I’m Peter Buchanan. Initially most of the people reading this will be my friends, but it is my hope that with time the readership will expand to include a larger community. In fact, I’m doing this as a way to find and create a community of people with intersecting interests. I am primarily an Anglo-Saxonist, nearing the end of my PhD in medieval studies at the University of Toronto. To be more precise, I am into phenomenological approaches to early medieval literature written in both Latin and Old English. My dissertation (from which I shamelessly stole the name for the blog) is about the role of perception and the body in the culture of poetic adaptation in Anglo-Saxon England. My interests are not quite so parochial, though, as I attempt to dabble a bit in later medieval and early Modern literature and have a serious passion for 20th century poetry, especially of the Black Mountain variety. I also greatly enjoy teaching History of the English Language.
I’m starting this blog for several reasons. For reasons of professionalization, I think it’s becoming increasingly important to develop an online presence, although my thin veneer of professionalism may be undone by the habit of using quotations from classic movies for post titles. In the past few years it has also become increasingly clear that important conversations in medieval studies are often being conducted online, and I want to be a part of them. But most importantly, I’m conscious of the fact that as an Anglo-Saxonist I am a part of a very small field in English literary studies, and my desire to read Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Bachelard, and Marion puts me in an even smaller group. I know that I am not alone, but I hope that by blogging my interests I can make contact with others who share them, and maybe even convince more people of the value of phenomenological approaches to literary study.
Like H. D. at the end of The Walls Do Not Fall, I have no map, but I do have some plans for the coming weeks. I head to Boston tomorrow for the MLA, where I will primarily be a spectator, and I plan on blogging some about my experiences there. I also want to get into some discussion of Peter Sloterdijk’s Bubbles: Spheres I, which I checked out of the library immediately before Christmas. I devoured the first hundred pages, at which point I looked into buying it and was shocked to discover that it only cost $24 on Amazon (coming so soon on the heels of Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s discussion of the pricing of academic books, this seemed like a steal). It is pretty great if you’re into discussions of intimacy, love, geometric vitalism, periodization, phenomenology, and ecology. That may seem breath-taking, but the experience of reading it is breath-giving, and I’m really excited about delving into it more. Perhaps others would like to read it with me–high hopes, I know, for a fledgling blog. You have a bit of time to read ahead, and I’ll likely do several posts, both talking about the book on its own and outlining some ways I think it could come into play with Anglo-Saxon literature. Longer term I want to do some reading/blogging on Renee Trilling and Jacqueline Stodnick’s new Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Studies and also Jean-Luc Marion’s Prolegomena to Charity. I’m open to suggestions for things to read/blog, especially article length works.
That’s all for now. The blog is pretty bare bones, but I hope that in the next couple months I will have an opportunity to improve the look of it.