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Old things with new things to say
James Paz

matter and, in particular, of living matter’. In addressing these concerns, we ‘unavoidably find ourselves having to think in new ways about the nature of matter and the matter of nature; about the elements of life, the resilience of the planet, and the distinctiveness of the human’.4 But what does this mean for critically and theoretically engaged medievalists? As I have made clear throughout this book, recent trends in thing theory  –​especially those taken up by medievalists –​have drawn heavily upon Latour’s controversial argument that the dividing line between

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
James Paz

abstract concept or a divinity), but a physical object or being’.7 The weird creature (the OE wiht) we encounter at the outset of the poem, and veiled by its obscure speech, turns out to be a familiar phenomenon, a part of everyday experience. By taking on board the lessons of the riddles, and incorporating their approach to the material world into our critical practice, Tiffany’s essay aims to encourage the humanities to abandon uncritical assumptions about the nature of material substance, for ‘the reality of matter must always remain uncertain, always a problem that

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Enigmas, agency and assemblage
James Paz

touch it (maybe even open it, turn it, carry it, too) if we could a mere thirty years ago (so that, in this sense, thirty years may as well be one thousand and thirty years)? Becker takes issue with previous scholarship; but, rather than disciplinarity, his concern is that no convincing answer has been offered ‘as to the nature and the purpose of the box’. Evidently, he wants to know how this thing (now an artefact out of its time, inaccessible within a glass case) ever functioned. For Becker, the key to unlocking such an answer lies in a careful consideration of time

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Open Access (free)
On Anglo-Saxon things
James Paz

Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture and Graham Harman identify a renewed attention to materialist and realist options in philosophy, with thinkers ‘speculating once more about the nature of reality independently of thought and of humanity more generally’.8 Meanwhile, in New Materialisms (2010), Diana Coole and Samantha Frost argue that contemporary thinkers should question prevailing presumptions about agency and causation and ‘reorient ourselves profoundly in relation to the world, to one another, and to ourselves’.9 This call has been taken up by political

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
James Paz

Irish colour term glas, often translated as the colour of ‘sky in water’ or green, grey, blue. And so the bodily substantiation of God cannot be divorced from environmental features. Human beings  –​even saintly humans –​are not at the centre of a system of nature, but entangled within it.2 The elemental fluidity of Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands shapes perceptions of the spiritual world and its relation to the temporal. As well as acting as an assembly, the saintly body is also a thing that crosses the boundaries between life and death, animate and inanimate

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Fragility, brokenness and failure
James Paz

ongoing process of becoming. I will start by closely analysing the poem as it exists in the Vercelli Book manuscript, carrying out a reading of the text in light of thing theory, looking at how the various things represented in the poem (tree, beam, beacon, gallows, rood, body) transform one another, but how they also shift and shape the human ‘dreamer’ as he speaks his vision. I will acknowledge the riddle-​like nature of this poem yet contend that this is nevertheless a riddle without a solution. This point is crucial because it is their resistance to objectification

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Unreadable things in Beowulf
James Paz

cases, this power is linked to the elusive or riddle-​like nature of a ‘thing’ that exists on the margins of a human community. As Grendel’s mother refuses to be named, identified and objectified, we can similarly see the giants’ sword transforming from a functioning blade into something else. In the absence of his runwita and rædbora, Hrothgar is confronted by the thing that the giants’ sword has become and must try to read its runes himself. But when he looks at the rune-​engraved hilt he cannot entirely make sense of it and what he does see is a historical

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Suzanne Conklin Akbari

1 Incorporation in the Siege of Melayne Suzanne Conklin Akbari In the debate concerning precisely what constitutes a medieval ‘romance’ the Siege of Melayne occupies a special position. As a number of readers have noted, this poem participates in the conventions both of romance (understood as a genre fundamentally concerned with the deeds of knights) and of hagiography. The focus of such cross-generic readings is usually the character of Archbishop Turpin who, as Barron puts it, has ‘as much of the saint as of the soldier in his nature’.1 The crossgeneric status

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Duncan Sayer

prepared on the pyre, At the funeral pile he was easily seen, His tunic covered in blood) (Sebo, 2015 ) The circumstances dictated the nature of the ritual and its emphasis; it was designed by a wife and mother, with a focus on her brother. Had this mortuary drama been prepared by Hildeburh’s daughter-in-law it might have looked quite different. Rather than being cremated in the clothes they died in, they might have been dressed in new clothes and with identifiable gravegoods. The visibility of the injuries they inflicted on each other was important to

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
Christopher Abram

habitat, whether because of his nature, by choice, or by compulsion. Grendel's home in the fens is one of the first things we learn about him: this information is given the very first time that we hear the monster's name. Swa ða drihtguman dreamum lifdon, eadiglice, oð ðæt an ongan fyrene fremman feond on helle; wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten, mære mearcsteapa, se

in Dating Beowulf