Monday, September 07, 2009

New Critical Modes 3: Who Else?

by J J Cohen

First, my gratitude to everyone who contributed to the ongoing discussion about new critical modes here and here (and honestly, to anyone who has ever contributed to one of the many blog posts we do here on the subject, since it is one dear to most of us).

In the ongoing we discussion we heard many possibilities, but not many specific names of those who have created or are now fashioning such modes. A few mentioned so far: Carolyn Dinshaw; the Chaucer blogger; Rick Godden; Nicola Masciandaro; Dan Remein. I know I've done this only implicitly so far, but I'll be explicit: my co-bloggers Eileen Joy, Karl Steel, and Mary Kate Hurley all possess and artist's inclination to create the genre that conveys their argument rather than to cram an argument into generic exoskeletons.

There are many others who could be added. Jenna Mead made a strong argument that David Wallace is engaged in such a project in Premodern Places. Nicholas Howe. Myra Seaman and Holly Crocker, especially (but certainly not exclusively) via postmedieval. Anna Klosowska. Noreen Giffney and Michael O'Rourke. Who else?


Nicola Masciandaro said...

generic exoskeletons--cool image.

Some random names:

Reza Negarestani (current book project on scholastic concepts of decay)

Daniel Heller-Roazen

Heather Bamford (intimate/Bachelardian? phenomenologist of fragments)

Giorgio Agamben, am thinking esp. of the bliss-inducing Stanzas

Eileen Joy said...

Two words: Kathleen Biddick.

Also, props for an essay by Anne Clark Bartlett in "Exemplaria" [vol. 16 (2004): 437-456]:

"Reading it Personally: Robert Gluck, Margery Kempe, and Language in Crisis."

Eileen Joy said...

Also, as regards new critical modes and also a more presentist Middle Ages, props also to Catherine Brown's essay "In the Middle," published in the "Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies" [vol. 30.3 (2000): 547-574].

dan remein said...

Decidedly not medieval studies, but, the poet Claudia Rankine has one absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful text called "Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric" from Graywolf.

The books is ostensibly 'prose poetry' or something, but I would argue that its much much more a work of cultural criticism concerning the "i" of certain americans, whose 'i' circulates amidst a language of advertising and pharmacological mediums, televisions, and signs which offer nothing--totally refuse to communicate.

A totally amazing book. But, like the kids in a recently canceled Reading Rainbow, I'll say, "But don't take my word for it!"

Nicola Masciandaro said...

Underscoring Dan's point, here is a picture of his copy of the book and a more detailed shot showing his circling of "Is 'I even me or am 'I' a gearshift . . .," his live "HA!" written over the liver, and "Heh" written below ". . . largest internal organ next to the soul, which looms large though it is hidden."

Will have to question him about the HA!/Heh distinction in his glossing.

Brantley Bryant said...

Not sure if I have anything coherent to say about it, but I would enthusiastically wave my hands all about to direct attention to Maura Nolan's electrifying formalist/aesthetic reading of the Miller's Tale in "Beauty" in Strohm, ed. /Oxford Twenty First Century Approaches to Literature: Middle English./