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Cotton Nero A.x: The Works of the "Pearl" Poet

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ISBN: 9780615983912 Year: Pages: 54 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0066.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:41
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Manuscript Cotton Nero A.x takes its designation from the unique cataloging system of seventeenth-century British antiquarian Sir Robert Cotton’s library: busts of historical figures atop shelves provided the organizing principle, such that one found this particular codex under the bust of Roman Emperor Nero, on the top shelf, ten volumes over. (Another famous manuscript, containing Beowulf, is called Cotton Vitellius A.xv.) Cotton Nero A.x contains the only versions of the poems we now know as Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, generally agreed to have been composed sometime in the latter half of the fourteenth century—the time of Piers Plowman and Geoffrey Chaucer, though radically different from either. No one knows who the poet was. No one knows if more than one poet wrote some or all of the poems. Together, they present a stunning array of themes, allegories, and images that critics continue to puzzle over: Patience offers a psychologically complex rendering of the Old Testament story of Jonah and the whale; Cleanness explores its homiletic theme in carnal and spiritual terms with complexity, irony, and even humor; Pearl provides a dream allegory that pushes at the distinction between its earthly and heavenly meanings, challenging the very notion of metaphysical transcendence its form seems to point towards. Finally, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the most secular of the poems, is a sophisticated take on Arthurian legend that unfolds like a psychosexual mystery novel, with no easy solution in sight. All the poems are rendered in a difficult Middle English dialect and intricate alliterative form, which sometimes involves a complex rhyme scheme as well. As poet-medievalists, we bow before the poetic achievement of the works in Cotton Nero A.x in all their multi-faceted richness. This is not a translation, nor an interpretation. It is what might be called a trace. A response. A homework assignment from beyond the grave, for four students who should have known better. A dream we hope to dream.

[Given, If, Then]: A Reading in Three Parts

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ISBN: 9780692298374 Year: Pages: 116 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0090.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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[Given, If, Then] attempts to conceive a possibility of reading, through a set of readings: reading being understood as the relation to an Other that occurs prior to any semantic or formal identification, and, therefore, prior to any attempt at assimilating, or appropriating, what is being read to the one who reads. As such, it is an encounter with an indeterminable Other, an Other who is other than other — an unconditional relation, and thus a relation to no fixed object of relation. The first reading by Jeremy Fernando, “Blind Reading,” unfolds through an attempt to speak of reading as an event. Untheorisable in itself, it is a positing of reading as reading, through reading, where texts are read as a test site for reading itself. As such, it is a meditation on the finitude and exteriority in literature, philosophy, and knowledge; where blindness is both the condition and limit of reading itself. Folded into, or in between, this (re)reading are a selection of photographs from Jennifer Hope Davy’s image archive. They are on the one hand simply a selection of ‘impartial pictures’ taken, and on the other hand that which allow for something singular and, therefore, always other to dis/appear — crossing that borderless realm between ‘some’ and ‘some-thing.’ Eventually, there is a writing on images on writings by Julia Hölzl. A responding to the impossible response, a re-iteration, a re-reading of what could not have been written, a re-writing of what could not have been read; these poems, if one were to name them such, name them as such, answer (to) the impossibility of answering: answer to no call.

The Bodies That Remain

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ISBN: 9781947447677 9781947447684 Year: Pages: 306 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0212.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-26 11:21:04
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The Bodies That Remain is a collection of bodies and absences. Through biography, experimental essay, interview, fictional manifestation, and poetic extraction, The Bodies That Remain is a collection of texts and images on the bodies of artists and writers who battled with the frustration of their own physicality and whose work reckoned with these limitations and continued beyond them. The essays in The Bodies That Remain look back at how the identities of these bodies were shaped by the spaces around them, through the retelling of memory, through stories told by others, of how their work, processed by their body, made it possible for others to experience sensations – mourning, desire, or a nostalgia that could not belong to another, to another’s body – and in capturing this ability, their work confirms the body’s urgency. Amongst others, The Bodies That Remain tells the story of Emily Dickinson’s decay, the missing grave of Valeska Gert, the voice and sound of the body of Judee Sill, and the derailed body (and work) of Jane Bowles. It questions the absent body but broken organs of JT Leroy as they find themselves scattered across texts, and also interrogates the loss of distinction of illness for Jules de Goncourt as syphilis riddled his nervous system. It retrieves the illusory body of Kathy Acker through dream and through horror, sees the morphing body of Michael Jackson in becoming all of the bodies he was asked to be, and looks toward Sylvia Plath and the language of her own body. Where ‘body’ as a verb makes material something abstract, The Bodies That Remain, as a collection, became bodily.

Hippolytus

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ISBN: 9789081709156 Year: Pages: 168 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0218.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-29 11:21:02
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Euripides wrote two plays called Hippolytus. In this, the second, he dramatized the tragic failure of perfection. This translation comes in two forms; the first presents a simulacrum of the text as it might have appeared in unprocessed form to a reader sometime shortly after Euripides’ death. The second processes the drama into the reduced but much more distinct form of modern print translations.

Centaurs, Rioting in Thessaly: Memory and the Classical World

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ISBN: 9781947447400 9781947447417 Year: Pages: 116 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0192.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:32
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This book treads new paths through the labyrinths of our human thought. It meanders through the darkness to encounter the monsters at the heart of the maze: Minotaurs, Centaurs, Automata, Makers, Humans. One part of our human thought emerges from classical Ionia and Greek civilisation more generally. We obsessively return to that thought, tread again its pathways, re-enact its stories, repeat its motifs and gestures. We return time and time again to construct and re-construct the beings which were part of its cosmology and mythology – stories enacted from a classical world which is itself at once imaginary and material. The “Never Never Lands” of the ancient world contain fabulous beasts and humans and landscapes of desire and violence. We encounter the rioting Centaurs there and never again cease to conjure them up time and time again through our history. The Centaur mythologies display a fascination with animals and what binds and divides human beings from them. The Centaur hints ultimately at the idea of the genesis of civilisation itself. The Labyrinth, constructed by Daedalus, is itself a prison and a way of thinking about making, designing, and human aspiration. Designed by humans it offers mysteries that would be repeated time and time again – a motif which is replicated through human history. Daedalus himself is an archetype for creation and mastery, the designer of artefacts and machines which would be the beginning of forays into the total domination of nature. Centaurs, Labyrinths, Automata offer clues to the origins and ultimately the futures of humanity and what might come after it.

The Funambulist Pamphlets 10: Literature

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ISBN: 9780692226803 Year: Pages: 112 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0075.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Architecture
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The Funambulist Pamphlets is a series of small books archiving articles published on The Funambulist, collected according to specific themes. These volumes propose a different articulation of texts than the usual chronological one. The eleven volumes are respectively dedicated to Spinoza, Foucault, Deleuze, Legal Theory, Occupy Wall Street, Palestine, Cruel Designs, Arakawa + Madeline Gins, Science Fiction, Literature, and Cinema. Volume 10 is devoted to the topic of Literature, with entries by Lambert and other authors. The idea that architecture can be created through narrative is popular in some academic circles. It seems a fruitful approach to the discipline as it unfolds an important imaginative field. It also envisions a resistance to forms of architectural teleology, since fiction is usually based on the disfunction of the environment in which it is set. For this reason, we could go as far as to affirm that fiction operates in contradiction to the traditional design method. The word “literature,” however, is not often pronounced by the people who seem to promote this creative method. The following texts intend to think of literature as a powerful field of ideas that translates to other creative disciplines. This translation should never be literal, and for this reason, some fictions that evoke architecture — Franz Kafka’s and Jorge Luis Borges’s labyrinths, for example — might be paradoxically more difficult to properly translate than less immediately spatial novels. The following texts do not propose any translation of their own but rather offer a humble toolbox in order to do so. This volume also constitutes an opportunity to archive the four texts written for the first event of Archipelagos (Brooklyn, November 2011), an non-institutionalized gathering of people conversing around a given topic. The first event was dedicated to literature and four architects were invited to talk about four authors they chose (Kerouac, Artaud, Dostoevsky and Pessoa) in the first half of the event, while the second half consisted of an open conversation generated by the presentations.

On Style: An Atelier

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ISBN: 9780615934020 Year: Pages: 154 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0055.0.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:42
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Scholarship in medieval studies of the past 20 or so years has offered some provocative experiments in, and elegant exempla of, style. Scholars such as Anne Clark Bartlett, Kathleen Biddick, Catherine Brown, Brantley Bryant, Michael Camille, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Carolyn Dinshaw, James Earl, L.O. Aranye Fradenburg, Roberta Frank, Amy Hollywood, Cary Howie, C. Stephen Jaeger, Eileen Joy, Anna Klosowska, Nicola Masciandaro, Peggy McCracken, Paul Strohm, David Wallace, and Paul Zumthor, among others, have blended the conventions of academic writing with those of fiction, drama, memoir, comedy, polemic, and lyricism, and/or have developed what some would describe as elegant, and arresting (and in some cases, deliciously difficult) prose styles. As these registers merge, they can produce what has been called a queer historiographical encounter (or in queer theorist Elizabeth Freeman’s terms, “an erotohistoriography”), a “poetics of intensification,” and even a “new aestheticism.” The work of these scholars has also opened up debates (some rancorous) that often install what the editors of this volume feel are false binaries between form and content, feeling and thinking, affect and rigor, poetry and history, attachment and critical distance, enjoyment and discipline, style and substance. As Anna Klosowska writes in her contribution to this volume, The question of style, as it applies to medieval studies, is precisely the overcoming of that dichotomy between Nature and Man: a third element. And when the critique proceeds through the denunciation of the inimitability of someone’s style, as if it were the third sex, ungenerative, queer, sterile, sodomitic, lesbian, etc., the critic unconsciously puts his finger on exactly what style is; but that critic is mistaken about the style’s supposedly non-generative powers. In fact, style, neither fact nor theory but facilitating the transition between the two, is … the generative principle itself.

Pray for Brother Alexander

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ISBN: 9781947447523 9781947447530 Year: Pages: 150 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0198.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:31
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Constantin Noica’s (1909–1987) Pray for Brother Alexander is a meditation on responsibility, freedom, and forgiveness. On the surface, the book describes events and people from Noica’s life during his time in a political communist prison in Romania. However, the volume is not a historical account only, but rather an honest introspection into how a human being may keep sanity when everything around him makes no sense. Unlike his famous Romanian contemporaries, scholar Mircea Eliade, dramatist Eugène Ionescu, and philosopher Emil Cioran, who lived abroad, Constantin Noica did not leave communist Romania. Considered an “anti-revolutionary” thinker, Noica was placed under house arrest in Câmpulung-Muscel between 1949 and 1958. In 1958, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was released after 6 years, and Pray for Brother Alexander covers his experiences during this time. In his writings, Noica rekindles universal themes of philosophy, but he deals with them in a profoundly original manner, based on the culture in which he lived and for which he also suffered persecution. The volume will be of great of interest to scholars and students in history of philosophy and continental philosophy, but also to people interested in the recent history of Eastern Europe and the political persecution that took place after WWII in those countries.

The Passenger: Medieval Texts and Transits

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ISBN: 9781947447363 9781947447370 Year: Pages: 136 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0190.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:32
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What strange transactions take place in the mobile spaces between loci? How does the flow of forces between fixed points enliven texts, suggest new connections, and map out the dizzying motion of myriad interactions? The essays in this volume were first presented at the 2014 New Chaucer Society Congress in Reykjavik, Iceland where a meeting of minds in a shared intermediate space initiated dialogue from diverse perspectives and wended its way through the invisible spaces between concrete categories, objects, and entities. The resulting volume asks a core question: what can we learn by tarrying at the nexus points and hubs through which things move in and out of texts, attempting to trace not the things themselves or their supposedly stable significations, but rather their forms of emergence and retreat, of disorder and disequilibrium? The answer is complex and intermediate, for we ourselves are emerging and retreating within our own systems of transit and experiencing our own disequilibrium. Scholarship, like transit, is never complete and yet never congeals into inertia.

The Retro-Futurism of Cuteness

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ISBN: 9781947447288 9781947447295 Year: Pages: 268 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0188.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:32
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Is it possible to conceive of a Hello Kitty Middle Ages or a Tickle Me Elmo Renaissance? The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first reference to “cute” in the sense of “attractive, pretty, charming” to 1834. More recently, Sianne Ngai has offered a critical overview of the cuteness of the twentieth-century avant-garde within the context of consumer culture. But if cuteness can get under the skin, what kinds of surfaces does it best infiltrate, particularly in the framework of historical forms, events, and objects that traditionally have been read as emergences around “big” aesthetics of formal symmetries, high affects, and resemblances? The Retrofuturism of Cuteness seeks to undo the temporal strictures surrounding aesthetic and affective categories, to displace a strict focus on commodification and cuteness, and to interrogate how cuteness as a minor aesthetics can refocus our perceptions and readings of both premodern and modern media, literature, and culture. Taking seriously the retro and the futuristic temporalities of cuteness, this volume puts in conversation projects that have unearthed remnants of a “cult of cute”—positioned historically and critically in between transitions into secularization, capitalist frameworks of commodification, and the enchantment of objects—and those that have investigated the uncanny haunting of earlier aesthetics in future-oriented modes of cuteness.

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