• Blue

    Eileen Joy (see profile)
    Anglo-Saxon / Old English, Environmental Humanities, Poetics and Poetry
    Aesthetics, Ecology, English literature--Old English, Postmodernism (Literature), American literature
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Ecological aesthetics, Ecopoetics, Environmental humanities, Old English literature, Postmodern American literature
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    This essay is an attempt to think about melancholy as a shared creative endeavor, as a trans-corporeal blue (and blues) ecology that would bind humans, nonhumans, and stormy weather together in what Tim Ingold has called a meshwork. In this enmeshment of the “strange strangers” of Timothy Morton’s dark ecology, “[t]he only way out is down” and art’s “ambiguous, vague qualities will help us to think things that remain difficult to put into words.” It may be, as Morton has also argued, that while “personhood” is real, nevertheless, “[b]oth the surface and the depth of our being are ambiguous and illusory.” And “still weirder, this illusion might have actual effects.” I want to see if it might be possible to cultivate this paradoxical interface (literally, “between faces”) between illusion and effects, especially with regard to feeling blue, a condition I believe is a form of a deeply empathic enmeshment with a world that suffers its own “sea changes” and which can never be seen as separate from the so-called individuals who supposedly only populate (“people”) it. Is "feeling blue" always only taking place within the interior spaces of individually-bounded forms of sentience and physiology, or is it in the world somehow, a type of weather or atmosphere, with the becoming-mad of the human mind only one of its many effects (a form of attunement to the world’s melancholy)? Could a more heightened and consciously attuned sense of the emanations and radio signals of “blue” sensations, feelings, and climates enable constructive interpersonal, social, and other blue collaborations that might lead to valuable modes of better advancing “into / the sense of the weather, the lesson of / the weather”? With reference to David Markson's "Wittgenstein's Mistress," Denis Johnson's "Fiskadoro," and 2 Old English poems ("Wanderer" and "Seafarer"), this essay ruminates possible answers to those questions.
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago


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