Saturday, March 17, 2007

Orals Reading Report

So, to speak a little more freely about what I've been focusing in on in the last few days, I've been trying to think about the way in which history gets written -- most specifically, the way in which certain ideas (like the idea of "English" or "Englishness" or "The English") get set down and played out in the "Anglo-Saxon" period (problematic terminology, I know -- but I'm hesitant to use Elaine Treharne's "Early English Vernacular" since I'm not sure how it plays out in "Middle" English...yet). Among the ideas that have sort of risen to the forefront of my work is the idea of time, and how time interacts with translation and history to form a sort of forward-looking projection.

I guess what I'm most interested here is a question of temporality. I've been a bit obsessed of late with the distinctions between Kairos and Cronos -- between the time "of God" and chronological, historical time, to use a medieval distinction. It seems quite plain, as I think about it, that it would make sense that, if history was a study in figura, then there would be a way to project present history onto the future -- i.e., create history not to inform the future but to create it differently. Which seems to be the hopeful function of all history, and historical query and writing. But I wonder if it isn't more literal, too...

And that's nothing if not opaque, as far as thoughts go. I feel like I need to go re-read Susan Stewart's On Longing. I guess I'll settle for finishing up on Bede's thinking on time in De Temporibus, and read more Augustine. Part of my problem is figuring out how to fit in all the "already done" work on these historical texts. My next project is Kathleen Davis' article in JMEMS a few years back on what the 9th century has to say to Postcolonial Studies...citational information coming soon (i.e., when I'm back in New York and have them at hand...).

Anyone else ever notice that the answer always seems to involve more Augustine when you're an early medievalist?

Bibliography of the past week at home:

Bede: The Reckoning of Time, ed. and trans. Faith Wallis

Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe by Patrick Geary

Listening For the Text: On the Uses of the Past by Brian Stock

Nation and Narration, Introduction, by Homi K. Bhabha

Construction of NationhoodChapters 1 and 2, by Adrian Hastings