Aus unseren Neuerwerbungen – Anglistik 2024.5

Ethics in the Arthuri­an leg­end
BuchcoverAn inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and trans-his­tor­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tion of the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of ethics in Arthuri­an Lit­er­a­ture.
From its ear­li­est days, the Arthuri­an leg­end has been pre­oc­cu­pied with ques­tions of good king­ship, the behav­iours of a rul­ing class, and their effects on com­mu­ni­ties, soci­eties, and nations, both local­ly and in impe­r­i­al and col­o­niz­ing con­texts. Eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions inform and are informed by local anx­i­eties tied to ques­tions of pow­er and iden­ti­ty, espe­cial­ly where lead­er­ship, ser­vice, and gov­er­nance are con­cerned; they pro­vide a frame­work for under­stand­ing how the texts oper­ate as didac­tic and crit­i­cal tools of these sub­jects.
This book brings togeth­er chap­ters draw­ing on Eng­lish, Welsh, Ger­man, Dutch, French, and Norse iter­a­tions of the Arthuri­an leg­end, and bridg­ing pre­mod­ern and mod­ern tem­po­ral­i­ties, to inves­ti­gate the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of ethics in Arthuri­an lit­er­a­ture across inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and tran­shis­tor­i­cal lines. They engage a vari­ety of method­olo­gies, includ­ing gen­der, crit­i­cal race the­o­ry, philol­o­gy, lit­er­a­ture and the law, trans­la­tion the­o­ry, game stud­ies, com­par­a­tive, crit­i­cal, and close read­ing, and mod­ern edi­to­r­i­al and autho­r­i­al prac­tices. Texts inter­ro­gat­ed range from Cul­h­wch and Olwen to Parzi­val, Roman van Walewein, Tris­trams Saga, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Malory’s Morte Darthur.
As a whole, the approach­es and find­ings in this vol­ume attest to the con­tin­ued val­ue and impor­tance of the Arthuri­an leg­end and its schol­ar­ship as a vibrant field through which to locate and under­stand the many ways in which medieval lit­er­a­ture con­tin­ues to inform mod­ern sen­si­bil­i­ties and insti­tu­tions, par­tic­u­lar­ly where the mat­ter of ethics is con­cerned.
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Joy of the worm: sui­cide and plea­sure in ear­ly mod­ern Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture
BuchcoverCon­sult­ing an exten­sive archive of ear­ly mod­ern lit­er­a­ture, Joy of the Worm asserts that vol­un­tary death in lit­er­a­ture is not always a mat­ter of tragedy.
In this study, Drew Daniel iden­ti­fies a sur­pris­ing­ly com­mon aes­thet­ic atti­tude that he calls “joy of the worm,” after Cleopatra’s embrace of the dead­ly asp in Shakespeare’s play—a pat­tern where vol­un­tary death is imag­ined as an occa­sion for humor, mirth, ecsta­t­ic plea­sure, even joy and cel­e­bra­tion.
Daniel draws both a his­tor­i­cal and a con­cep­tu­al dis­tinc­tion between “self-killing” and “sui­cide.” Stan­dard intel­lec­tu­al his­to­ries of sui­cide in the ear­ly mod­ern peri­od have under­stand­ably empha­sized atti­tudes of abhor­rence, scorn, and sever­i­ty toward vol­un­tary death. Daniel reads an archive of lit­er­ary scenes and pas­sages, dat­ing from 1534 to 1713, that com­pli­cate this pic­ture. In their own dis­tinct respons­es to the sur­round­ing atti­tude of cen­sure, writ­ers includ­ing Shake­speare, Donne, Mil­ton, and Addi­son imag­ine death not as sin or sick­ness, but instead as a hero­ic gift, sex­u­al release, ele­men­tal return, amorous fusion, or polit­i­cal self-res­cue. “Joy of the worm” emerges here as an aes­thet­ic mode that shades into schaden­freude, sadis­tic cru­el­ty, and delib­er­ate “trolling,” but can also under­write pow­er­ful feel­ings of belong­ing, devo­tion, and love.
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