Before I write the posts I hinted at in my previous post (and when do I ever write the posts at which I hint?), I have a question for y'all, especially y'all medievalists.
I have identified a weakness in myself as a scholar: namely, I am not comfortable with theory. More precisely, I am not comfortable "applying" (for lack of a better word) theory in my research. Here's the problem, I think: My first year of grad school--about half my coursework--was All Theory, All The Time. At that point, I was not a medievalist; I imagined that I'd go into 19th/early 20th-c. literature. That all changed in my second year, and I began taking courses that would brush up my knowledge of medieval literature and language--Middle High German, medieval French narrative, Old English, paleography, etc. And I never really encountered theoretical approaches to medieval literature in the classroom.
I have to admit, too, that I was not into theory in those early years. As a first- and second-year grad student, I found it exhaustingly intimidating and difficult. So it was with great relief that I began focusing on things like manuscript transmission and paleography and auctoritas, rather than postcolonial this or that.
But now, when I do think that I'm intellectually sophisticated enough to deal with theoretical texts in a more mature fashion (hey, I liked reading Gender Trouble this summer), I feel a bit at sea--it's been a long time since I was in a specifically "theoretical" mindset. I think that there's theory implicit in a lot of my research, and I'm not looking to just drop some Derrida references in my Chaucer article, or anything like that. But when I'm asked point-blank--as I have been, in a job talk and at an MLA interview--about which theorists inform or are useful to my research, I can feel the Blank Stare of Doom settling across my brow. Or eyes. Whatever.
Anyway, so now that the MS is revised (for yes! It is in the copy center as I type, awaiting mailing), one of my next Intellectual Projects, I think, should be to read some scholarship that approaches medieval literature from an overtly theoretical standpoint. Just to see what's out there.
Here's the question, then. Any suggestions? Broadly speaking, my work is on Middle English literature, dream visions, hagiography, and visionary texts (keeping this deliberately wide open). I am somewhat, though probably insufficiently, familiar with Amy Hollywood's stuff, and I read Dinshaw's Getting Medieval ages ago (I can't remember it very clearly). Anything else come to mind as a good example of theoretically informed medieval literary scholarship?