UPDATE: [American] ALA Panel on Robert Morgan

full name / name of organization: 
Jesse Kendall Graves
contact email: 

A Panel for the Annual Conference of the American Literature Association
May 22-25, 2008 in San Francisco, California

Panel Proposal:

“A Community Across Time”: The Poetry and Prose of Robert Morgan

        Through a distinctive combination of novels, short stories, poetry, and
most recently, historical biography, Robert Morgan has established himself
as a critically important American writer. The majority of his work is set
in rural southern Appalachia, though its inherent themes are as universal
as the struggles surrounding romantic love, the acquisition of money,
family relationships, and religious practice. Among the most definitive
qualities of Robert Morgan’s body of work centers around his efforts to
“create a community across time,” a phrase he has used in interviews to
define a central goal in his writings. This panel seeks to explore ways in
which Robert Morgan interposes the past and the present through his uses of
language, setting, characterization, imagery, and topography. Topics might
include: examinations of time and aesthetics in individual works by the
author; studies of comparative usages of the past in multiple works by
Morgan; placement of Robert Morgan’s work within the broader framework of
Appalachian or Southern literature; considerations of the portrayal of
gender, race, or social class as a determining characteristic in the
culture of Morgan’s work; the evolution of machinery and technology in the
writing; the role of physical labor as an image and symbol, and as a both a
means and an ends to livelihood; depictions of regional authenticity as
identifying historical markers; generational modulations of voice in
fictional characterizations; the complicated and evolving role of the
artist in an isolated community; varying representations of both the recent
and distant past across the genres in Morgan’s work. Send 1-2 page
abstracts and brief CVs to Jesse Graves at jgraves6_at_utk.edu by January 15,
2008, to be considered for a panel at the American Literature Association’s
(ALA) Annual Conference, to be held May 22-25 2008 in San Francisco,

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Received on Tue Nov 20 2007 - 05:13:25 EST