James Paz
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The riddles of the Franks Casket
Enigmas, agency and assemblage

Chapter three considers how the interpretation of the Franks Casket is bound up with movement. It opens with a brief overview of previous criticism on the casket in order to look at how different scholars have read it, but especially how they have moved around the box as they endeavour to solve its riddles. Is there a correct order in which we might read the casket? Can the reader finally solve it? The casket could instead be seen as a ‘thing’ that itself has the ability to move those who encounter it. In doing so, it actively forms human identities. The second part of this chapter explores the Franks Casket as an assembly. Lorraine Daston defines things that talk as embodying a tension between their chimerical composition and their unified gestalt. In this way, the Franks Casket is a thing that can be seen to circumscribe and concretise previously unthinkable combinations, becoming a paradox incarnate.

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