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Studies in intimacy

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.

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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
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Old things with new things to say

thingness and what directions might further work take? What possibilities are opened up by continuing to connect thing theory with medieval studies and what problems could arise? By progressing from issues of time and change, to movement and assemblage, and, finally, breakage and failure, this book highlights both the potentiality and difficulty of taking a project such as this forward. While the final part of this book looked at how things break, how they fail to do what humans want them to do, the brokenness and failure of theory should not escape our attention either

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

stretches back to the inception of British medieval studies,22 imply that an understanding of the gendered nature of lordship will have implications for our understanding of land tenure in general. Sir James Holt’s analysis of twelfth-century social structures saw noblewomen as pawns of men, used to seal political alliances through marriage, their key role being to transmit land and titles to their husbands. Holt’s view is important for the way it located the interactions between the key structures of family and lordship which defined twelfth-century women’s roles. His

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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erotic interaction – as a kind of wilful and desperate anachronism whose internal and historical heterogeneity is aimed at raising the spectre of ‘intimacy’ with Beowulf , and thereby with early medieval studies broadly conceived. That is, by ‘dating Beowulf ’ we mean to propose going out with , courting , hooking up with , etc. as a way to provocatively phrase a set of new relationships with an Old English poem. But what kind of dating site would

in Dating Beowulf
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Reading practices and participation in digital and medieval media

by interdisciplinary engagement with digital media studies continue to offer medieval studies productive ways of rethinking our assumptions about medieval literature and culture. In particular, examining participation in late-medieval literary culture through the perspectives offered by digital media criticism and theory facilitates identification and evaluation of the processes and procedures that shaped how readers engaged with works, interpreted texts, thought of authors, and practised reading. Indeed, focusing on participation in late-medieval English literary

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
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John Lydgate’s ‘Soteltes for the coronation banquet of Henry VI’

shaped by the materiality of the extracodexical text. Materiality and extracodexical texts Accordingly, this chapter focuses on participatory reading as understood through the critical framework of materiality. Materiality has flourished in medieval studies in recent decades, influenced by new materialisms and especially object-oriented ontology, which provides a framework for understanding the independent agency of things. Object-oriented ontology and speculative realism provide the means to approach medieval historicity outside and around the perspective of the human

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
Animal language and the return of loss in Beowulf

inquiries track a larger ‘animal turn’ within medieval studies 6 and an ecocritical strain within early medieval studies. 7 Birds have drawn particular attention within medieval animal studies: not only the avian figures of the Exeter Book, but also the Bayeux Tapestry birds, the arguing pair of The Owl and the Nightingale , Chaucer's debating birds, and other medieval English

in Dating Beowulf
A queer history

adaptations. Bryher's Beowulf is a queer, feminist masterpiece of documentary realism and modernist whimsy in which the Old English Beowulf plays a pivotal and underappreciated role, and whose marginalization within the field of early medieval studies is a consequence of a masculinizing ethos that often goes unchallenged, even in feminist scholarship on the poem. Throughout this chapter, I will argue that Bryher's Beowulf , while overtly a historical novel about the London Blitz during the Second World War, also practises a unique kind of queer

in Dating Beowulf
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The wall texts of a Percy family manuscript and the Poulys Daunce of St Paul’s Cathedral

in digital media and medieval studies. In particular, I employ the work of media theorist Mark Hansen, whose work has influenced the phenomenological approach to theorizing and analysing digital media. In ‘Wearable space’, an essay that became a chapter in Bodies in code, Hansen begins not phenomenologically, but with a nod to Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 1: the movement image. He first focuses on a concept introduced by Deleuze, that of the framing function performed by the technical image (a function that includes, for example, the technologies of the photograph, the

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England