Love, abjection and discontent

This book destabilises the customary disciplinary and epistemological oppositions between medieval studies and modern medievalism. It argues that the twinned concepts of “the medieval” and post-medieval “medievalism” are mutually though unevenly constitutive, not just in the contemporary era, but from the medieval period on. Medieval and medievalist culture share similar concerns about the nature of temporality, and the means by which we approach or “touch” the past, whether through textual or material culture, or the conceptual frames through which we approach those artefacts. Those approaches are often affective ones, often structured around love, abjection and discontent. Medieval writers offer powerful models for the ways in which contemporary desire determines the constitution of the past. This desire can not only connect us with the past but can reconnect present readers with the lost history of what we call the medievalism of the medievals. In other words, to come to terms with the history of the medieval is to understand that it already offers us a model of how to relate to the past. The book ranges across literary and historical texts, but is equally attentive to material culture and its problematic witness to the reality of the historical past.

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Medieval and medievalist practice
Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

and post-medieval versions of that past. As a curious, affective hook for modern readers, the old chair feeds the desire shared by the historical and medievalist imagination to feel, touch and see the medieval past in all its dramatic immediacy, whether that impulse is creative or more scholarly. This episode certainly appeals to the archivist’s excitement about seeing an authentic source in an

in Affective medievalism
Abstract only
Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

this section recent discussions about the importance of affect to literary study. Epistemological and ontological questions give way, in this chapter, to affective ones. Specifically, we begin with the ways in which love for the past has coloured the formation of medieval literary studies. The received narrative is based on a series of binaries. Initially an enthusiasm that supported and justified the study of the

in Affective medievalism
Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

case in those medievalist stories that are predicated on the possibility of temporal movement between the modern era and the medieval past; or that rely on the differences in affective or emotional responses between medieval and modern people. In such fictions of cultural transmission, the starkness of the opposition between the medieval and the post-medieval is especially noticeable

in Affective medievalism
Abstract only
Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

which any recuperation of the object ultimately inhabits the space of fictionality and falsehood; however, these inventiones also testify to the way subjectivities can enable unexpected connections to the past. Contemporary invention, pleasure and the containment of the law We turn once more to the language of affect here, suggesting that mood (what Heidegger calls

in Affective medievalism
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Belonging
Alpesh Kantilal Patel

Affect: belonging Drawing on everything from artworks and a cartoon to police documents and a personal anecdote, I consider three temporally discontinuous events in the past to engender an ethical future across racial, ethnic and national lines. At stake in this chapter is the question of how certain subjects are considered as ‘belonging’ and others as not; and the role of art and writing in the reconstitution of notions of ‘home’ (not to mention art histories). I examine the fatal misrecognition of South Asians as ‘terrorists’ shortly after 9/11 in the United

in Productive failure
Jens Eder

63 Affective image operations Jens Eder1 Images enter the interactional networks of political conflict in various ways. Often, they motivate political action by evoking emotions and affects. This is evident, for instance, in visual propaganda, images of terror, donation campaigns or activist videos like Kony2012. Aiming to mobilise a movement against a brutal warlord, the documentary made calculated use of cinematic techniques to maximise viewers’ emotional responses. It went viral on social media platforms and was soon watched more than 100 million times. The

in Image operations
Karen Fricker

4 Lepage’s affective economy In the previous chapter I explored the formal techniques that Lepage uses to construct his stage narratives, arguing that his montages innovate the formal languages of film, communicating to audiences on familiar terms made strange again via remediation. I established spatial montage as one of the key building blocks of his stage storytelling, and argued that while his techniques are based in metaphor, they frequently increase in complexity and come to involve metonymy. In this chapter I look more closely at the effects of these

in Robert Lepage’s original stage productions
The abjection of the Middle Ages
Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

characterisations of contemporary Islam as being somehow ‘medieval’. These slippages appear to threaten the cultural authority of the academy, but its attempts to police its borders have by and large been doomed to failure. We suggest that there is a structural dialectic in conceptions about the medieval past and its relation to the present: a dialectic that has the effect of drawing us in, affectively and

in Affective medievalism
Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

have suggested that our relations with the medieval past are often structured as affective histories. But just as importantly, we have tried to trace the genealogy of feelings about medievalism itself, which have not always been positive ones. What are the implications of all this discontent about medievalism for the future of medieval studies and medievalism? Are we all forever doomed to a future of mutual discontent

in Affective medievalism