Language, sign, and gender in Beowulf by Gillian R. Overing

By Gillian R. Overing

Now not a e-book approximately what Beowulf ability yet the way it ability, and the way the reader participates within the means of that means construction.Overing’s fundamental objective is to deal with the poem by itself phrases, to track and increase an interpretive technique consonant with the level of its distinction. Beowulf’s arcane constitution describes cyclical repetitions and patterned intersections of issues which baffle a linear standpoint, and recommend as an alternative the irresolution and dynamism of the deconstructionist loose play of textual elements.Chapter 1 posits the self/reader as a functionality of the text/language, reading the ways that the textual content "speaks" the reader. bankruptcy 2 develops an interactive semiotic approach in an try and describe an isomorphic relation among poem and reader, among textual content and self. bankruptcy three addresses the notions of textual content and self as extra complicated services or formulations of hope, and hence complicates and expands the arguments of the 2 previous chapters. the ultimate bankruptcy examines the difficulty of wish within the poem, and, to a lesser volume, wish within the reader (insofar as those might legitimately be considered as unique from every one other).

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Includes index. 1. Beowulf. 2. Semiotics and literature. 3. Feminism and literature. 4. English poetryOld English, ca. 4501100History and criticismTheory, etc. I. Title. 48-1984. for Steve Contents Acknowledgments ix Introduction xi 1 Language: An Overview in Process 1 Textual Effects/Affects 1 Metonymy: Implications for Interpretation 5 When a Kenning Is Not a Kenning 14 Metonymy in Action 21 2 Swords and Signs: Dynamic Semeiosis in Beowulf 33 Interlace, Text, and Sign 33 Peirce's Concept of Sign 38 Words, Things, and the Space Between 42 The Web of Signs 48 The Giant Sword Hilt: A Path out of Secondness 57 3 Gender and Interpretation in Beowulf 68 Voices for Paradox 68 Critical Voices 76 The Helenization of Hildeburh 81 The Voice of Wealhtheow: Peace-Weaver in a Double Bind 88 Modthryth as Spectacle and Spectator 101 Afterword 108 Notes 115 Bibliography 125 Index 133 Page ix Acknowledgments I should like to thank Wake Forest University, especially Provost Edwin Wilson and Dean Thomas Mullen, for supporting my work in the practical form of release time and research leave.

Peirce's terminology can both construct and encompass connections, not only within the signs of the text, but between words and things, between the language of the text and the subject's experience of the text. Chapter 2 addresses the issue of structure in Beowulf from the standpoint of sign interaction. The quicksilver nature of the poem's structure has long foiled logical linear description, primarily because it is essentially nonlinear, describing arcs and circles where persons, events, histories, and stories continually intersect; its individual elements persist, dissolve, and expand in a continuum of resonance and association, offering a poetic structural analogue to interlace design in Anglo-Saxon art.

Chapter 2 seeks to affirm and illustrate the value of a Peircean semiotic approach; Peirce's semeiotic reveals how the signs of the poem work, how they can work upon us, how we are worked by them. It offers a vocabulary and a means of discovery, as it crosses and conflates our categories of experience, and addresses those qualities of the poem that have previously been perceived in art. Page xx Just as chapter 1 postulates that meaning is process, and that the reader, the self, is constructed or "woven," identified or "spoken" by the text, chapter 2 also underlines the dynamic aspect of Beowulfthe ongoing translation and expansion of sign interactionbut places more emphasis on the interpreter of signs as a functional, contributing element in the process of translation/interpretation.

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