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Posts from the ‘BABELworks’ Category


Thomas Meyer’s Beowulf [new from punctum books]

Beowulf: A Translation

by Thomas Meyer

Edited by David Hadbawnik

with a Preface by David Hadbawnik, an Introduction by Daniel C. Remein, and an Interview with Thomas Meyer

Brooklyn, NY: punctum books, 2012. 312 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0615612652. FREE download + $15.00 in print.

Published: 2012-08-25

To download the book, go HERE. To purchase a handsome print copy, go HERE.

“Thomas Meyer’s modernist reworking of Beowulf is a wonder.” ~John Ashbery

 “Tom Meyer’s Beowulf reenacts the dark grandeur of a poem that is as much a story of vengeance as it is of courage and loyalty. Meyer brings the poem’s alliterative, inflected line in concert with post-Poundian lineation to give the reader a vivid sense of our oldest poem’s modernity. This is a major accomplishment.” ~Michael Davidson

 “Meyer’s work is amazing and richly satisfying, a full-scale collaboration between an ancient poem and a modern poet. Its diversity of tone is dazzling, from stately to swinging, from philosophically abstract to savagely concrete, from conversationally discursive to gnomic, haunting, chthonic — yet every line feels honestly rooted in the original text, the echo of an generous, open-hearted, and lovingly close reading of the poem.” ~Roy Liuzza

Many modern Beowulf translations, while excellent in their own ways, suffer from what Kathleen Biddick might call “melancholy” for an oral and aural way of poetic making. By and large, they tend to preserve certain familiar features of Anglo-Saxon verse as it has been constructed by editors, philologists, and translators: the emphasis on caesura and alliteration, with diction and syntax smoothed out for readability. The problem with, and the paradox of this desired outcome, especially as it concerns Anglo-Saxon poetry, is that we are left with a document that translates an entire organizing principle based on oral transmission (and perhaps composition) into a visual, textual realm of writing and reading. The sense of loss or nostalgia for the old form seems a necessary and ever-present shadow over modern Beowulfs. Read more »


Speculations: A Journal of Speculative Realism [punctum books]

punctum books is thrilled to announce the publication of Speculations III — the first issue of Speculations: A Journal of Speculative Realism (edited by Michael Austin, Paul J. Ennis, Fabio Gironi, Thomas Gokey, and Robert Jackson) to be published in conjunction with punctum books. This is a leviathan whale of an issue [510 pages!] comprising articles (by Benjamin Norris, Beatrice Marovich, Levi Bryant, Daniel Whistler, Daniel Colucciello Barber, Christopher Norris, and Michael Haworth), position papers (by Christian Thorne and Peter Wolfendale), translations (Graham Harman’s “On Vicarious Causation” into German, for example), reviews (of Levi Bryant’s The Democracy of Objects, Graham Harman’s Circus Philosophicus, Christopher Watkin’s Difficult Atheism, Andy Merrifield’s Magical Marxism, and Joseph Nechvatal’s nOise anusmOs installation), and an interview with Stathis Psillos. Those interested in the ongoing struggles to define exactly what Speculative Realism (SR) is, will want to read the translation of Louis Morelle’s comprehensive “Speculative Realism: After Infinitude and Beyond?” also included in this issue.

To download the entire issue [510 pages!] and also individual articles, go HERE. To purchase a handsome print copy, go HERE.


postmedieval 3.3: Cognitive Alterities/Neuromedievalism

EDITORS’ INTRODUCTION: Cognitive alterities: From cultural studies to neuroscience and back again (Jane Chance)


Re-visioning the past: Neuromedievalism and the neural circuits of vision (Ashby Kinch)

Neurobiological alphabets: Language origins and the problem of universals (Matthew Boyd Goldie)

Once more with feeling: Tactility and cognitive alterity, medieval and modern (Lara Farina)


‘Mind like wickerwork’: The neuroplastic aesthetics of Chaucer’s House of Tidings (Ashby Kinch)

Imitating Christ as a meme (Mayumi Taguchi)

Feeling the Passion: Neuropsychological perspectives on audience response (Kerstin Pfeiffer)

Manual thinking: John Mombaer’s meditations, the neuroscience of the imagination and the future of the humanities (Sara Ritchey)


A cautionary note from a neuroscientist’s perspective: Interpreting from mirror neurons and neuroplasticity (Antony D. Passaro)


Going mental (Aranye Fradenburg)

 [see postmedieval site at Palgrave for more information on this and other issues]


The Second Biennial BABEL Conference: PROGRAM AVAILABLE

David Fried, Way of Words, No. 3: “A mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension.”

cruising in the ruins: the question of disciplinarity in the post/medieval university
20-22 September 2012                 Boston, Massachusetts


[co-organized by the BABEL Working Group, Boston College, Northeastern University, M.I.T., postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies, and punctum books]


Jane Bennett (Chair, Department of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University)

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen  (George Washington University, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute + In The Middle)

Carolyn Dinshaw (Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and English at New York University), author ofChaucer’s Sexual Poetics (1989)

Lindy Elkins-Tanton (Director, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science)

David Kaiser (Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and Department Head of MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, M.I.T.)

Marget Long (MFA, Rhode Island School of Design)

Sans façon (Glasgow, Scotland)

“Read more”  for all the details about the featured presenters, the conference theme and call for papers, and the conference organizers Read more »


postmedieval 3.2: Cluster on “Disability and the Social Body” and 3 regular articles


About the cover

Cluster Essays (Edited by Julie Singer):

  • Cluster Editor’s Introduction: Disability and the Social Body (Julie Singer)
  • How to Kiss a Leper (Julie Orlemanski)
  • The Disabled Body in the Fabliaux (M. Andia Augustin)
  • Drug Overdose, Disability, and Male Friendship in Fifteenth-Century Mamluk Cairo (Kristina Richardson)
  • ‘That suck’d the honey of his music vows’: Disability studies in early modern musicological research (Samantha Bassler)

Regular Essays:

  •  Queer Relics: Martyrological Time and the Eroto-Aesthetics of Suffering in Bertha Harris’s Lover (Kendra Smith)
  • Networks of Exchange in The Franklin’s Tale (Janet Thormann)
  • Monstrous Mongols (Noreen Giffney)
[See postmedieval site at Palgrave for more information on this issue.]

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects [from punctum books]

<You can download the book for FREE or purchase the print edition [for a mere $17.00] HERE.>

Edited by Jeffrey J. Cohen


Animal, Mineral, Vegetable examines what happens when we cease to assume that only humans exert agency. Through a careful examination of medieval, early modern and contemporary lifeworlds, these essays collectively argue against ecological anthropocentricity. Sheep, wolves, camels, flowers, cotton, chairs, magnets, landscapes, refuse and gems are more than mere objects. They act; they withdraw; they make demands; they connect within lively networks that might foster a new humanism, or that might proceed with indifference towards human affairs. Through what ethics do we respond to these activities and forces? To what futures do these creatures and objects invite us, especially when they appear within the texts and cultures of the “distant” past?

Contents: Jeffrey J. Cohen (George Washington University):“Introduction: All Things” – Karl Steel (Brooklyn College): “With the World, or Bound to Face the Sky: The Postures of the Wolf Child of Hesse” – Sharon Kinoshita (University of California, Santa Cruz):“Animals and the Medieval Culture of Empire” – Kellie Robertson (University of Wisconsin-Madison):“Exemplary Rocks” – Valerie Allen (John Jay College of Criminal Justice): “Mineral Virtue” – Jane Bennett (Johns Hopkins University): “Powers of the Hoard: Notes on Material Agency” – Carla Nappi (University of British Columbia): “You Don’t Mess With The Yohan: Cotton, Objects, and Becoming Vegetal in Early Modern China” – Peggy McCracken (University of Michigan): “The Human and the Floral” –Eileen Joy (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville): “You Are Here: A Manifesto” – Julian Yates (University of Delaware): “Sheep Tracks” – Julia Reinhard Lupton (University of California, Irvine): “Of Chairs, Stools and Trestle Tables: Scenes from the Renaissance Res Publica of Things”

Response essays: Lowell Duckert, “A Slower (Non)humanities” – Jonathan Gil Harris, “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Twenty Questions” – Nedda Mehdizadeh, “Ruinous Monument’: Transporting Objects in Herbert’s Persepolis” Read more »


postmedieval FORUM II: The State(s) of Review

FORUM II: The State(s) of Review


postmedieval volume 3, issue 1: Becoming Media


About the cover

Jen Boyle and Martin Foys

  • Editors’ Introduction: “Becoming Media”
  • “Danse macabre and the virtual churchyard”
    Seeta Chaganti
  • “Writing in water”
    E. J. Christie
  • “Reproducible media in the early fifteenth century, mostly Italian”
    Arne Flaten
  • “‘Thinking with things: Hannah Woolley to Hannah Arendt”
    Julia Reinhard Lupton
  • “Wayless abyss: Mysticism, mediation and divine nothingness”
    Eugene Thacker
  • “Plant–>animal–> book: Magnifying a microhistory of media circuits”
    [Digital Essay: ]
    Whitney Trettien
  • Book Review Essay: “Scraping by: Towards a pre-historic criticism”
    Juliet Fleming

[See postmedieval site at Palgrave for more information on this issue.]


postmedieval volume 2, issue 3: New Critical Modes

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Cary Howie

  • Editors’ Introduction: “Novelty”
  • “A critical poetics of allure: 10 antiphons for the bringing-to-appearance of the place of allure as a complicity of human and non-human matter in writing, or, the Physis of the Whale in Anglo-Saxon England”
    Daniel C. Remein
  • “Getting medieval in real time”
    Richard Godden
  • “Flirting as a critical mode: Barthes, Alcibiades, Sartre”
    Anna Klosowska
  • “‘An abecedarium for the elements”
    Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
  • “On medieval blogging” [Interview]
    Brantley L. Bryant and Carl S. Pyrdum III,
  • “Like two autistic moonbeams entering the window of my asylum: Chaucer’s Griselda and Lars von Trier’s Bess McNeill'”
    Eileen A. Joy
  • “Means of transport”
    Cary Howie
  • Always already new: The possibilities of the enfolded instant”
    Karmen McKendrick
  • “Manuscript thinking: Stories by hand”
    Catherine Brown
  • Book Review Essay: “Re-viewing the eastern Mediterranean”
    Sharon Kinoshita
[See postmedieval site at Palgrave for more information on this issue.]

dead letter office: an imprint of BABEL and punctum books

Series Editor: Eileen Joy (


I am tired, Beloved,

of chafing my heart against

the want of you;

of squeezing it into little inkdrops,

And posting it.

~Amy Lowell, “The Letter”

Don’t fear anything for your letters, they are burnt

one by one and I hope you do the same with mine.

~Camille Claudel

Dead Letter Office publishes small chapbook-style works, of anywhere from 30 to 80 or so pages, representing work that either has gone “nowhere” or will likely go nowhere, yet retain little inkdrops of possibility and beauty and the darkling shape of a more full-bodied form and structure — to whit: the conference or seminar paper that will never become an article, the stray pages for a half-baked article that will never become the full-baked article, the half-finished chapter that will never make it into the book or the dissertation, the outlines and notes and semi-polished pages for manuscripts that are simply unfinish-able, the essay that can find no welcoming harbor (and that you half-suspect is ill-conceived but likely isn’t), the prospectus for the project you can never seem to find your way to start, the prolegomenon and preamble without follow-up, the stray children of your pen, the letter you wrote then tucked away in a drawer, fearing to mail it, or the one you sent and received again, with the stamp, “return to sender,” or which was never received nor returned, that you perhaps lost (then re-found). We seek, also, experiments in whimsy, in over-reaching, in idle speculation, in prospecting for fool’s gold, in working mountains into molehills, in marking and then forgetting a path in a wild wood of visible darkness. In short, the Dead Letter Office invites you to take those letters out of the drawer or shoebox, to re-visit and re-polish them, without worrying about conclusions or ultimate destinations, and send them to us. We will also consider actual letters to the dead: belated eulogies, posthumous transmissions to the underworld, love (and hate and other) missives to the departed, funerary telegrams, and various notes and commentaries to be used as devices to water the graveyards where, to cadge from Walter Benjamin, some of the dead are turning by a strange heliotropism toward the sun that is rising in the sky of history.

. . . it is a fine consolation among the absent that if

one who is loved is not present, a letter may be embraced instead.

~Isidore of Seville



Anthony Adler, The Afterlife of Genre: Remnants of the Trauerspiel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer(January 2014)

Lauren Berlant, Desire/Love (December 2012)

M.H. Bowker, Ostranenie: On Shame and Knowing (December 2012)

Joff Bradley, Philosophy and the Deadly Ritournelle (Winter 2013)

Andreas Burckhardt, A Sanctuary of Sounds (May 2013)

David R. Cole, Traffic Jams: Analysing Everday Life through the Immanent Materialism of Deleuze & Guattari 
(February 2013)

Denzil Ford, Suite on “Spiritus Silvestre: For Symphony (December 2012)

Benjamin Hollander, Memoir American (May 2013)

Trevor Jones, The Non-Library (Autumn 2013)

Phil Jourdan, John Gardner: A Tiny Eulogy (November 2012)

Maxwell Kennel, Dialectics Unbound: On the Possibility of Total Writing (Spring 2013)

Milcho Manchevski, Truth and Fiction: Notes on (Exceptional) Faith in Art (May 2012)

Adrian Martin, Last Day Every Day: Figural Thinking from Auerbach and Kracauer to Agamben and Brenez (October 2012)

Michael E. Moore, Nicholas of Cusa and the Kairos of Modernity: Cassirer, Gadamer, Blumenberg(September 2013)

Michael Munro, What Is Philosophy? (October 2012)

Michael MunroOf Learned Ignorance: Idea of a Treatise in Philosophy (June 2013)

Dominic Pettman, In Divisible Cities (August 2013)

David Rawson, Fuckhead (September 2013)

Gary J. Shipley, The Death of Conrad Unger: Some Conjectures Regarding Parasitosis and Associated Suicide Behavior (March 2012)

Whitney Anne Trettien, Gaffe/Stutter (Autumn 2013)

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