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Treatise on the Marvelous for Prestigious Museums

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ISBN: 9781947447592 9781947447608 Year: Pages: 110 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0203.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:31
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Wrapped in modernist architect Marcel Breuer’s 1971 addition to the Cleveland Museum of Art, A Treatise on the Marvelous for Prestigious Museums considers the global ecological catastrophe by way of a speculative address to the art museums of the future, revisiting mid-century modes of site-specificity and speculative collage as utopian practices for the present. Written over the course of a decade, the book insists on the continuing importance of the New American Poetry and Language poetics, and includes work in the tradition of the ongoing serial poem and documentary poetics. This full color edition reproduces the maps, diagrams, and facsimiles that adorn the treatise.

Beowulf: A Translation

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ISBN: 9780615612652 Year: Pages: 312 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0009.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:46
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Many modern Beowulf translations, while excellent in their own ways, suffer from what Kathleen Biddick might call “melancholy” for an oral and aural way of poetic making. By and large, they tend to preserve certain familiar features of Anglo-Saxon verse as it has been constructed by editors, philologists, and translators: the emphasis on caesura and alliteration, with diction and syntax smoothed out for readability. The problem with, and the paradox of this desired outcome, especially as it concerns Anglo-Saxon poetry, is that we are left with a document that translates an entire organizing principle based on oral transmission (and perhaps composition) into a visual, textual realm of writing and reading. The sense of loss or nostalgia for the old form seems a necessary and ever-present shadow over modern Beowulfs. What happens, however, when a contemporary poet, quite simply, doesn’t bother with any such nostalgia? When the entire organizational apparatus of the poem—instead of being uneasily approximated in modern verse form—is itself translated into a modern organizing principle, i.e., the visual text? This is the approach that poet Thomas Meyer takes; as he writes, [I]nstead of the text’s orality, perhaps perversely I went for the visual. Deciding to use page layout (recto/ verso) as a unit. Every translation I’d read felt impenetrable to me with its block after block of nearly uniform lines. Among other quirky decisions made in order to open up the text, the project wound up being a kind of typological specimen book for long American poems extant circa 1965. Having variously the “look” of Pound’s Cantos, Williams’ Paterson, or Olson or Zukofsky, occasionally late Eliot, even David Jones

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.

Still Thriving: On the Importance of Aranye Fradenburg

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ISBN: 9780988234031 Year: Pages: 88 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0099.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:39
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he work of L.O. Aranye Fradenburg, especially her psychoanalytic criticism of Chaucer, and her formulations of discontinuist historical approaches to the Middle Ages, has been extremely influential within medieval studies for the past 20 or so years. More recently she has been focusing on more broad defenses of the humanities, especially with regard to the valuable role of literary studies relative to the arts of everyday living, eudaimonia [flourishing], ethical community, and well-being, and also on psychoanalysis itself as a “liberal art.” Relationality, intersubjectivity, aliveness, resilience, care of the self and also of others, adaptive flexibility, playfulness, shared attention, companionship, healing, and thriving seem, increasingly, to be the key watchwords and concerns of Fradenburg’s work, and at the same time, the so-called “literary” mode is still central to these concerns, such that, as Fradenburg has written, “Interpretation and relationality depend on one another because all relationships are unending processes of interpretation and expression, listening and signifying. In turn, sentience assists relationality: we can’t thrive and probably can’t survive without minds open to possibility, capable of sensing and interpreting the tiniest shifts in, e.g., pitch and tone.” This small volume features short essays and personal reflections on the importance of Fradenburg’s career, as teacher and scholar, and also on the valuable role(s) that her work, and medieval studies more generally, has played and might still play in the defense of the humanities as essential to living and thriving.

Staying Alive: A Survival Manual for the Liberal Arts

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ISBN: 9780615906508 Year: Pages: 372 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0052.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Education
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:42
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Staying Alive: A Survival Manual for the Liberal Arts fiercely defends the liberal arts in and from an age of neoliberal capital and techno-corporatization run amok, arguing that the public university’s purpose is not vocational training, but rather the cultivation of what Fradenburg calls “artfulness,” including the art of making knowledge. In addition to sustained critical and creative thinking, the humanities develop the mind’s capacities for real-time improvisational communication and interpretation, without which we can neither thrive nor survive. Humanist pedagogy and research use play, experimentation and intersubjective exchange to foster forms of artfulness critical to the future of our species. From perception to reality-testing to concept-formation and logic, the arts and humanities teach us to see, hear and respond more keenly, and to imagine, or “model,” new futures and possibilities. Innovation of all kinds, technological or artistic, depends on the enhancement of the skills proper to staying alive

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