Over the past ten years, a number of exciting intellectual developments have taken place at the confluence of medieval studies and contemporary critical theory. First, there has been a new kind of collaboration and cross fertilization between the formerly separate fields of philology and linguistics, historical language study and linguistic theory. Second, a radical historicization of all aspects of the cultural domain has probed the very concept of the “literary”, demanding a rethinking of how different social and historical configurations enable the concept to come into being, and in what forms, at different moments in time. Figurae, whether from the perspective of a medieval text or from that of present-day scholarship, mark an interest in historicity grounded in observations of form, and of how form enables time and the world to take on substance and meaning. Third, the Middle Ages has emerged as a seminal period for exploring two of the most significant issues in contemporary cultural studies: the construction of gender identity and the invention of the “modern” self.
The series will be broadly and provocatively interdisciplinary. It will attempt to bring together research in material culture with philosophical and theoretical thought. From a base in literary and historical studies, it will seek to transform exclusively text-centered views of the Middle Ages, incorporating perspectives from art history, music, linguistics, science, philosophy, and law. In its awareness of the temporal dimension of figurae, it will reflect the constructedness of critical concepts and institutions.
Figurae will consist of three types of book. First, single-author studies will make innovative contributions in one or more of the series’ target areas. Second, works of collective authorship will present various angles on a single central problem. Third, key scholarly books from other languages will be translated into English.
This series is closed.