[Deadline Extended: 3/15] MLA 2018: The Worlds and Ways of Contemporary Fiction
"Where is Paradise, Lantanacamara?" -- a question readers of Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night (1996) may reasonably ask as they are immersing themselves in that locale. Contemporary literature often takes world-making as a matter—and the stuff—of diegesis, not mimesis. Form, not the formation of a nation, seems among others a feature of contemporary fiction in world-making and situating the reader. Taking a cue from Eric Hayot, who, in On Literary Worlds (2012), sees “the world of the work of art” as a wholeness crafted, complete in itself and self-referential, and argues that such as a world is “always a relation to and theory of the lived world” (43-44), our panel invites papers that 1) explore how contemporary literature represents diverse ways of constituting worlds and being in them (i.e., Ben Okri's The Famished Road), 2) take up aesthetic and formal qualities of literary worldliness, or 3) offer a method of reading that renders more secure culturally-specific and incommensurable qualities of time and space. Please send a 200-word abstract and short bio by March 15, 2017 to Shun Kiang at sykiang @stetson.edu or firstname.lastname@example.org.