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
’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
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
hundreds of pairs ended
up on the left half of the body mould, and the other on the right.
Both sides of the bread body were then flipped over. The result
was that the co-ordinates of left and right failed to signify in the
way that we are accustomed to think that they do. They could not
be seen as opposites; nor could they give an observer back their
comfortable bearings. The ‘universal’ of perceiving left from right
was confounded because Gormley made an enantiomorph. Because
the sculpture disrupted the phenomenology of left/right apprehension, intuitions about how we
and fear singular among the emotions,
and it can be said that fear and hope are the Janus face that men and
women wear when they turn to the future. Phenomenology has argued that
human experience is enabled by emotional states underpinning the
perception of the world. Not only does this emotional state precede all
thoughts and considerations; it is the very condition of their
possibility: human beings
The Digby Mary Magdalen and Lewis Wager’s Life and Repentaunce of Marie Magdalene
to religious representation. In
short, throughout history orthodox defences of images have coincided with questions about their validity. In its ‘frequent insistence on the power of “shewing” and corporeal apprehension of
sacred truths’, the Digby Mary Magdalen seems to celebrate ‘the
very phenomenology of theater, the embodying of narrative’.39
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Sanctity as literature
But as Coletti has suggested, in places it seems to challenge this
materially determined, on the one hand offering up a