Karl's Kalamazoo paper was a work of art, riffing on the Gowtherian Idyll post he'd placed here a while ago and deploying his lexical trademark phrase (see the comments here) of "I want to ..." in order to open up what I now dub a performative interspace.
Briefly -- and correct me if I am misrepresenting you, Karl -- his Kzoo paper attempted to imagine what it would be like to stop Gowther before he could leave the idyllic hillside, before he had to exit that space where for the first time he has experienced a generosity existing outside the demand for reciprocation. Karl went further, and spoke of his own desire to co-inhabit that space, to be with Gowther and the greyhound in a realm where charity is divorced from telos.
I've been thinking about Karl's paper quite a bit, especially as it touched the other presentations in the panel. Eileen, especially, forged such a middle space while detailing the impossible desire of a demon to touch, to love, to be with a solitary saint. In a moment filled with anguish and desire, she lingered over the sadness of this demon forced to become fugitive, a demon hesitating with yearning even as he is compelled to depart. I think, too, of Nicola wandering the sadness of the dispersive "cloud" he described, and Anna errant in the worlds she evoked. What made all four of these so impressive was their performative force: they brought into being the interstices they imagined. Another way of saying this is that these four scholar/performers found in their texts moments of generosity, of invitation: they accepted their provocations, formed an alliance with what was offered, brought themselves and their texts to a space where both could meet, mingle, change. It was a wonder to behold ... or, as audience member, to be caught up in the becoming, even to participate unawares.
We've been talking quite a bit on this blog about new critical modes. I happened to watch an important one performed* at Kalamazoo.
*and yes I keep using that word intentionally, since I seem to have performance theory on my mind