Permalink for this paragraph 1 Why do class activities seem so simple? When something is explained to my by a professor, or through an activity, I feel that I will remember what I have learned. Then I sit at my computer to write a paper on a new criticism, and I blank. This has been especially true of New Historicism. As a class, when we “new historicized” “The Raven” I thought I completely had this avenue of criticism in the bag. And then with Tom and Rochelle’s exercise with “American Pie” I thought a New Historicism paper would be fun and easy to write. With only three weeks left of class and then one week of finals, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so why does New Historicism seem to be such a daunting task?
Permalink for this paragraph 0 I have stated again and again how I believe that as an English major I study life through literature because literature is written either through the author’s immediate experience or observation of society. As I have been reading about how New Historicism functions, this theory of criticism seems to take this “study of life” one step further. Not only does New Historicism look at works of literature, but this branch of criticism looks at the world (or history) in which the work was written. It seems to be taking my belief in my discipline one step further than I originally knew how to practice.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 So why does it seem so scary? Perhaps because I am afraid of blending my methods of criticism and getting lost in the mix. But as I read on about New Historicism, I find that that is one of the functions of the criticism anyways. This theory may share functions with feminist theory, new criticism, and many others, which makes sense because history is filled with different events that push different perspectives.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 For my New Historicism project, I plan on working with “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. My History Engine Episode focuses on the beginning of the manufacturing of Aspirin by Bayer. Since Gilman’s short story deals with a physician’s wife losing her grips with reality, I want to look at what a contemporary physician may have been concentrating on in 1899 for his professional field. I believe his investment in the study of the human body derails his understanding of his wife’s immediate condition because her mind and emotional state need attention rather than her physical being.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 We shall see where New Historicism takes me with this final paper.