UPDATE: [Graduate] DEADLINE EXTENDED––Difficulty, Intransigence, Failure

full name / name of organization: 
Robert Higney

"Difficulty, Intransigence, Failure"

April 24-25, 2009


Keynote Speaker: Heather K. Love, University of Pennsylvania

In critical practice, we may observe difficulty, only to later disavow it:
the difficulty of a work--its density, the laborious interpretation it
demands--can dissolve with time and effort. Or we may dismiss this sort of
rhetorical difficulty as failure, concluding that what at first seemed
interesting is in fact merely muddled or incoherent. Contrarily, we may
linger over difficulty, privileging it as a kind of intransigence to
complacent responses, or as defining the literary in contrast to other
forms of writing. So-called failures may be revalued positively, as
resistant to the pernicious demands of success. Furthermore, literary works
may themselves thematize these terms, inviting us to reconsider the
normative charges that attach to each and the logics by which they function.

By conjoining difficulty, intransigence, and failure, then, we hope to
investigate a range of literary, theoretical, and critical issues. We're
looking for papers that treat difficulty as a theme, intransigence as
critically productive, or failure as constitutive of

Topics might include:
Complication in/as theoretical discourse
Abandoned or outdated critical paradigms
Canon formation
Difficulty and style
Aesthetics and artistic autonomy
Difficulty as modern, postmodern, or non-modern
Identity and subjectivity
Intransigence as ethos or way of life
Queerness and failure
Failure as desirable or deliberate
Abjection and alienation
Or even: ease, receptiveness, and success!

Submissions are not limited on the basis of period or genre; we hope to
have papers offering a variety of perspectives from graduate students in
literary studies and related disciplines. Please send abstracts (350 words
max) to intransigence09_at_gmail.com by March 2nd, 2009.

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Received on Mon Feb 16 2009 - 15:01:59 EST