Featuring essays from some of the most prominent voices in early medieval English studies, Dating Beowulf: studies in intimacy playfully redeploys the word ‘dating’, which usually heralds some of the most divisive critical impasses in the field, to provocatively phrase a set of new relationships with an Old English poem. This volume presents an argument for the relevance of the early Middle Ages to affect studies and vice versa, while offering a riposte to anti-feminist discourse and opening avenues for future work by specialists in the history of emotions, feminist criticism, literary theory, Old English literature, and medieval studies alike. To this end, the chapters embody a range of critical approaches, from queer theory to animal studies and ecocriticism to Actor-Network theory, all organized into clusters that articulate new modes of intimacy with the poem.
Despite the supposed game-changing nature of the Anthropocene as a geological
event, popular culture and literary theory have tended to intensify the
supposedly intrinsic value of human agency and survival. If there is a
sublimity in the articulation of the Anthropocene it has been predominantly
recuperative, where the threat to human existence intensifies a seemingly
necessary moral future. To think about material sublimity would be to
consider the Anthropocene as an inscriptive event that precludes the lures
of redemption that have accompanied the geological stratigraphy. By
exploring the logic of literary sustainability, which discloses an intimate
relation between survival and destruction, I argue for rethinking the
supposedly prima facie value of the future of what has inscribed
itself as humanity.
in France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), a collection of essays
which treat historical periods from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century,
the latter period including separate essays on women’s ﬁction, autobiography,
theatre, poetry and feminist literarytheory; (d) Monographs: for example,
Michele Bacholle, Un passé contraignant: double bind et transculturation
(Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, ), on Farida Belghoul, Annie Ernaux and
Agota Kristof; Colin Davis and Elizabeth Fallaize, French Fiction in the Mitterand
Mythologies: Writing, History and the West (London,
Routledge, 1990), p. 89.
6 Burt, Licensed by Authority, pp. 152–3.
7 Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield, ‘Foreword’, in Jonathan Dollimore
and Alan Sinfield (eds), Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural
Materialism (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1985).
8 Margot Heinemann, ‘How Brecht read Shakespeare’, in Political Shakespeare, p. 203.
14/10/02, 9:50 am
Censorship and the institution of knowledge
9 Robert Young, ‘The politics of “the politics of literarytheory”’, OLR, 10
Foregrounding the body and performance in plays by Gina Moxley, Emma Donoghue and Marina Carr
Spaces: Phenomenology and Performance in
Contemporary Drama (Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University
Press), 1994, pp. 186–7.
Elaine Aston, An Introduction to Feminism and Theatre (London and
New York: Routledge, 1995), pp. 51–2.
Lib Taylor, ‘Shape-shifting and Role-splitting: Theatre, Body and Identity’,
in Naomi Segal, Lib Taylor and Roger Cook (eds), Indeterminate Bodies
(London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 164–5.
Judith Butler, ‘Performative Acts and Gender Constitution’ in Julie Rivkin
and Michael Ryan (eds), LiteraryTheory: An Anthology, second edition
Literary appreciation, comparatism, and universalism in the Straits
), 18, and SCM , 5:19 (September 1901), 96. Song and Lim were educated at the elite Raffles Institution in Singapore and subsequently as Queen’s Scholars at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities, where Song studied law and Lim studied medicine.
8 SCM , 1:1 (March 1897), 2, 20; Philip Holden, ‘Communities and Conceptual Limits: Exploring Malaysian Literature in English’, Asiatic , 3:2 (2009), 58.
9 For a general overview, see Bonny Tan, The Straits Chinese Magazine : A Malayan Voice’, BiblioAsia , 7:2 (2011), 30–5.
10 Terry Eagleton, LiteraryTheory: An
The structures of migration in Tales from Firozsha Baag
It is, in fact, possible to object to the violation involved in
these intrusive parental meditations, in having Kersi’s parents
disgorge chunks of semi-digested literarytheory. The two
figures reading these stories at home in Bombay appear to bear
little relation to the carefully drawn characters in ‘Of White
Hairs and Cricket’, for example. The voices in the last story do
not ‘feel’ as if they belong to the same people. A certain amount
of arbitrary grafting seems to have been involved to get the
discussion underway. However, the tone makes sense if one
through colonial relations’ also finds expression in an ongoing distrust among Indigenous studies scholars towards literary criticism and theory. 44 Literature, as the Goori poet and scholar Evelyn Araluen argues, ‘is a term we apply to the textual products of the West, or those texts that reinforce accepted narratives of the other’, while literarytheory is either ‘unconcerned with our material realities and processes of cultural production, or it has seized upon our creations for its tropes and metaphors’. 45 If for postcolonial scholars such as Gayatri Spivak
What would it mean to ‘date’ Beowulf? And what do we learn when we try? This playful pun on one of the more controversial terms in the scholarship on this poem allows a consideration of the range of intimacies generated by it as well as a conditioning of both the poem and its scholarship. Accordingly, this introductory chapter seeks to get intimate with Beowulf, drawing on critical discussions of affect, queer historiography, and contemporary literary theory in order to form a kind of dating profile that serves as a conceptual framework for the various modes of intimacy in and with the poem that emerge throughout the volume. Dating Beowulf coheres as a project in presenting a new set of readings – both critical and personal – that aim to generate new avenues of discussion for an Old English poem too often mired in critical impasses, and this opening essay frames the conversation accordingly, highlighting the various couplings and methodological approaches on display, while articulating the relevance of the early Middle Ages to affect studies and vice versa.
because of the repeated
assertions during this time period—many of which I have quoted in this
book—advising the reader against reading allegorically and claiming that
only general criticisms are intended.
Early modern literarytheory does not shed much light on indirect
satire because the connections that, for example, George Puttenham and
Philip Sidney make between satire and comedy thus emphasize more
aggressive, direct forms of satire. Sidney’s brief description asserts that
satire will “make a man laugh at folly, and (at length ashamed) to laugh at
himself ” and