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Title: Talking with 'things' in Anglo-Saxon literature and culture
Author: Paz, James
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis seeks to recognise the agency and autonomy that nonhuman ’things’ have in Anglo-Saxon literature and culture. Drawing on a variety of sources (from dream-visions and riddles to stone sculpture and gospelbooks) it examines the relation between inscribed voices, bodies and early medieval artifacts, looking at how nonhumans might be as active and talkative as humans are assumed to be. In arguing for the agency of things, this work is informed by what has become known as ’thing theory’ and as such rethinks conventional divisions between ’animate’ human subjects and ’inanimate’ nonhuman objects. Throughout the course of the thesis, the Anglo-Saxon ’thing’ will be shown to resist such categorisation. But the active role things have in the early medieval world can also be linked to the Germanic origins of the word, where a jb/’ng is a sort of assembly, with the ability to gather other elements - materials, bodies, ideas - to it. It is in this way that a thing might be said to speak. By moulding meaning and matter together into a distinct whole, a cross, a casket, a book, a relic, becomes talkative. Such talking things can move across boundaries of time and space in ways that embodied humans cannot, transporting the past into the present and reshaping the moment into which they arrive.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available