It explores the historical, social, political, and cultural contexts surrounding the creation and reception of a work of literature.New historicists concern themselves with the political function of literature and with the concept of power, the intricate means by which cultures produce and reproduce themselves.
New historicists promote the idea that history is not closed or final, as traditional historians would claim, but is found in acts of interpretation that can negotiate new readings of the textual traces of the past.
The approach of new historicism argues that a work of literature does not exist devoid of its conditions or circumstances.
The responses of the original audience are of interest to the historical critic, as are the meanings and implications of specific words, symbols, images, and characters through time.
We can hardly understand the characters' lives without some sense of the time and place in which they lived, and we can hardly understand the author's purpose without understanding the cultural norms and events during the writing of the work.
Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals.
Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.
Some critics consider literary criticism a practical application of literary theory, as criticism always deals directly with a literary work, albeit from a theoretical point of view.
Modern literary criticism is often published in essay or book form.
New historicists suggest that as history is always interpreted and written in other words, but a practice bound up with the historian’s interpretative subjectivity.
The historian’s own social and cultural context results in potential biases that new historicists argue will be reflected in writings that record history.