by EILEEN JOY
Readers of In The Middle may be interested to know that Blackwell's online journal Literature Compass, has just published a cluster of essays, "Beowulf in the Dark," edited by Francis Auld [Vol. 8, Issue 7: July 2011], that grew out of a 2008 MLA conference session on Beowulf and contemporary film:
Frances Auld, "Beowulf's Broken Bodies"As one of the Editorial Board members for the journal, I'm happy to pass on .pdfs of any of the essays for those who might be interested and whose institutions don't have subscription access to the journal.
Bill Schipper, "All Talk: Robert Zemeckis's Beowulf, Wealtheow, and Grendel's Mother"
Eileen Jankowski, "The Post-9/11 Hero"
Robin Norris, "Resistance to Genocide in the Postmodern Beowulf"
Also of possible interest to our readers might be the recently-published volume of essays, edited by Wendy Turner, on Madness in Medieval Law and Custom [Brill, 2010], just reviewed in The Medieval Review by Michael Sizer who finds the volume a useful companion [and maybe also an historical corrective to] Foucault's work on the history of madness. I've been thinking about "madness" lately myself, partly because one of the sessions sponsored by BABEL at the Kalamazoo Congress this past May was on that topic, but also because there was a lively discussion on the topic recently across the speculative realist/object-oriented ontology/ecologies blogosphere:
- Levi Bryant, "Depression, Drugs, Society, and Politics" [Larval Subjects]
- Levi Bryant, "The Symptom and the Symptom" [Larval Subjects]
1. Jeffrey J. Cohen: Ecology’s RainbowMy own thinking on all of this is sketchy at best, and I just KNOW it will change as I go along, but I'll share with everyone here the abstract I sent Jeffrey last week for my chapter [all comments and bibliographic assistance are much welcomed!]:
2. Kathleen Stewart: Red
3. Robert McRuer: Pink
4. Lowell Duckert: Maroon
5. Julian Yates: Orange
6. Graham Harman: Gold
7. Vin Nardizzi: Greener
8. Allan Stoekl: Chartreuse
9. Will Stockton: Beige
10. Steve Mentz: Brown
11. Eileen Joy: Blue
12. Stacy Alaimo: Bluish-Black
13. Levi Bryant: Black
14. Jen Hill: Grey
15. Ed Keller: Silver
16. Bernd Herzogenrath: White
17. Ben Woodard: Ultraviolet
18. Tim Morton: X-Ray
19. Afterword: Lawrence Buell
At a recent conference session (at the 2011 Kalamazoo Congress) devoted to ‘madness’ and mental illness as methodology (as well as particular forms of ‘medievalism’), an interesting question was raised: is madness partly the product (or even, ingenitor) of various social collaborations -- between people, but also between persons and their environments, both human and non-human? Is madness, further, something to be located on the so-called ‘interior’ of sentience and biological physiology, or is it in the world somehow, with the ‘becoming-haptic’ of the human mind only one of its many effects? Is madness, in other words, ecological -- does it have, or signify, an ecology?
Following Timothy Morton’s argument that too much of current ‘ecological’ thinking hinges upon the spectrum of ‘bright,’ optimistic, ‘sunny’ greens that are ‘holistic, hearty, and healthy,’ often leaving aside ‘negativity, introversion, femininity, writing, mediation, ambiguity, darkness, irony, fragmentation, and sickness’ (The Ecological Thought, p. 16), this essay will focus on sadness and melancholy as forms and signs of deep ecological connections, as well as ethically valuable modes of ‘plugging in’ to ‘worlds’ as always already post-catastrophe. More specifically, through readings of the Old English poems Seafarer and Wanderer, this essay will trace the co-implicated and also affective relations between the human figures and the non-human ‘strange strangers’ of post-apocalyptic (post-war, but also post-human) medieval landscapes in order to formulate a ‘blue’ ecological aesthetic that might take better account of our world as both empty (alone) and full (intimate).