towards a progressive medieval studies
I just finished reading "Anhaga's" post (meditation, really) on the "Old English in New York" site on Forster's "Passage to India" and Old English literature, and found it quite moving, actually. I've replied there, but a few [repeated] words here, too:Trying to think symbiotically "in the now" about Anhaga's comments, I offer some quotes from an interview I was reading as Anhaga was likely typing, between the two documentary filmmakers Errol Morris ["The Fog of War"] and Adam Curtis ["The Power of Nightmares"], in the excellent magazine "The Believer" [April 2006 issue]. They were discussing the Vietnam War and 9/11 [the subjects of their respective most recent films] and trying to collectively make the argument that there are no real conspiracies [and for academic studies, let's replace "conspiracy" with "ideology"] because history is always more random than that. Morris asked, "Is history primarily a history of conspiracy? Or is it just a series of blunders, one after the other? Confusions, self-deceptions, idiocies of one kind or another?" To which Curtis replied, "History is a series of unintended consequences resulting from confused actions, some of which are committed by people who think they may be taking part in a conspiracy, but it never works out the way they intended." And then, of course, there is Anhaga's "vagaries of Wyrd" and Forster's caves that destroy language [and hence, understanding, or "meaning"]. Our problem is we think, as Anhaga says, that if we can construct the proper apparatus, or methodology for reading Old English texts [which will always be incomplete, part of a fragmentary and "lost" corpus], that "meaning' [whatever that is] can more properly be "seen." It cannot be "seen" because it has to be invented, over and over again, by "us," here, and now. Scholarship has to be practiced as a kind of art form--it is an artistic intervention into history.Cheers, Eileen
Thanks for cross-posting here, Eileen. I'd encourage "In the Middle" readers to check out the fuller comment at Old English in New York, where you will learn a bit more about sonority, nostalgia, and Elieen's " "Beowulf and the Floating Wreck of History."
JJC -- thank you for the link to my ramblings on Forster. Considering that I'd thought about taking the post down (thinking it was too incoherent) - I was glad to see you thought it worth reading!Eileen -- Will respond to you over on my blog...
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