Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Just another reason... love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert:

The phrase "cruel and magically unusual" (to refer to the punishment of a life sentence in David Blaine's bubble -- with David Blaine!) is one of them. It's a tribute to how tired I was last night that I can't remember either who said it or to whom it was referring.

But either way, they are fantastic.


In other news, I have finally gotten around to writing a reading list. Not my orals lists -- although my advisor and I set a meeting date for that, and it will be next Thursday (which makes it clear that I now have weekend plans). No, this is my summer reading list. Like two of my orals lists, it even has sublists. I'll post sublist one now...I'm still drawing up sublist two, so that will be a few days.

List: Summer Reading, Non-Orals

Justification: I spent most of the year reading poetry, much of which was in another language and from 1000 years or so ago. Then I talked about it, and sometimes even wrote papers about it. If I don't read something slightly lighter (or at least with less of a deadline!) I'll go nuts. Plus I have some academic books I'm looking forward to reading, and I happen to think of that as pleasure reading...

Sublist One: Legitimate Procrastination

These are, in no particular order, academically oriented books that in a perfect world I would have time to read this summer. I'm fully aware that there is no way this will happen: what with my orals lists to compose and read, I will need to save my academic reading attention-span (which gets shorter by the day, given that it varies inversely with regards to the amount of sunlight and pretty weather there is) for getting through some of those texts. But a girl can dream.

Reality Fictions by Robert M. Stein.
I'm interested in this book for a variety of reasons -- not the least of which is the fascinating interplay of Romance and History as genres.

Ruling Women: Queenship and Gender in Anglo-Saxon England by Stacy S. Klein.
Clearly -- how could I not love a book on the subject of women in Anglo-Saxon England?

A Place to Believe in: Locating Medieval Landscapes by Clare A. Lees (ed.) and Gillian R. Overing (ed.)
I've been waiting on this book since at least last November, when I heard Overing read a portion of the introduction. In addition to promising some fascinating readings of landscape in various medieval cultures -- it has what has become one of my favorite academic book titles of all time.

Hybridity, Identity and Monstrosity in Medieval Britain: On Difficult Middles by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen.
Given my affinity for monsters and hybridity -- this is an obvious choice.

The vision of history in early Britain: from Gildas to Geoffrey of Monmouth by Robert W. Hanning
Though I've read a chapter or two from this book, I think it's time to read through the whole thing.

The Martyrology, Books 3 and 4 by bp Nichol
Nichol is one of my current favorite reads, modern poetry-wise. For more of him, you can go to this site , which has the entirety of The Martyrology available online. The first two books are amazing with their attention to language and its play -- I can't wait to get into the next two. quote that's representative of why I love his work: "a kind of being writing is"

Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas by Jacques Derrida.
Something I've been meaning to read for awhile. It was assigned as optional reading a year ago for one course I was in -- and I opted out of more than a quick skim of it, only to become very, very interested in questions of hospitality later. Figures.

Totality and Infinity by Emmanuel Levinas
Having read the required excerpts only (back when I was supposed to read the Derrida), I'm looking forward to finishing this one. Fascinating stuff.

Mechthild of Magdeburg and Her Book: Gender and the Making of Textual Authority by Sara S. Poor
Time to return to secondary work on mystics...this is one of the mystics I've been meaning to read for awhile, particularly as I'm quite interested in questions of gender and religious authority -- and how both are constructed. Not to mention, I find the question of mysticism and gender particularly appealing given that it was so often the case that women mystics would cover up their experiences (whatever those experiences were -- another question that I'm incredibly fascinated with, and one that seems to elude all attempts to understand or really address it) until they simply had to write, forced by illness to let out the secret they'd been keeping for so though their own bodies became the medium through which their experience would be heard, if they refused to inscribe it differently.

The Book of Memory by Mary J. Carruthers
Another book I've wanted to read for awhile, that doesn't really have a place on any of the orals lists.

and in that vaguely sinful genre of re-reading academic books (because I read them for classes and feel like the reading was too rushed...):

To The Glory of Her Sex by Joan M. Ferrante
This is one of my favorite books on women in the Middle Ages. I'm particularly fond of the treatment of the pastourella tradition, and the trobairitz. I'm also in a particularly feminist phase right now and so the energy in Ferrante's book is good fuel for that. A nice book to return to.

Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History by Amy Hollywood
Read this last year as part of a course on mystics -- contains some of the most interesting juxtapositions of modern theoretical texts with medieval that I've read, and the writing is just phenomenal.

The Differend by Jean-Francois Lyotard
I didn't put this book to good use the first time I read it in terms of my own work, but I loved it all the same. So I think it makes sense to read it through again -- for the enjoyment, and maybe to assuage this nagging feeling that it's a key text for what I'm working on now...

Coming soon...

Sublist Two: Reading for Sanity

A list dominated by science fiction and poetry.

And...the orals list-writing process.
(a.k.a., for the list I turn in, I have to write something more than "Old English Corpus and Major Articles and Books" -- which means I'll be doing some major perusal of bibliographies in the next few days.)