The ghost of the author and the author of the ghost

deadline for submissions: 
September 10, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Altre Modernità, Università degli Studi di Milano ITALY
contact email: 

n. 19 – 5/2018

 The ghost of the author and the author of the ghost

edited by Ana María González Luna and Paolo Caponi

 His (or her) death was pronounced as early as 1968. Then, without surprising us that much, he (or she) resurrected and is now, no need to say, more alive than ever before. Changed a bit, perhaps, here and there, and made smaller, possibly, in our imagination. What do we mean when we speak of an “author”, today? Time, and the slow but inexorable leak of documents and voices from the publishers’ archives has revealed, and, very likely, will go on revealing, a conception of the author as a little less perfect than the one we have grown up with. Shakespeare and Ungaretti appear in the same anthologies, but we could not think of two authors more distant as regard to cooperation, revision, and the market. And not only the world of the authors is haunted by the ghosts – we have ghost of translators, cartoonists, and even film directors, all people that sweated for years in the dark to have their works signed by others. That is the point: to what extent can we sign a work that, in fact, is not properly ours? What’s left of a text when its author is also a ghost? The phantasmal structures that hide behind a book nowadays also call into question the modality of commercial production of the literary text: it is undeniable that there are literary genres or sub-genres than more easily than others find themselves “possessed” by spirits that one would prefer not to see. The esthetic artifact (the book) is also an object with a precise commercial value – a successful saga, when is definitely established, must go on, as James Bond teaches, because the reasons of the market always end up prevailing over any other consideration.

Number 19 of Other Modernities wants to trigger a debate around the contemporary conception of the author, generally intended, his/her features, his/her role in the contemporary free market economy. Besides the production and collection of interviews that are likely to be, in this case, particularly revealing, we welcome proposals centered around:

-  The ghostwriter figure

-  Other ghosts of other figures differently and variously involved in the editorial process

-  The author’s role in contemporary societies based on free market economy;

-  The author’s role in other societies founded on different economic principles

-  The literary text as an object and its assemblage

-  Ghostwriters and literary genres

-  Publishers and their dependence on literary manual labourers

 Such indications are not, however, intended to limit the range of proposals investigating the theme.

To this purpose, the editorial board has established the following deadlines.  Authors should send in their proposals in the form of a 10 (min.) - 20 (max.) line abstract with a brief bio-bibliography to amonline@unimi.it.

The deadline for the submission of the papers is 10th September 2017.

The issue will be published by late May 2018.

We also welcome book reviews and interviews to authors and scholars who investigate the aforementioned topics. Contributors are free to contact the editors to discuss and clarify the objectives of their proposals, with a view to making the issue as homogeneous as possible also from a methodological point of view. The editors can be contacted via the Editorial Secretary (amonline@unimi.it).