In live blogging this conference, I am following the conventions for conference blogging.
A Mind of Winter: A Comparative Approach to Wisdom in The Wanderer
Jason Lotz, Purdue Univ.
Winner of the Thomas Ohlgren Award for Best Graduate Student Essay in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
WS Klein â€œpaths are â€¦ able to contain all our interpretationsâ€
uses post-colonial â€œpresents are able to contain all our suppositionsâ€
traces parallels in Hamlet and Japanese film Okuribito (stigma of new job, caring for the dead- marginalized in society, isolated at home; plays cello and he and his father gather and exchange stones), also released in English as Departures.
Lotz agrees with other scholars that there is only one speaker in The Wanderer. He doesnâ€™t, however, agree with the two part development or division of the poem mentioned in talks yesterday.
Three stages of development:
identity through memory
l. 1-5 â€œthe solitary one by enduring obtains favorâ€
l. 6-7 (first stage in process of becoming wise)
â€œso said the earth-stepper, mindful of hardshipâ€¦ of the fall of beloved kinsmenâ€
l. 12 â€œguard oneâ€™s self in oneâ€™s heartâ€
Restricted by exile he is in danger of depression, of losing control of his identity.
Identity through memory
What really devastates the wanderer is his memory.
Present misery based on memory.
Present condition merges with past experiences.
Marginalized by grief.
l. 64 of the wanderer after he wakes up
Rather than narrate his individual sufferings, describes widespread troubles and then says how to meet them.
â€œA man may not become wise until he experiences a number of winters in the worldâ€
Wise man does not just derive wisdom from experience, but is able to live life wisely.
â€œFate is fully fixed.â€
Repetitive structure connects the speaker to the community of grief. This connection gives eternal consolation, if not secular joy.
Pulls oneâ€™s gaze from oneâ€™s suffering, allows one to look at others, suffering individual joins â€œa more productive conversation between past and presentâ€ and thus becomes again a member of the community.
Suffering is universal.
One who is suffering, grieving can move beyond the individual sorrow and take place in the community of grief.
Daigo (in Japanese movie) uses his experience with ritual of death in his job to allow him to honor and reconcile with his father, following his fatherâ€™s death, and allows him to re-join his family from isolation by his re-connection with his pregnant wife.
Hamlet re-creates his identity through his relationship with the ghost and thus races into his tragedy.
Quality of memory changes. â€œin his mindâ€ Changes his subjectivity, his thinking.
in â€œSnow Manâ€ by Wallace Stevens.
â€œOne must have a mind of winterâ€
Relate to the heat goes cold proverb of yesterdayâ€™s presentation.
Okuribito opening scene:
peers into a snowstorm â€œWhen I was a child, winter did not seem so cold.â€
Quoting from Wallace Stevensâ€™ poem â€œSnow Man:â€
â€œOne must â€¦ have been cold a long time â€¦.
not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the windâ€¦
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.â€
â€œSnow Manâ€ offers the opportunity to become one with the cold.
Concerns of the greater community.
Must have the mind of winter to understand the exileâ€™s path.