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Old things with new things to say

fully knowing our objects of study, making it difficult to say with absolute certainty how this thing was made, or what that thing was made from, or for whom it was made, or what it was made for, how it functioned, how it might function now, if at all. By claiming animacy or agency, vibrancy or voice, on behalf of things that, from a commonsensical human perspective, seem so inanimate and inert, so still and silent, we not only gain a new understanding of the things themselves but are forced to rethink the concepts we apply to them. This has implications for further

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture

against pride and discord (Chapter  XXXIX), the storm of trouble that breaks out after his burial (Chapter XL) and the finding of the incorrupt body (Chapter XLII). We can see, from this, how, at ‘particular moments when there is within a society a crisis of belief’ (in this case, threat of schism and doubt over the correct way of doing Christianity) ‘the sheer material factualness of the human body will be borrowed to lend that cultural construct the aura of “realness” and “certainty” ’.42 And so Cuthbert’s body remains within view, continuing to perform its

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
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10 A polemical introduction Nicola McDonald The Middle English romances have been called the ‘ugly ducklings of medieval English studies’.1 In a discipline that contests even the most basic definition of the genre, romance’s low prestige is one of the few critical certainties. Despite its status as medieval England’s most popular secular genre (more than one hundred romances are extant), the origin of the modern novel (still the most significant literary form), the ancestor of almost all contemporary popular fiction (in print and on screen) and the most

in Pulp fictions of medieval England