Search results

Open Access (free)
Old things with new things to say

. Key theoretical concepts –​ agency, autonomy, subjectivity, objectivity, self, other, voice, body, age, gender, genre –​have all been put under strain. These concepts have all played their part in the various branches of critical theory since the latter half of the twentieth century, but by applying them to things, mere things, we take such concepts to the limit of their meaning –​that is, we stretch them almost to breaking point. This is especially true when applying theory to early medieval things, where the gaps in our knowledge of this period prevent us from

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Open Access (free)

through the female life cycle and their status was affected by the transition from wife to widow. Thus, despite the view of the church that widows were miserabiles personae, society accorded widows greater autonomy than other categories of women. Married women, who theoretically were ‘covered’ by their husbands, were nevertheless often involved in the religious benefaction of their families, both natal and marital. The role of wives in land alienations was often to give legitimacy to joint grants, because the involvement of a wife was in some circumstances legally

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Fragility, brokenness and failure

between The Dream of the Rood and the runic poem on the Ruthwell monument. Acknowledging their resistance to straightforward unification gives us a way of speaking about the two together without forcing them to be the same –​providing a means of talking about these things without eroding their autonomy. What kind of encounter does the Ruthwell monument offer us and how is this experience like or unlike that offered by The Dream in the Vercelli Book manuscript? Following the work of Fred Orton, I will argue that the Ruthwell monument is a thing of tension and paradox, at

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Open Access (free)

any conclusions to be drawn from a comparison of the role of Clemencia with those of the earlier countesses, it would seem that the countess, as wife, is less visible in charter evidence. Clemencia, as wife, appears in charters giving her consent, and may have received religious benefits, but she played no role in witnessing her husband’s charters, unlike the earlier twelfth-century countesses. It was as a widow that she granted her own charters, again reflecting the greater autonomy of the widow’s powers of alienation. The charter evidence has shown how in the

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
On Anglo-Saxon things

theoretical work and an object-​oriented medieval studies has started to take shape. In 2008, Kellie Robertson published an article in Literature Compass contending that medieval things were endowed with an autonomy and agency that was largely misrecognised in the wake of Enlightenment empiricism, concluding with a reading of Chaucer’s Merchant’s hat.16 Robertson also contributed to a special issue of Exemplaria, edited by Patricia Clare Ingham in 2010, 5 Introduction: On Anglo-Saxon things 5 which was devoted to premodern culture and the material object.17 In Animal

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Open Access (free)
Nonreading in late-medieval England

that echoes through the letter’s movement. Facilitated by Pandarus, the letter here asserts a violent, sexualized authority over Criseyde’s body, acting not only as a communicative object and love-token, but as assailant. This work of the letter thus queers Criseyde’s body as the two intermingle, destabilizing Criseyde’s bodily privacy and independence. In this way, analysing the work of nonreading in this scene shows how the letter compromises Criseyde’s bodily autonomy, thus undermining her earlier claim that ‘I am myn owene womman’ (II.750). This loss of autonomy

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
Open Access (free)
What lovers want

lands he has attacked, it links female autonomy with the widespread social fantasy that through marriage and luck one could aspire to enter the ranks of the nobility. The marriage insures the continuation of the earl’s line, and the man he has despised will inherit MUP_McDonald_05_Ch4 83 11/20/03, 13:57 84 Arlyn Diamond his father-in-law’s estate, becoming his peer in wealth and status if not birth. The idea of marrying up was not a radical one in English society, which was, in Dyer’s terms, ‘remarkably resilient and flexible’, although the great barons in

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Le Bone Florence of Rome and bourgeois self-making

autonomy and dependence; of sexual impotence and a kind of Yeatsian desire for desire; simultaneously pathetic, contemptible, terrifying and absurd. The poem does not only focus on the old body, however. Sick, deformed and wounded; needing to be fed, clothed, kept warm and given rest; eroticised, tormented and vulnerable; the corpse – all these varieties of the body in time are accommodated by the poem, and not as animal but as human. The representation of Florence and her experiences is strikingly corporeal. She is, we are told early on, ‘πe feyrest πynge, / That euyr

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Open Access (free)
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and John Lydgate’s Troy Book

, Norton advocates textual stability as authorially determined. He ends at the last by developing another form of control: intellectual. In order to maintain textual stability and the primacy of authorial meaning, Norton encourages the development of the omnivorous reader, who will ‘rede many bokis’ but not emend them. Accordingly, Norton adopts a stance that favours readers whose consumption of the text focuses exclusively on interpretive reception, and further promotes recognition of authorial autonomy. His adoption of this stance further indicates that ‘intensive

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England