Brook Thomas explores the new historicism and the challenges posed to it by a postmodern world that questions the very possibility of newness. He considers new historicism's engagement with poststructuralism and locates the former within a tradition of pragmatic historiography in the United States.
"[Thomas] usefully connects the new historicists with earlier American pragmatists, looks closely at the work of Walter Benn Michaels and Stephen Greenblatt, [and has] interesting things to say about the way the writing of Walter Benjamin complicates and furthers our idea of history."--Michael Wood, The Times Literary Supplement "[Thomas's] knowledge of German philosophical tradition provides a rewarding framework for an understanding of new historicist practice... An essential book for students of the subject."--Eugene Goodheart, CLIO "Thomas is especially interesting when he reaches beyond the language of critical discourse to treat larger issues like the battle over "great books' and the current blaming of liberals for the decline in Western values."--Ted Widmer, The Boston Phoenix Literary Section