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
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