argue that such imaginary relations – relations of ‘fandom’, as it
were – are a frequent if unacknowledged component of literary
enjoyment, and I want to think further about whether the formation of such relations might have any defensible elements at all.
That is, might one discover an intellectually coherent aspect of this
debunked practice? I want to weigh two possible forms of identification with an author: one involving some extremely preliminary
thoughts about the author-in-the text and the phenomenology of
textual encounter, and the other involving the
Hospitality: Shakespearean Drama between Historicism and Phenomenology’, Poetics Today 35.4 (2014), pp. 615–33.
See also Philip Butterworth, Staging Conventions in Medieval English Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Janette Dillon, Language and Stage in Medieval and Renaissance England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
An enactive reading of the Middle English cycle plays
Eva von Contzen
pertinent; see e.g. Cristina Maria Cervone, Poetics of the Incarnation: Middle English Writing and the Leap of Love (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception , trans. Donald A. Landes (London and New York: Routledge, 2012).
’s account of the embodied and affective experience of
encountering faces, which confirms but modifies Levinas’s account
by combining phenomenology and enactive cognitivist approaches.
Although Gallagher agrees with Levinas that ‘the transcendence
at stake’ in face-to-face encounters ‘involves one’s capacity to
perceive in the other … the potential to take one beyond oneself’,20
he grounds this intersubjective experience in cognitive perception
and, importantly, in affective response which ‘involves complex
interactive behavioral and response patterns arising out of … the
the human eaten: ‘If the eaten is to become food, it must be digestible to the out-side it enters. Likewise, if the eater is to be nourished, it must accommodate itself to the internalised out-side. In the eating encounter, all bodies are shown to be but temporary congealments of a materiality that is a process of becoming, is hustle and flow punctuated by sedimentation and substance’. 34 In being eaten, humans discover themselves as something to be digested. In Bennett’s materialism, all bodies are equally ‘congealments of … materiality’, but the phenomenology of
theorists such as Jane Bennett, whose concept
of ‘thing-power’ in Vibrant Matter (2010) seeks to ‘acknowledge
that which refuses to dissolve completely into the milieu of human
knowledge’ while aiming to ‘attend to the it as actant’.10 Even more
recently, Ian Bogost’s Alien Phenomenology (2012) situates things
at the centre of being and advocates the use of metaphor in philosophy as a means of glimpsing things as they exist outside of
human consciousness.11 The work of Levi Bryant (2011) puts entities at all levels of scale on equal ontological footing and Timothy
ourselves’, and yet also insist that ‘reading Beowulf , even after all these years is not like talking to an old friend’.
And yet, even though the poem offers itself up to questions of old friends very naturally, intimacy is rarely articulated openly as a guiding critical framework.
Many times when intimacy is invoked in places where we would expect to see it – in queer theory, affect studies, and theories of sensation or phenomenology – it functions metaphorically as a descriptor of a certain kind
is claimed to either be the only real source and substance of all drama or fundamental to none of it.
Thinking very particularly about the bread and wine of the Mass, Sofer considers differing theological positions on the phenomenology of the Mass that can offer ‘distinct models for understanding how objects become signs on stage without effacing their material being’: the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation; the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation in which the host is both bread and flesh; and the
Ingold, Being Alive, pp. 15–32.
44 Ingold, Being Alive, pp. 30–1. In this section, Ingold is critiquing
Christopher Tilley’s The Materiality of Stone: Explorations in
Landscape Phenomenology (Oxford: Berghahn, 2004).
45 Orton and Wood with Lees, Fragments of History, p. 142.
46 ‘Swan’: Ferdinand Holthausen, ‘Anglosaxonica Minora’, Beiblatt zur
Anglia, 36 (1925), 219–20; ‘quill pen’: F. H. Whitman, Old English
Riddles (Ottawa: Canadian Federation for the Humanities, 1982),
pp. 144–8; ‘figurehead’: see Williamson, Old English Riddles of the
Exeter Book, pp