This Comparative Literature session has been selected for inclusion in the 42nd convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association, to be held in New Brunswick, New Jersey April 7-10, 2011. The host institution is Rutgers University.
We invite papers analyzing degeneration in Western and non-Western works of, or portraying, the 19th century. What do fictions of degeneration tell us about the scientific, sexual and cultural politics of the 19th century? In what contexts is the fear of degeneration exacerbated or sublimated at the end of the century? How does contemporaneous biological theory become literature? Comparative approaches and papers dealing with 19th century popular literature welcomed.