This title includes new essays by a range of leading theorists on the interdisciplinary study of literature and history. Literature as History presents a selection of specially commissioned essays by a range of key contemporary thinkers on the interdisciplinary study of literature and history. Chapters include: Catherine Belsey on Historicism, Helen Carr on Modernism, Terry Eagleton on tragedy, John Lucas on the First World War, R. C. Richardson on Servants in the 18th Century, Judy Simons on Rosamund Lehmann, and Stan Smith on Edward Thomas. The unifying theme is the interrelationship between literary/cultural production and its historical moment. The essays in the collection are astute and exciting in terms of their engagement with ever-changing developments in critical and theoretical practice while retaining an invaluable focus on familiar and engaging texts and authors. The contributors offer a reappraisal of the nature of literary studies today, looking back over the thirty-five years of Peter Widdowson's career - a career which has coincided with the emergence of, challenges to, and reformulations of critical theory - and ask what the future holds, particularly for the interdisciplinary ways of working which Widdowson pioneered. Bringing together distinguished scholars in the interdisciplinary study of English and History, it seizes the opportunity to take stock of the current field of literary studies and to ask searching questions about its future development.
Simon Barker is Professor of English Literature in the Department of Humanities at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. Jo Gill is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Exeter, UK.