The Limits of Form: On Literary Content

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
MLA 2019: Special Session
contact email: 

What exactly is the content of a literary text, and how does it affect the experience of reading?  How should critics approach a text's overt elements and ideas?  A lengthy and currently influential tradition of thought has emphasized literary form in a variety of creative ways, but very little has been done to explain how critics should think about content.  This panel will bring together six scholars, who will each briefly (in 8 to 10 minutes) offer a definition of literary content and an example from a particular text.  Please submit an abstract for such a paper, along with a one-page CV, to pfessenbecker at by March 15.

Note: this is a non-guaranteed special session, and requires MLA approval.