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Historical Approach to Analyze Literature

never forget about history
One of the most basic approach used in the analysis of literary work refers to the historical method of literary criticism. In line with this, (Russell 1966: 52) assures that the critic interprets the poem within the history, or contemporary frame of reference, behind the poem. In other words, Historical approach is one of the method to analysis literary work in which the author and the reader comprehend the message of the literary work by remembering the moment/historic moment a long with the literary work written.

It means that if one takes historical approach, he/she have to be willing to do the basic exclusion of all other approaches or at least he must not use any of the other approaches until this historical approach has exhausted.While those using the historical approach admit that a poem can mean something different to the readers of a later century, he still maintains that the original meaning is the only true one, and that it can be discovered only through historical analysis. Put simply, this approach sees a literary work chiefly, if not exclusively, as a reflection of its author's life and times or the life and times of the characters in the work.

Interesting fact can be spelled out through a literary work. The literary work which fits best using this approach in the attempt to gain better and deeper understanding of the content is that the song 'Wind of Change' by Scorpion which presents the history of the Cold War's ending. You'll never know the meaning of this song without knowing the history of Cold War.

Therefore, there are at least four steps in utilizing this approach:

1. Discovering the time when the poem was made, what happened to the author in that time, or is there any special moment in that time which is recorded by historian.

2. Analyzing at glance whether it is connected or not between the content of the literary work and the certain historical moments after finding out the basic information of it concerning the "when".

3. Finding the clues left by the author, usually in the forms of special terms, symbols, or figurative language which are strongly related to the moment of the past which become the inspiration of the literary work was being made. Take the example of the song 'Wind of Change' by Scorpion, terms like, Moskva, Gorky Park, August summer night, balalaika, freedom bell, and etc. Through those terms the readers are given clues of what the song tells about.

4. Interpreting the literary work based on the moment underlying the creation of it by comprehending and analyzing the content related to its historical moment.
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  1. could u like to put the references of your writing in this blog? because i want to know what are book that you used to be ur reference, and i want to use that book also since i get difficulty to find ebook or pdf which discuss about historical approach. here, i like ur writing. so, would u like to help me brotha with share ur book here please... thank you

  2. H.A. Taine is the expert of historical approach

  3. sorry, could give me the references about this article that discuss about historical approach? because i need the keyword to looking for the pdf one. i hope you can reply as soon as possible. thank you :D


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