Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Limits of Literary Historicism

Dunn, Allen and Haddox, Thomas F., eds. The Limits of Literary Historicism. (Tennessee Studies in Literature ; vol. 45). Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2011.

Note: This item may be on the New Book Shelf.
Call Number: 801.95 L629d

Publisher's Description: The Limits of Literary Historicism is a collection of essays arguing that historicism, which has come to dominate the professional study of literature in recent decades, has become ossified. By drawing attention to the limits of historicism—its blind spots, overreach, and reluctance to acknowledge its commitments—this provocative new book seeks a clearer understanding of what historicism can and cannot teach us about literary narrative.

Editors Allen Dunn and Thomas F. Haddox have gathered contributions from leading scholars that challenge the dominance of contemporary historicism. These pieces critique historicism as it is generally practiced, propose alternative historicist models that transcend mere formula, and suggest alternatives to historicism altogether. The volume begins with the editors’ extended introduction, “The Enigma of Critical Distance; or, Why Historicists Need Convictions,” and then is divided into three sections: “The Limits of Historicism,” “Engagements with History,” and “Alternatives to History.”

Defying convention, The Limits of Literary Historicism shakes up established modes to move beyond the claustrophobic analyses of contemporary historicism and to ask larger questions that envision more fulfilling and more responsible possibilities in the practice of literary scholarship.

Contents:  Introduction: The enigma of critical distance; or, why historicists need convictions / Allen Dunn and Thomas F. Haddox -- Pt. 1. The limits of historicism -- The historicization of literary studies / Jane Gallop -- The children of New Historicism: literary scholarship, professionalization, and the will to publish / Rebecca Munson and Claude Willan -- Faithful historicism and philosophical semi-retirement / Amy J. Elias -- Pt. 2. Engagements with history -- Fiction as history: Chesnutt's The marrow of tradition as source material / Bruce Plourde -- Bayard Taylor and the limits of Orientalism / Christoph Irmscher -- The prehistory of posthistoricism / Jeffrey Insko -- Pt. 3. Alternatives to history -- Modernism and the aesthetics of cultural studies / R. M. Berry -- Why modernist claims for autonomy matter / Charles M. Altieri.