This series takes account of contemporary literary theory, providing collections of key modern readings of major authors, genres and critical approaches. The books are prefaced by an editorial introduction setting the readings in context and exploring the issues they raise. This collection of essays aims to offer a summary of one of the most dynamic and controversial movements in contemporary criticism. New Historicism is the critical idea of viewing works as rewritings of non literary documents and as such are seen not merely as literary and linguistic phenomena but as political critiques of the age. The use of this ideology in critical writing has been a method of increasing popularity since the early 1980's. New Historicism and Renaissance drama have been firmly associated since this period and one of the aims of this collection is to examine the reasons behind this. It should prove an invaluable reference for literary students wishing to gain an insight to and understanding of New Historicism. All the essays are preceded by headnotes that are intended as commentary on the debates within New Historicism as they unfolded during the 80's. The key concepts in the headnotes are printed in bold type then listed alphabetically in a separate appendix for ease of reference.