CFP: [Graduate] Corruption in Modern Literature and Theory: Stanford Comparative Literature Grad. Student Conference

full name / name of organization: 
Christopher Donaldson
contact email: 


                            APRIL 4-5, 2008

Corruption â€" a concept with wide array of moral, social, and political
implications â€" is a recurrent trope in modern literature. Certainly, it is
central to many of the most canonical works of 18th, 19th, and 20th
centuries: the novels of Flaubert and Dostoevsky; the poems of Baudelaire
and Paz; and the plays of Kleist and Beckett (to name only a few examples).
In many modernist and postmodernist works corruption becomes a way to
challenge and re-imagine the governing forms of literary creation â€"
thereby, in effect, corrupting them. Concomitantly, contemporary critical
strategies, through their tendency to draw attention to the constitutive
incompleteness of all works of art, have embraced corruption as normatively
positive â€" if not ineluctable â€" aspect of artistic creation.

We are calling for papers that investigate the vicissitudes of the concept
of corruption in modern literature and critical theory. Possible topics
include, but are not limited to:

• The corruption of form
• The corrupt character/anti-hero
• Corruption as an aesthetic category
• Corruption as a moral, political, social, and/or sexual category
• Corruption as an abiding religious category resurfacing in modern texts
• Corruption and the possibility or impossibility of salvation in modernist
• The material corruption of literary artifacts (e.g. corruption as a
philological category)
• Corruption as a concept in contemporary attempts to imagine a post-ironic
• The specificity of corruption as opposed to concepts like devolution and
artistic failure
• Representations of corruption in the work of a particular writer or genre
(e.g. the marriage plot)
• Possible homologies between theological conceptualizations of corruption
(e.g. St. Augustine’s)
and modern approaches to structure and form
• Corruption and the ethics of reading debate (e.g., in reference to the
Nussbaum/Booth/Posner debate of the ethical value of reading, or lack thereof)

Presentations should be approximately 20 minutes in length (about 10
double-spaced pages).

Please submit a one page abstract in the body of an email by January 4th,
2008 to:
Chris Donaldson ( & Nir Evron (

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Received on Thu Nov 08 2007 - 17:31:38 EST