Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Blunder (A Roundtable Post)

[Updated 5/28/2-13]

This post began as a session at the 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies, in Kalamazoo, MI, known to all far and wide as KZoo or, simply, the Zoo.  The session was called "Blunder," and was organized by the inimitable Eileen Joy, for the BABEL Working Group.  The call went out as follows:

Then, with chaos and blunders encircling my head, / Let me ponder. 
   ~ Oliver Goldsmith, “Retaliation 21″ 
This session features short presentations that explore medieval texts and other artifacts, and/or any aspect of scholarship on the Middle Ages, that engage, practically and theoretically, consciously or unconsciously, in blunder and blundering — defined as confusion, bewilderment, trouble, disturbance, clamour, discomfiture, turmoil, mistakes, stupidity, carelessness, bumbling, errancy, confounding, foolishness, foiling, stumbling, perturbing, mayhem, fracas, and noise. It is hoped that presentations will trace some of the ways in which “blunder” has served as an historical actant, “making things happen” (for good or ill) that could not be anticipated in advance and which (somewhat and somehow) escapes full human control.
Shyama and I thought this sounded mighty FUMBLR-ish, so we threw our (dented) hats into the ring.  The session was filled with enjoyable failures and foibles (my damned Powerpower Powerpoint was out of order, which I never do). After, we asked the speakers if they'd be game for a group-post at Fumblr, and they generously agreed!  Fumblr therefore presents its first group-fumble, which will be presented as a series of separate posts, all linked through this post.  Thanks to all the contributors!

"Blundering at the End in Beowulf," by Mary Kate Hurley [Coming soon! Here now!]

"The Fruit of Failure," by M. W. Bychowski [Coming soon?! Here now!]

"Speculations and Rejections," by Nancy M. Thompson and Maggie Williams

"Scribal Blunders, Poetic Wonders: Reports from a Modern-Day Scribe," by David Hadbawnik

"Slices and Splices," by Marian Bleeke and Anne Harris

"Failblog/Fumblr," by Asa Simon Mittman and Shyama Rajendran

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