To Prove a Villain: On the performativity of Evil Characters in Anglophone Literature (Partial call for Papers Focused on the Middle Ages and The Twentieth Century)

deadline for submissions: 
December 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
University of Gafsa, Tunisia

To Prove a Villain: On the performativity of Evil Characters in Anglophone Literature     (Partial call for Papers Focused on the Middle Ages and The Twentieth Century)

The emphasis on “the performativity of texts” (Skinner x) has now become common in literary studies. “The notion of literature as performative” (Culler 96) is now entrenched. It pervades many of the recent studies of the theory of literature. This is why the concept of performance is no longer confined to literary forms that are traditionally written to be performed on the stage, the pulpit or the podium, like drama, songs and sermons. Every form of literature can be considered as performative. Moreover, the works of Judith Butler, Quentin Skinner, Richard Schechner, Jonathan Culler, Jacques Derrida, Richard Rorty and others have shown that performativity characterizes all the aspects of literature. The writing, marketing, reading and analysis of literature are performative. It is quite common to describe them as acts, esp. the act of reading. This performativity extends the concept of literature irrevocably beyond the boundaries of the written text. It also proves that we need to cope with the looseness of the term literature that can no longer be confined to the classical genres. Many traditional and new (non)-discursive practices started to fall into the category of literature, from which they have long been excluded.  Probably the most intriguingly appealing characters in traditional and contemporary literature, the representations of evil characters – be they villains in drama, antagonists in fiction and cinema, bosses in video games or corrupt public figures in satirical writings – has always been connected with the notion of performance. Evil characters, real or/and fictional, are – for the most part – defined by their deeds. This is why the notion of performance can be quite helpful in understanding them. To further contribute to the articulation of this interconnection between performativity and the literary representation of evil characters, we are seeking detailed proposals for a collection of academic essays entitled:

To Prove a Villain: On the Performativity of “Evil” Characters in Anglophone Literature

Our first call for papers received a number of interesting contributions and we have divided our collection into five parts of which two have not received enough proposals. These are the Middle Ages and the age of cold war and espionage.  This led us to extend the deadlines to December 15th 2018 in order to give scholars interested in these two periods enough time to send their abstracts  

Part II: Performing Evil in the Middle Ages

The contemporary and contemporaneous literary representations of the Middle ages as times of Chivalry and Romance or as dark times of political and social upheavals have emphasized the role of evil and villainy in shaping the world. This part focuses on the Medieval (contemporaneous) as well as Medievalist (contemporary) representations of the nature and the role of evil characters in shaping the medieval world or the common picture of the medieval world.   

Part IV: Evil in the Age of Espionage, Diplomatic Crises and Cold Wars

The 20th century was an age of conflicts. It witnessed two world wars and a long cold war that lasted for decades in which the threat of nuclear annihilation loomed on the horizon. Yet, much of the significant action took place in the shadowy world of intelligence agencies. Espionage, secret diplomacy and shadowy governmental and nongovernmental organizations defined the politics of the time. They inspired and continue to inspire a number of literary works. This part is concerned with the influence of the cold war and the covert struggle for world domination between superpowers before and during the cold war on the literary representations of evil in the twentieth century.   


Please send your proposals along with a short bio as Separate Word attachments to the following email: by December 15th, 2018

For queries and for further information please feel free to contact Dr. Nizar Zouidi (University of Gafsa, Tunisia):

The chapters should be from 5000 to 8000 words in length and should be formatted according to the guidelines that will be provided after the abstracts are accepted by the peer reviewers. Upon completion, the chapters will be peer reviewed again and proofread by the committee in order to ensure their compliance with the publisher’s requirements.