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 (hĭ-stôr′ĭ-sĭz′əm, -stŏr′-)
1. A theory that events are determined or influenced by conditions and inherent processes beyond the control of humans.
2. The view that historical awareness is crucial for adequate understanding in a particular field or in general.
3. Art & Architecture The deliberate use or revival of historical styles in contemporary works.
4. Philosophy The view that historical periods should be studied without imposing anachronistic categories of evaluation.

his·tor′i·cist adj. & n.


(hɪˈstɒrɪˌsɪzəm) or


1. (Historical Terms) the belief that natural laws govern historical events which in turn determine social and cultural phenomena
2. (Historical Terms) the doctrine that each period of history has its own beliefs and values inapplicable to any other, so that nothing can be understood independently of its historical context
3. (Historical Terms) the conduct of any enquiry in accordance with these views
4. (Historical Terms) excessive emphasis on history, historicism, past styles, etc
hisˈtoricist n, adj


(hɪˈstɔr əˌsɪz əm, -ˈstɒr-)

1. a theory that history is determined by immutable laws and not by human agency.
2. a theory that all cultural phenomena are historically determined and that historians must study each period without imposing any personal or absolute value system.
3. a profound or excessive respect for historical institutions, as laws or traditions.
his•tor′i•cist, n., adj.


1. a theory that history is determined by immutable laws.
2. a theory that all cultural phenomena are historically determined and that all historians should study a period on its own merits.
3. a search for the laws of historical evolution.
4. a profound or an excessive respect for historical institutions, as traditions or laws. Also historism. — historicist, n., adj.
See also: History
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.historicism - a theory that social and cultural events are determined by history
hypothesis, theory, possibility - a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices"


[hɪˈstɒrɪsɪzəm] Nhistoricismo m


nHistorizismus m
References in periodicals archive ?
Instead, his book traces the roots of this later-twentieth-century historicism back to eighteenth and nineteenth century German thought from Chladenius through Weber and thereby provides the historical context for these later, "new" historicists, though the task of drawing the explicit connections between these intellectual movements remains.
Leaving aside the not-so-slender association between Stephen Greenblatt and the new historicism, the publication of Knapp's first book in Greenblatt's "New Historicism" series at California, and even the fact that this most recent book's back cover calls Knapp "one of the profession's finest historicists," we can ask why he deploys "theatre historian" to lend special dignity to his endeavor while lumping together as "historicists" those he argues against.
There is much to admire in this study, not least the same commitment to the reciprocal engagement of dramatic and historical texts that animates the work of Stephen Greenblatt and other new historicists.
Second, historicists tended to implicate Romanticism, insofar as it was historical, in a level of escapism, idealism, and denial that the historicist critic attempted to overcome in and through her work of criticism.
Historicists offer these extreme cases as instances in which an agent's history seems obviously relevant to his responsibility.
The New Historicists, wishing to ground their writings about literature in the real world, but wishing also to be as politically cutting-edge as the high-flying proponents of literary theory, proposed to use traditional historicist methods to arrive at interpretations conducive to a leftist outlook.
To the obvious objection that few if any historical contexts are simply one-dimensional, and that it is therefore difficult to identify the single context an author supposedly reflects, new historicists have an interesting answer: all literary productions serve the interests of the dominant ideology.
Because New Historicists rule English departments and professional organizations, and not yet from the grave, Kastan's book is premature as obituary, but timely as resume.
And because formalists could offer a Coleridgean "organic form" as romanticism's only admirable claim to the naturalism and autonomy of poetic language, some historicists, having adopted this history, could condemn exclusive attention to poetics as a romantic ideology of false resolutions to the social contradictions that generate literary form.
Designed in large part as a pedagogical introduction for students of literary theory, New Historicism and Cultural Materialism thoroughly and effectively summarizes the distinctive features of each school, outlines their institutional and publication histories, and glosses both the founding theorists (Michael Foucault and Clifford Geertz for the new historicists, Raymond Williams for the cultural materialists) as well as the key critical texts (Brannigan appends a useful annotated bibliography of important essays and books).
here, accredited New Historicists are remarkably shy of any theoretical
Hawthorn is careful not to fall into the same trap as some new historicists of making the literary text an all-powerful explanatory centrepiece, but there is a tension in this book between the political desire to argue his method and the continual return to the lesser argument that it works as literary criticism.