In the Middle on John Stockton: "Refuse the assumption of immutability"

By J J Cohen
In the Medieval Middle

Stockton_Playing coverI had so many good intentions about my summer reading. I accomplished a fairly vast amount, and thought by the end of August that I'd be composing a massive blog post to ruminate over rocks, fire, fantasies of Aborginal culture, and ecotheory (because that is what I tend to read at the beach). But ... it didn't quite happen.

Nonetheless I do want to put up a brief post about one of my favorite books from those months, Will Stockton's Playing Dirty: Sexuality and Waste in Early Modern Comedy. Before I read this work I'd been thinking a great deal about psychoanalytic criticism, and why it had lost some of its appeal for me. Partly this rumination had to do with an essay I was writing that returned me to Lee Edelman's No Future (a book that ended up arguing has much to say about thinking the inhuman, especially in its concluding chapter). Partly, too, the "surface versus symptom" panel sponsored by Exemplaria -- and the theme of a February conference to be held by the journal -- had me considering the psychoanalytical approach's potential but also its limits.

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