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The New Historicism

The so-called new historicism, popularized since 1980, goes back at least to 1942, when Croce wrote that "The New Historicism accepts, extends, and applies Vico's principle that men know only what they do." The newer New Historicism, though avoiding philosophical claims, likewise turns, as Vico had done, to cultural forms, especially literature and art, to reveal underlying interests and power structures and to penetrate to inarticulate levels and marginal groups of society. In general, this New Historicism was part of the linguistic and textualist turn taken by history and the human sciences, including philosophy, in the past generation; and so were the closely allied innovationist movements that call themselves "the new cultural history" and "a new philosophy of history." Despite attempts to deprecate the Old Historicism on ideological as well as methodological and terminological grounds, the New Historicism shared or inherited some of the same assumptions and goals and in a long perspective forms part of the same story.


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——. History, Its Theory and Practice. Translated by Douglas Ainslie. New York, 1960.

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——. The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches. Translated by Olive Wyon. New York: Harper, 1960.

Donald R. Kelley

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Heterodyne to Hydrazoic acidHistoricism - The Errors Of Historicism, The New Historicism, Bibliography