'Everything is Permitted': Secularity, Values, and Suffering in Modern Literature
Dostoevsky’s character Ivan Karamozov declares, “Without God, everything is permitted.” This notion is philosophically provocative and existentially potent, particularly in the study of secular literature from the modern era. Having experienced with Hillis Miller calls “the disappearance of God” or Nietzsche’s “death of God”, secular literature shows several attempts to account for humanity’s place, meaning, and immanent values. This panel seeks to explore questions of existential crisis in the secular age that perforate throughout modern literature and theory. How does one ascribe meaning or purpose to a world of violence, trauma, and suffering? How does modern fiction tease out social problems and what insight to they provide for them? How does the problem of evil correspond with character’s spirituality? Is this problem illuminated through complex processes of globalization, refugee crisis, trans-national politics, etc. as represented in literature?
Sumbit Abstracts for NeMLA 50th anniversary convention here: http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers.html
Conference to take place March 19-23 in Washington D.C.
Contact Forrest Johnson (York University)