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.
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
title of this book refers not only to the chronological emphasis of its contents, but is also indicative of the different
methodological approaches that can be applied to the last of the trials, and
the variety of sources that can be used to illuminate our understanding of
the continued relevance of witchcraft once it was decriminalised. The contributors come from different academic disciplines, and by borrowing from
literarytheory, archaeology and folklore they move beyond the usual historical perspectives and sources. The emphasis is not so much on witchcraft
Literary satire and Oskar Panizza’s Psichopatia criminalis (1898)
des Mitarbeitens; ein Panizza-Lexikon wäre sehr erwünscht.’ ‘Vatikanische Satiren’,
Der sozialistische Akademiker, 10 (15 May 1895), pp. 178–82, p. 182.
30 Simpson, On the Discourse of Satire, p. 136.
31 Robert Phiddian, ‘Satire and the Limits of LiteraryTheory’, Critical Theory,
55:3 (2003), pp. 44–58, p. 49.
32 Phiddian, ‘Satire and the Limits of LiteraryTheory’, pp. 54, 49.
33 Das Liebeskonzil (1894) represented a veritable literary and judicial scandal,
and created religious controversy long after its creation; it was censored the
∙ 114 ∙
John J. Joughin and Simon Malpas
The new aestheticism: an introduction
The very notion of the ‘aesthetic’ could be said to have fallen victim to the success of
recent developments within literarytheory. Undergraduates now pause before
rehearsing complacent aesthetic verities concerning truth, meaning and value, verities
that used to pass at one time for literary criticism. The rise of critical theory in disciplines across the humanities during the 1980s and 1990s has all but swept aesthetics
from the map – and, some would argue, rightly so. Critical theory, of
Aesthetics and modernity
In recent years it has become apparent that many questions which ﬁrst became
manifest during the emergence of philosophical aesthetics at the end of the
eighteenth century play a decisive role both in mainstream philosophy and in
literarytheory. The critiques of the idea that the world is ‘ready-made’ by
Hilary Putnam and other pragmatically oriented thinkers, the concomitant
attention by Nelson Goodman, Richard Rorty and others to the ‘world-making’
aspects of language, the related moves in the philosophy of language on
Critics working on satire in the past two decades have deplored the
limited influence of recent literarytheory on studies of satire, with Dustin
Griffin blaming the complexity and diversity of satire, which make categorization and generalization difficult, and Fredric Bogel blaming the resistance to theory among scholars of eighteenth-century literature (Griffin,
Satire, 31; Bogel, Difference Satire Makes, 5). The attempts by these and
other scholars to rectify this situation through more
Seven Types of Ambiguity ,which, alongside The Meaning
of Meaning produced by his tutor I. A. Richards and
collaborator C. K. Ogden, became foundational texts of the
‘New Criticism’, modern literarytheory, semiotics, and
the practice we know as ‘close reading’. Ever since,
literary scholars have parsed, deconstructed, interrogated, and