Chapter 6. Re-Historicizing Literature

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. T. V. Reed Fellow

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch6

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Reed, T. V. (2010) Re-Historicizing Literature, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch6

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. Washington State University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • re-historicizing literature;
  • “Always historicize!” exhorts contemporary literary critic Fredric Jameson;
  • resurrecting historical analysis of literary texts - reshaping entire cultures;
  • Marxist criticism in 1930s - as social act fundamentally involved in shaping course of history;
  • idea of “timeless” literature, attached to notion of the “classics”;
  • Hazel Carby's rich Reconstructing Womanhood - The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist;
  • Lisa Lowe's Immigrant Acts - racial, class, and gender dynamic in history of Asian Americans as aliens/citizens;
  • historical resurrection - of lesbian and gay authors and texts;
  • literary rehistoricization, emerging in the wake of the Parisian poststructuralist assault, “New Historicism”;
  • ethno-racially based paradigms, Marxist, feminist, gay/lesbian/queer, and postcolonial paradigms - displacing New Critical formalism


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • References and Further Reading