Don’t you think it’s about time you were free to respond in any way you would like to the readings for class? As it’s our LAST DAY OF NEW READINGS for class, this is literally your last chance. Let’s see how you can make your final blog comment shimmer.
All four of today’s texts present the story of a sinner–committing adultery, despair, anger, everything possible (in the case of Incestuous Daughter)–who is, in most cases, redeemed. Consider the way the sinner’s situation is presented in these different narratives: how might you see each as a participant in a sin-assemblage (and, later, a redemption-assemblage)? And what might the fact that the sinner is not simply acting autonomously suggest?
Bynum concludes this chapter with the following statement:
The Christianity of the later Middle ages was. . .a matter of matter. It entailed both a radical awareness of the corruption and transience of all that is not God and a radical conviction that God, immanent and immediate in the stuff of the world, might for a moment lift that stuff to exactly the eternity and transcendence it could by definition never be. (265)
Explain Bynum’s claim here (in a sentence or two) and then offer a response grounded in what you encountered in the rest of the chapter and/or in readings (literary or theoretical) we’ve encountered this semester.
Today’s readings all offer the reader guidance on (among other things) how to interact with household objects. How would you describe the relationship among humans and nonhumans that these texts attempt to remedy? And how do they attempt to do so?
What is your sense of how materiality–of various sorts–serves the purposes of a saint’s life, in this case?
If, based on Saint Eustace alone, you were required to develop a description of the genre of the saint’s life, what features would you include? Given your encounter with romance, the other long narrative form popular in the Middle Ages, what seems to distinguish the saint’s life? And what does it share with the romance/Breton lai?
Choose a sentence or two from Bynum’s introduction that you found most provocative, intriguing, confusing, disturbing, or in some way potentially useful for us to consider specifically in our discussion in class Tuesday. Quote the material in your post, and let us know what your response to it is, and why.
The cloth-become-robe acts as a central powerful object in Emaré; in Eliduc, love itself seems to have a similar central position of agency. Choose one of these and explain your sense of how its agency operates. (You might want to consider along the way whether or not it’s an agency similar to that Julian Yates ascribed to the oranges.)