Returning from the Margins

Though Medieval Studies were institutionalized by New Criticism in the 1960s, its study was exegetical, monolithic or orthodoxical in nature. So the boundary of medieval literature could not be redrawn until the deconstruction came into light and reacted against New Criticism. Since deconstruction came into light and reacted against New Criticism, the marginalized ideas are once more brought into the center, which is known as returning from the margins.

Returning from the margins means refusing on textualism; which is different from New Criticism and Cultural Studies. Here the focus remains textual but radical contingencies should act as inter-locuter, so the boundary between the text and an individual is blurred. And thus, it brought changes in three different areas in Medieval Studies.
The renewed focus on the “textuality of the text” in medieval studies was the chief thing that it contributed to the field of literary studies in general. In return, it borrowed the host of terminologies from other various disciplines and reinforced itself in new attire. With the rise of new philology (terms form other various theories and other fields of knowledge) within the field, in the end of 20th century significant changes have taken place in Medieval Studies. Such changes were visible in different aspects like:
1. Medieval Literacy: The earlier differences between the binaries – oral/written, high/low, sacred/profane, courtly/vernacular, etc. were blurred.
2. Medieval Religion: Religion was perceived as a practice rather than a doctrine. Earlier binaries between the sacred/profane, religious/ secular, orthodoxy, heterodoxy etc. were blurred.
3. Renewed material and institutional base of Medieval Studies: The rhetoric of self-marginalization was waning away. And rather than institutionally, Medieval studies was seen on the basis of production, reception and generic definition of the works to be selected.
With the renewed material basis of Medieval Studies, earlier interpretive paradigms were radically redrawn to include what have been ‘othered’/ ‘marginalized’. This recent move in Medieval Studies, though paradoxically, attracted the critical attention and adopted its own paradigm within the field of literary studies.