more precarious than ever … Rethinking Historicism from Shakespeare to Milton stands on multiple levels as a compelling testament to historicism's enduring worth.' Jeffrey Alan Miller, Milton Quarterly

    'This stimulating collection reassesses historicist approaches to Renaissance literature in the wake of New Historicism and in response to challenges from presentist, formalist, and disciplinary quarters.' Mario Digangi, Renaissance Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107027510
    • length: 316 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Ann Baynes Coiro and Thomas Fulton
    Part I. Historicism and Its Discontents:
    1. Has historicism gone too far: or, should we return to form? Andrew Hadfield
    2. Theory and practice in historical method Michael McKeon
    3. Limiting history Marshall Grossman
    Part II. Historicism and Theology:
    4. The politics of Renaissance historicism: Valla, Erasmus, Colet, and more Thomas Fulton
    5. Historicizing satisfaction in Shakespeare's Othello Heather Hirschfeld
    Part III. Dramatic Histories:
    6. The new presentism and its discontents: listening to Eastward Ho and Shakespeare's Tempest in dialogue Paul Stevens
    7. In great men's houses: playing, patronage, and the performance of Tudor history Lawrence Manley
    Part IV. Milton and the Problems of History:
    8. Medea's dilemma: politics and passion in Milton's divorce tracts Sharon Achinstein
    9. Milton, Foucault, and the new historicism Martin Dzelzainis
    Part V. Gendering Historicism:
    10. 'You shall be our generalless': fashioning warrior women from Henrietta Maria to Hillary Clinton Laura Knoppers
    11. War-times: seventeenth-century women's writing and its afterlives Erin Murphy
    Afterword Nigel Smith.

  • Editors

    Ann Baynes Coiro, Rutgers University, New Jersey
    Ann Baynes Coiro is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University. She is author of Robert Herrick's Hesperides and the Epigram Book Tradition and has published many essays, journal articles and book chapters on Milton, genre and book history, seventeenth-century court culture and English theatre.

    Thomas Fulton, Rutgers University, New Jersey
    Thomas Fulton is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University. He is author of Historical Milton: Manuscript, Print, and Political Culture in Revolutionary England as well as journal articles and book chapters on the cultural intersection of politics and religion, problems in rhetoric and generic form, and the history of reading.


    Ann Baynes Coiro, Thomas Fulton, Andrew Hadfield, Michael McKeon, Marshall Grossman, Heather Hirschfeld, Paul Stevens, Lawrence Manley, Sharon Achinstein, Martin Dzelzainis, Laura Knoppers, Erin Murphy, Nigel Smith

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