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Shakespeare's History Plays

Rethinking Historicism

Neema Parvini

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A Note on Texts
1. Introduction
2. New Historicism
James I and the Politics of Literature
'Martial Law in the Land of Cockaigne'
3. Cultural Materialism
'History and Ideology, Masculinity and Miscegenation: The Instance of Henry V'
Marginal Politics?
4. An Argument Against Anti-Humanism
Nature and Nurture
Three Types of Determinism
Freedom versus Determinism and Human Agency
5. Solutions
6. Shakespeare's Historical and Political Thought in Context
Sixteenth-century Historiography
Three Strains of Historiography
Shakespeare's Humanist Historiography
7. Personal Action and Agency in Henry VI

Personal Politics: 2 Henry VI
Class Politics: Cade's Rebellion
Power Politics: 3 Henry VI
8 Ideology in Richard II and Henry IV
Cultural Historicism and the Second Tetralogy
Richard II: 'Such is the breath of kings' (1.3.208)
Henry IV: 'God save the King! Will no man say "Amen"?'
9. Conclusion

About the Author

Dr. Neema Parvini graduated with a First in English from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2004. He was awarded the Edmée Manning Prize, a McDonalds Scholarship, the Gertrude Schryver Prize and the Margaret Bretherton Memorial Prize for his outstanding performance as an undergraduate. He was awarded his MPhil in twentieth-century literature with Distinction from the University of Oxford in 2005. He returned to Royal Holloway in 2006, where he was awarded a Thomas Holloway Scholarship to read for his doctoral thesis on Shakespeare and historicism, and was awarded his PhD in 2010. He is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Surrey.