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Local TranscendenceEssays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database$
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Alan Liu

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226486956

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226486970.001.0001

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Sidney's Technology

Sidney's Technology

A Critique by Technology of Literary History

(p.187) 7 Sidney's Technology
Local Transcendence

Alan Liu

University of Chicago Press

This chapter, which examines the project of literary history as a technical practice that is part of the broader poetics of contemporary technē, looks at the difference between the technical ethos of past literary history and that of the so-called new literary history. It submits the literary historical practices of the past to a critique by technology—specifically, to critique from the anachronistic perspective of contemporary technology. The materials considered here include only the following works representing certain shared elements of literary-historical explication from the sixteenth century through modernity: Philip Sidney's Apology for Poetry, Thomas Gray's “The Progress of Poesy,” Percy Bysshe Shelley's Defense of Poetry, Hippolyte Taine's History of English Literature, T. S. Eliot's “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” Harold Bloom's Anxiety of Influence, and formalist literary history spanning from the Russian Formalist thesis of “systemic evolution.”

Keywords:   literary history, technē, technology, Philip Sidney, Apology for Poetry, Thomas Gray, Progress of Poesy, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Defense of Poetry, Hippolyte Taine

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