From the Global to the Local
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

are exponential. Indeed, another series of pressures clearly influence UNRWA’s service provision on the ground, in spite of their ongoing invisibility in international communications and fundraising campaigns: it is, amongst other things, changes in UNRWA’s employment rules that are leading to larger class sizes and an increase in mistrust towards UNRWA in its dual position as a service provider and the employer of tens of thousands of Palestinians who provide these services. Precarious Workers’ Rights 16 In its 2016–2021 Medium Term Strategy

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Author: James Paz

Anglo-Saxon ‘things’ could talk. Nonhuman voices leap out from the Exeter Book Riddles, telling us how they were made or how they behave. In The Husband’s Message, runic letters are borne and a first-person speech is delivered by some kind of wooden artefact. Readers of The Dream of the Rood will come across a tree possessing the voice of a dreaming human in order to talk about its own history as a gallows and a rood. The Franks Casket is a box of bone that alludes to its former fate as a whale that swam aground onto the shingle, and the Ruthwell monument is a stone column that speaks as if it were living wood, or a wounded body.

This book uncovers the voice and agency that these nonhuman things have across Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture. It makes a new contribution to ‘thing theory’ and rethinks conventional divisions between animate human subjects and inanimate nonhuman objects in the early Middle Ages. Anglo-Saxon writers and craftsmen describe artefacts and animals through riddling forms or enigmatic language, balancing an attempt to speak and listen to things with an understanding that these nonhumans often elude, defy and withdraw from us. The active role that things have in the early medieval world is also linked to the Germanic origins of the word, where a þing is a kind of assembly, with the ability to draw together other elements, creating assemblages in which human and nonhuman forces combine. Anglo-Saxon things teach us to rethink the concept of voice as a quality that is not simply imposed upon nonhumans but which inheres in their ways of existing and being in the world; they teach us to rethink the concept of agency as arising from within groupings of diverse elements, rather than always emerging from human actors alone.

Unreadable things in Beowulf
James Paz

34 1 Æschere’s head, Grendel’s mother and the sword that isn’t a sword: Unreadable things in Beowulf When Grendel’s mother attacks Heorot, her victim, Æschere, is described by Hrothgar as ‘min runwita ond min rædbora’ [my rune-​knower and advice-​bearer] (1325).1 Later, when Beowulf returns to Heorot, having slain Grendel’s mother, he hands the hilt from the giants’ sword he used to kill her over to Hrothgar, who looks at the artefact before issuing a warning to Beowulf about becoming monstrous and foreshadowing the hero’s later encounter with the wyrm (1677

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Open Access (free)
Marianne Moore
David Herd

mouth wide, before pursing your lips into a sort of pout, the way you breathe through the syllables as you activate your throat, the way the letters line up across the page. How, Oppen asks in his poems about poetry, should one handle language when one’s object in using the language is to present some thing that one likes? Marianne Moore is a poet of things. Isolated things – jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant – are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. She is also a poet for whom words have properties not unlike things

in Enthusiast!
Open Access (free)
Henry David Thoreau
David Herd

as lustily as a chanticleer’, between which two possibilities there is a world of difference. Coleridge, famously, proposed to write things. He proposed to write more of ‘Kubla Khan’ than he was able to, before the man from Porlock interrupted him, and in Biographia Literaria he continually proposes to write something he never quite gets round adequately to expressing – ‘Esemplastic’, the concept the book trails, being a disappointment when finally it arrives. For all its critical qualities, that is, Biographia Literaria has the air of a proposal to write. There is

in Enthusiast!
Helene Brembeck

that will surely benefit from the binge – eventually – is the storage business. Clark’s argument was that the growth of self-storage facilities attests to the fact that the accumulation of things is outpacing our capacity to keep them in our homes. He continued: ‘Put that way, the storage business is a darker reflection of the retail economy. Shopping and exchanging holiday gifts are, ostensibly, joyous, but those objects are often deposited in storage units in sadder times’ (Clark, 2014). As we have repeatedly argued in the Managing Overflow project, too much stuff

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
James Paz

59 2 The ‘thingness’ of time in the Old English riddles of the Exeter Book and Aldhelm’s Latin enigmata What do we make of the transformation of things over time? Maybe one also ought to ask what things make of us over time: how are human beings transformed by the things that carry the traces of our voices and our bodies when we are gone? The Old English and Anglo-​Latin riddling traditions give voice to things, as if they could answer such a question. Yet, for the most part, criticism has focused on the rhetorical device of prosopopoeia, whereby the human

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

175 5 The Dream of the Rood and the Ruthwell monument: Fragility, brokenness and failure In this fifth and final chapter, I want to pay attention to the other side of assemblage –​that is, the way that things break up and break away. The poem (or poems) usually referred to as The Dream of the Rood is a fragile thing that has been, and in a sense asks to be, broken apart and pieced back together time and again. It is not a coherent whole, in any of its forms, but an elusive assortment –​at once breakage and assemblage –​that invites us to participate in its

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Open Access (free)
Soviet things that talk
Yulia Karpova

Introduction: Soviet things that talk ‘A silent speech that things address to us every day in an artistic language is infinitely more convincing than dozens of lectures about aesthetic education, good taste, etc. To make this language of things contemporary and expressive is the exciting but difficult task of an artist.’1 This was how the Soviet art critic Nina Iaglova opened her article in the journal Decorative Art of the USSR in June 1961. Here, ‘things’ (veshchi, material objects) appear as active participants in people’s lives, as agents by virtue of being

in Comradely objects
Open Access (free)
On Anglo-Saxon things
James Paz

1 Introduction: On Anglo-​Saxon things How many things, Files, doorsills, atlases, wine glasses, nails, Serve us like slaves who never say a word, Blind and so mysteriously reserved. (Jorge Luis Borges, ‘Things’)1 Næfre hio heofonum hran,  ne to helle mot, ac hio sceal wideferh  wuldorcyninges larum lifgan.  Long is to secganne hu hyre ealdorgesceaft  æfter gongeð, woh wyrda gesceapu;  þæt is wrætlic þing to gesecganne. [It never reaches heaven, nor to hell, but it must always live within the king of glory’s laws. Long it is to say how its life-​shape spins on

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture