by J J Cohen
Though the MLA website is so poorly maintained that the January 2009 issue of PMLA is listed as the most recent -- and information there about the journal's contents is, to say the least, skimpy -- medievalist will want to ensure that they grab a copy of the March 2009 issue (volume 124 number 2). Mine just arrived at my office, and for once I think I'll be reading most of the thing.
A guest column on "Why Animals Now?" by Marianne DeKoven kicks the issue off. Then comes a Victorian Cluster which looks quite interesting ... followed by a Theories and Methodologies cluster on Animal Studies with contributions like "The Eight Animals in Shakespeare; or, Before the Human" (Laurie Shannon); "Zoos, the Academy, and Captivity" (Nigel Rothfels), "Literary Animal Agents" (Susan McHugh); "Animals, Anomalies, and Inorganic Things" (Rosi Braidotti); "Postcolonial Critique in a Multispecies World" (Neel Ahuja) -- and many more, as the saying goes. The Changing Profession column features Cary Wolfe on animal studies and the humanities.
Next a second Theories and Methodologies cluster devoted to "Medieval Studies in the Twenty-First Century." Contributions include Peggy McCracken (on the crusades and romance narratives of captivity); Karla Mallette (Aristotle and the medieval Mediterranean -- the ocean that seems to be this cluster's "In" destination); Karma Lochrie (Mandeville, cosmopolitanism, and provincializing Europe); Sharon Kinoshita ("Medieval Mediterranean Literature"); Steven Justice (on D. W. Robertson's critical fate); Bruce Holsinger (animals and the material conditions of medieval writing; Karl Steel makes an appearance in this one); Christine Chism (medieval Arabic); Jessica Brantley (the book's "prehistory"); and Josiah Blackmore (melancholy and desire in the Coita d'Amor). Immediately evident to the Anglo_saxonists among this blog's readers will be the utter absence of their field: the Middle Ages of the issue is temporally not very deep, even if geographically capacious.
I've done no more than skim the issue, but can hardly wait to spend some time with the essays. That doesn't happen for me all that often with PMLA.