Someone explain to me. What’s with the formula ‘Thing X and it’s discontents’?
Here are a short list of things which, according to titles of books I encounter on my researches, have discontents:
– Heterosexuality (Sylvia Huot, ‘Heterosexuality and its discontents’, a chapter of Madness in Medieval French Literature)* Incidentally, that was the chapter I was trying to think of yesterday, the one that talks about the trope where we go around accusing dudes of preferring other dudes if they reject ladies.
– Sexuality (which has specifically queer discontents, according to Tyson Pugh)
– Romance Society (Simon Meecham-Jones, specifically of the Song of Dermot and the Normans in Ireland)
– Sociability (Thomas Cohen)
– Litanies (Felice Lifshitz, specifically of gender in litanies)
– Money (James M. Murray, concerning the city of Bruges)
And on and on it goes. I ran a keyword search for ‘medieval discontents’ and got a full page of results, and that’s just from things with all the proper metadata in Fisher’s catalogue.
Is this some kind of in-joke or theoretical reference I’m missing? Or are we just all grumpy people? Also, I gather from the James Murray book and the one on anti-semitism which turned up in the keyword search that it’s not just lit scholars who are discontented. What gets the discontent buzzword in your field?
* Sure, heterosexuality has its discontents. But cheer up! According to Carolyn Dinshaw it has consolations, too. #things you probably knew already