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Roads and writing
Valerie Allen and Ruth Evans

1 Introduction: roads and writing Valerie Allen and Ruth Evans It was the road, wet, rough, and uncertain as it sometimes was, that made the land a kingdom.1 Roads and writing In his 1966 discussion of Sigmund Freud’s metaphorical model of the structure of the psychical apparatus as a writing machine (the so-called ‘Mystic Writing-Pad’, a wax pad covered with cellophane, on which a child first writes and then lifts the cellophane to erase the words, only for the words to remain imprinted on the wax below), the philosopher Jacques Derrida yokes together two

in Roadworks
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Medieval Britain, medieval roads
Editors: Valerie Allen and Ruth Evans

This collection of essays on roads in Britain in the Middle Ages addresses the topic from a cultural, anthropological and literary point of view, as well as a historical and archaeological one. Taking up Jacques Derrida's proposal that 'the history of writing and the history of the road' be 'meditated upon' together, it considers how roads ‘write’ landscapes. The anthology sets Britain’s thoroughfares against the backdrop of the extant Roman road system and argues for a technique of road construction and care that is distinctively medieval. As well as synthesizing information on medieval road terminology, roads as rights of passage and the road as an idea as much as a physical entity, individual essays look afresh at sources for the study of the medieval English road system, legal definitions of the highway, road-breaking and road-mending, wayfinding, the architecture of the street and its role in popular urban government, English hermits and the road as spiritual metaphor, royal itineraries, pilgrimage roads, roads in medieval English romances, English river transport, roads in medieval Wales, and roads in the Anglo-Scottish border zone.

Elisabeth Salter

, moments of specific exegesis, in an otherwise flexible process of construing symbolic meaning. Salter, Popular reading in English.indd 111 21/05/2012 10:15:07 112 Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600 Inscription as a concept came alive in many ways through the consideration given to it by Jaques Derrida.60 Derrida explored Husserl’s notion of inscription expressed as ‘writing seeming to fix, to inscribe, record and incarnate an already prepared utterance’.61 This gave rise to his consideration of the role of speaking as the primary form because it comes before

in Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600
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Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

is and what it is not. Yet as Seeta Chaganti has argued, such ‘framing’ inevitably draws attention to ways in which what is inside the frame cannot be sealed off from that which is outside it. 40 Quoting Derrida, she avers that ‘the limit of the frame or border of the context … always entails a clause of non-closure. The outside penetrates and thus determines the inside’. 41 The object in and of

in Affective medievalism
Elisabeth Salter

on the potential overuse of the concept of performance see, J. Fabian, ‘Beyond the written and the oral: performance and the production of history’, in Remembering the Present: Painting and Popular History in Zaire, narrative and paintings by Tshibumba Kanda Matulu, essays by Fabian (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 247–67, p. 248. 122 For the classic theoretical approach to reiteration see, for example, J. Derrida, ‘Signature, événement, contexte’, in Limited Inc., trans. E. Weber (Paris: Galilée, 1990), especially pp. 45–7 on

in Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600
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Joshua Davies

intellectual commitment to the promotion of its supposed singularity’.14 The texts with which I work are ambivalent and inconsistent.15 They initiate conversations in as well as across time and generate ideas of the future as well as ideas of the past. Medieval futures For Jacques Derrida, memory is best understood not as an engagement with the past but as an attempt to fashion the future. He writes that, ‘Memory stays with traces, in order to “preserve” them, but traces of a past that has never been present, traces which themselves occupy the form of presence and always

in Visions and ruins
Nicholas Perkins

different strata of logic and practice. The fact that The Romance of Horn foregrounds acts of gift and exchange in its story and its figurative language makes it a particularly telling arena for investigating these relationships. While keeping in mind Bourdieu's analysis of time, exchange and practice, I should like briefly to address the challenge to gift–time relations that Jacques Derrida sets out in Given Time 1: Counterfeit Money , a meditation on time, value and gift. Derrida describes what he terms a ‘double bind’ of the concept of pure gift

in The gift of narrative in medieval England
The Franklin’s Tale and The Manciple’s Tale
Nicholas Perkins

among non-gifts that fills the end of the fragment’. Taking up Derrida's apparent querying of the very notion of the gift, Harwood wants to limit generosity in the tale; the gifts are ‘not gifts at all, since reasons for them can be given’. He likewise critiques the actions of Arveragus as a ‘tragic knight manqué ’, a failure because in being concerned for his status and reputation as well as Dorigen's trawthe ‘he leaves us uncertain whether “trouthe” is indeed “the hyeste thing that man may keep”’. 26 Likewise

in The gift of narrative in medieval England
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Nicholas Perkins

in the economic sphere has regularly been challenged, to the point where the possibility of pure, altruistic gifts has been questioned, and instead the gift's embeddedness within structures of hierarchy and economic calculation foregrounded. Jacques Derrida, for example, describes this idea of the pure gift as ‘[no]t impossible but the impossible. The very figure of the impossible’; yet it is, for him, necessarily thinkable: ‘For finally, if the gift is another name of the impossible, we still think it, we name it, we desire it. We intend it

in The gift of narrative in medieval England
Joshua Davies

18 1 Ruins and wonders: The poetics of cultural memory in and of early medieval England In the beginning there is ruin. Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-​Portrait and Other Ruins1 When is the now of a medieval text? How might a text be situated in, or free from, historical process? These are the questions posed by Benjamin Thorpe in the preface to his edition of Cædmon’s Metrical Paraphrase of Parts of the Holy Scriptures, in Anglo-​ Saxon, a foundational work of Anglo-​Saxon studies first published in 1832. Although he justified his edition by

in Visions and ruins