Wordsworth Among The Naturalists – Panel for NeMLA in Hartford, CT, March 17-20, 2016
British Romanticism and American Literary Naturalism might seem an unlikely pairing. Romanticism's investment in a sublime yet beneficent natural world and the power of the individuated self contrasts starkly with Naturalism's interest in deterministic doom and urban degeneration of. Yet the relationship between the two movements is more complex than this binary allows. This panel seeks papers that consider the ways British Romanticism as practiced by poets, essayists, prose stylists and other writers of the early 19th century was repurposed in the works of late 19th and early 20th American literary naturalism. Though critics have long detected a strain of dark romanticism in the movement, from the naïve poet Presley in Frank Norris's The Octopus (1901) to the nostalgic memories in? Willa Cather's My Antonia (1918), this panel will consider more direct references to British Romantics in naturalist writers. Through this focus, this panel hopes to move beyond the anxiety of influence in order to explore the ways American Literary Naturalism exploits the works of British Romanticism. What might Edith Wharton's use of John Keats tells us about the post-Darwinian world she fashions? How does Wharton's invocation of Keats alter our understanding of the poet? Papers may include any combination of American naturalist writers, from Stephen Crane to Paul Laurence Dunbar, in conversation with the 'big six' Romantic poets, or other essayists, novelists, and dramatists from the period. Emphasis should be placed on the crucial, even definitional ways the compositional strategies, thematic obsessions, and cultural capital of British Romanticism, including the movement's intellectual frameworks and habits of attention, move within the circuitry of American Literary Naturalism.
Please submit an abstract via the NeMLA CFP site:
Abstracts are due by September 30, 2015.