On Personae

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Obrienatrix recently migrated various writings over here, that were previously in the Forum for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland‘s “Village Green” section, being:

[a] home for reflections and ruminations Medieval and Renaissance, from the aphorism to the treatise. […] being broadly construed to encompass the period from Late Antique to Early Modern, or its local equivalent, in all parts of the world; and to include the following discursive modes:

  • Glosses, translations, and scholarly queries
  • Commentary, ideas, notes, jottings, observations, and all manner of cogitations
  • Conundrums and Paradoxes, Points to Ponder, Things Spotted (and Unspotted)
  • Questions, issues in research, requests for information and help (where to find something, how to access a certain resources, where one might find more information on a given topic)
  • Lengthier pieces of writing
  • Discussion about forthcoming activities of a verbally performative sort. Including but not restricted to talks, lectures, conferences, colloquia, workshops, and seminars. And commentary thereon once they have occurred.
  • Discussion about forthcoming activities of a written and published nature, rather than of a performative sort. Calls for papers for books and journals. Announcements of forthcoming publications. Launches. Prizes and awards ceremonies. News, previews, reviews. And, again, postmortem commentary.

Now, this was all a very fine and splendid idea; and people certainly do do this sort of thing online – Medievalists, and of course many others in other academic fields, more so in some (philosophy) than in others, and more so in some places and intellectual cultures than in others. Alas, a better idea in theory than in practice. Over the course of the last year, with a couple of exceptions (Dr Carrie Griffin of University College Cork – a shout out to you, O fine lady!), posts were exclusively written by Yours Truly. Who was therefore somewhat grumpy and peeved, and despaired of her fellow-man (but then again, she does deal a lot with misanthropic literature, so can blame the Method Reading).

A secondary issue arose: Obrienatrix found herself writing several sorts of post on the FMRSI, in different voices depending on the style/form/mode/content. In all of these, speaking in the third person, as “Your Administratrix” or “Admin.” Which might, she admits, be confusing to Forum readers and members; and was certainly confusing her. Thus, a second reason for Moving Meta-Meta was to reassemble herself – in all her conflicting glory – albeit still in the semblance of a persona. On which, she recommends François Rigolot, “Intentionalité du texte et théorie de la persona: le cas des Épitres de l’Amant Vert,” in Le Texte de la Renaissance: des Rhétoriqueurs à Montaigne (Geneva: Droz, 1983): 61-75; “L’Émergence de la subjectivité littéraire moderne: Les Épîtres de l’Amant Vert de Jean Lemaire de Belges,” Disputatio 1 (1996): 153-59.

All that having been said, she will usually stick to the third person, following the good example set by the long-standing tradition of satirical writing. Just in case she has to do any. Some of the Assertions & Comments are, after all, tending in that direction. Ever so gently, mind you.

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