CFP: Rhetoric of Monsters (11/30/05; ACLA, 3/23/06-3/26/06)

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"Monstrous Rhetoric"
Panel for the 2006 American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting
March 23 - 26, 2006
Princeton University
Deadline for papers: November 30, 2005

Papers are invited for the panel “Monstrous Rhetoric” at the ACLA annual
meeting, 2006. This panel (or “seminar”) will address the notion of the
monstrosity of language. Vico, for instance, states that all “poetic monsters
and metamorphoses” take place as a particular kind of trope, one that creates
new ideas by putting together incongruent figures. The problem, for Vico, is
not necessarily the fact that these “poetic monsters” happen as a result of a
“composition” or the positing together of two distinct forms. After all, it
could be said that poetic language is always a way of subsuming diversity under
one figure. Rather, Vico defines the monster as a poetic figure forged by an
uncertain or illegitimate relation. For example, children born of prostitutes
are “monsters,” according to Roman law, since they have a human nature crossed
with the “bestial characteristic of having been born of vagabond or uncertain

This seminar therefore invites papers that focus on the monster as the
linguistic formation of an “uncertain” or illegitimate relation. What is an
“uncertain” relation? What would be a “legitimate” relation? How does the
monster play a part in conceiving other relations to the human, to politics, to
law, to literature, or to language in general? Papers are invited that focus
on these questions or on two general topics:

1) the way rhetoric and rhetorical figures are theorized as “monstrous” or
threatening. For example, in theoretical texts that valorize or condemn
rhetoric in general or specific tropes such as allegory, metaphor, etc.

2) the way specific texts utilize a rhetoric of monsters. For instance:
fictional texts that employ monstrous figures to talk about national identity;
political speeches and manifestoes in which the political other (the “enemy”)
is figured as monstrous.

3) comparative literature as monstrous: the monstrous nature of comparative
literature as a discipline, or the way comparative literature is constituted by
the "monstrous" gesture of putting together two or more irreducible texts.

Paper proposals (250 words) for 15-20 minute papers should be sent directly to
the ACLA website, The deadline
is November 30, 2005. The conference may also be found by going to the ACLA

For questions, please contact the seminar organizer: David Kelman

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Received on Mon Oct 24 2005 - 00:12:22 EDT

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