's mother. (Montrose describes an extravagant and protracted entertainment in which Raleigh and Greville acted out this metaphor.) All this demonstrates what is meant in practice by insisting upon the historicity of the text and the textuality of history.
The British critic Graham Holderness describes culturalmaterialism as ‘a politicised form of historiography’. We can explain this as meaning the study of historical material (which includes literary texts) within a politicised framework, this framework including the present which those literary
This book explores key critical debates in the humanities in recent times in the context of the legitimation crisis widely felt to be facing academic institutions, using Derrida's idea of leverage in the university. In particular, it concerns an account for the malaise in the university by linking critical developments, discourses and debates in the modern humanities to a problem of the institution itself. The book finds within these discourses and debates the very dimensions of the institution's predicament: economic, political, ideological, but also, inseparably, intellectual. It looks at some of the recurring themes arising in the early key texts of new historicism and cultural materialism. The book also argues that these approaches in a number of ways orient their critical strategies according to certain kinds of logics and structures of reflection. It instances disorientation and leverage in the university by exploring the problematic doubleness of economics as indeterminately both inside and outside contemporary cultural theory. The book also argues that the interdisciplinary approach of cultural analysis has a certain amount of difficulty positioning economics as either simply an outside or an inside. The orientation and leverage within the university apparently offered by the development of cultural studies and by certain forms of interdisciplinarity comes at the cost of an irresolvable disorientation between the object and the activity of criticism.
Theory often eclipses the text, just as the moon's shadow obscures the sun in an eclipse, so that the text loses its own voice and begins to voice theory. This book provides summaries or descriptions of a number of important theoretical essays. It commences with an account of the 'liberal humanism' against which all newer critical approaches to literature, broadly speaking, define themselves. The book suggests a useful form of intensive reading, which breaks down the reading of a difficult chapter or article into five stages, as designated by the letters 'SQRRR': Survey, Question, Read, Recall, and Review. It explains the rise of English studies by indicating what higher education was like in England until the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The book talks about the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Derrida. It lists some differences and distinctions between structuralism and post-structuralism under the four headings: origins, tone and style, attitude to language, and project. Providing a clear example of deconstructive practice, the book then describes three stages of the deconstructive process: the verbal, the textual, and the linguistic. It includes information on some important characteristics of literary modernism practiced by various writers, psychoanalytic criticism, feminist criticism and queer theory. The book presents an example of Marxist criticism, and discusses the overlap between cultural materialism and new historicism, specific differences between conventional close reading and stylistics and insights on narratology. It covers the story of literary theory through ten key events.
Reflections on new historicism and cultural materialism
orientation ostensibly founded on a
repudiation of other directions. The ‘new’ or
‘radical’ kinds of criticism I want to discuss in this
chapter have by different means pointed the way for various assaults
on ‘ahistorical’, ‘apolitical’
deconstruction over the last few years. Yet the
‘founding’ texts of new historicism and culturalmaterialism in fact
through the twin historicisms of culturalmaterialism and cultural
poetics (or ‘new historicism’).2 The periodising title early modern is part of a movement
away from notions such as ‘the English Renaissance’ or from ‘the Tudor period’,
although such names are retained by some of historicism’s adherents.3 That the emergence of the phrase ‘early modern’ seems to mark a strategic attempt to delineate what
otherwise appears to be a depressingly familiar ramification of what I suppose we must
now term ‘old’ historicism doesn’t diminish its institutional eﬀectivity.4
been replaced by minute attention to the cultural logistics of specific periods – especially Early Modernism, Romanticism, and Victorianism.
Secondly , there is evidence of a turning away from the dominant materialism epitomised by British culturalmaterialism and American new historicism, and even a drift towards aspects of ‘the spiritual’, whether conceived of as metaphorical renderings of various aspects of reading, writing, and textuality (see Julian Wolfreys, Victorian Hauntings: Speciality, Gothic, the Uncanny and Literature , Palgrave, 2001), or as
This book is an oral history of the punk scene in Belfast between 1977 and 1986. Interrogating the idea that punk was a non-sectarian subculture, it argues that the accounts of my interviewees suggest a more nuanced and complex relationship between the punk scene and Northern Irish society. Drawing on post-positivist oral history, the work of the Popular Memory Group and the cultural materialism of Raymond Williams, it considers how people’s memories of the punk scene have been shaped in the years since its zenith in the city and how they were shaped in the moment of the interview. Thinking of punk as a structure of feeling that is present in the oral history interview, the book suggests, is a way to draw out its relationship to structures of class, gender and sectarianism in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and its continuing affective and political legacies in the present.
This chapter considers the temporal dynamics of anti-computing, focusing on the tendency of tropes of dissent and anxiety around the computational to rise and fall but also to return and trouble the present. The goal of the chapter is to produce a form of thinking the technological that is apt for the consideration of anti-computing formations – taking cognisance both of their material underpinnings and the ideological heft of computational capitalism and its claim to be compulsory. The route taken goes first by way of a critical but appreciative engagement with media archaeology, approached by way of Foucault’s discussion of the sleep of history. Media archaeological approaches, drawing on this, but exchanging the document for the technical material, and focusing on disjuncture and on non-linear accounts are then explored, and deployed to develop a sense of anti-computing as non-continuous but recurrent. The focus then shifts to consider systemic factors that media archaeology largely sets aside in its concentration on the material effects of technical media; this demands a consideration of anti-computing as a formation produced by and within computational capitalism – and produces the conundrum of resistance within what has become compulsory. Finding a way through these conflicts it is argued that anti-computing itself can present a challenge to strongly new materialist forms of media archaeology whilst also making evident the need for forms of cultural materialism that continue to reach beyond representation and that find new ways to grapple with the specificity of digital media.
some of the recurring themes and
images arising in the early key texts of new historicism and culturalmaterialism, I argue in Chapter 2 that these
approaches in a number of ways orient their critical strategies
according to certain kinds of logics and structures of reflection. This
orientation frequently takes the form either of an analysis of
Renaissance power represented and discussed through a
‘a similar kind of critical opposition becomes available in
the present’. This is because, as I argued in Chapter 2 , culturalmaterialism has displaced
dialectical materialism, such that ‘a form of reflection
theory’ has been reasserted, through which ‘history has
become a mirror in which contemporary political priorities have been
substituted for the former certain ground of Marxist