I’m reading Ivo Kamps’ article New Historicising the New Historicism in preparation for class this afternoon; Kamps is basically deconstructing new historicism through the filter of the ever present year of 1968 and the Vietnam war. It’s an interesting take and criticism of both Greenblatt and the field of new historicism, and offers some good points for me to lecture on. At one point while reading, I came across a quote from Greenblatt that sums up why so many people avoid new historicism, literary theory, and CHID:
Anecdotes are the equivalents in the register of the real of what drew me to the study of literature: the encounter with something I could not stand not understanding, that I could not quite finish with or finish off, that I had to get out of my inner life where it had taken hold
I had typed this bit out to both Jen and Michael before realizing that yes, actually, that is it. It’s the encounter with something I can’t stand not understanding, that gets inside and takes hold and nags and nudges that I have to struggle with and contemplate and revisit and mull – that’s why I do this, instead of any of the numerous, easier routes I could take. It’s the challenge of understanding that is the lure, the dare, the taunt that keeps me engaged.