CFP: Dialogism and Lyric Self-Fashioning (10/15/04; collection)

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Dialogism and Lyric Self-Fashioning: =20
Voices of a Genre=20
Only recently has the complex construction of lyric poetry and subjectivity=
been recognized. Lyric poetry as a genre seems to focus more on the=20
speaker, more on the construction of a speaker=E2=80=99s fragmented self, t=
han on the=20
exposition of ideological =E2=80=9Cwholeness,=E2=80=9D and this emphasis on=
 =E2=80=9Csubjectivity=E2=80=9D has=20
been an important trend in recent criticism. One quality that is inherent i=
the manifestation of lyric subjectivity is the presence of multiple voices,=
multiple discourses. In Bakhtinian terms the lyric collection can be viewed=
 as a=20
complex, dialogic exchange, and there is in such collections several=20
discourses with which the subject is simultaneously engaged. In his =E2=
=80=9CDiscourse of=20
the Novel,=E2=80=9D Bakhtin defines dialogism as =E2=80=9Cmulti-voiced=E2=
=80=9D discourse. Speech is=20
by its very nature =E2=80=9Cdialogic,=E2=80=9D for any individual utterance=
 is either born=20
from or dynamically stimulated by the utterance of someone else=E2=80=94eit=
her what=20
has already been said or in anticipation of what will be said. In literatur=
Bakhtin believes that there is a =E2=80=9Cpowerful influence exercised by a=
discourse on a given author. . . . when such influences are laid bare, the=20
half-concealed life lived by another=E2=80=99s discourse is revealed within=
 the new=20
context. . . . there is no external imitation, no simple act of reproductio=
n, but=20
rather a further creative development of another=E2=80=99s (more precisely,=
half-other) discourse in a new context and under new conditions.=E2=80=9D =20=
Bakhtin saw the=20
novel as the medium in which dialogism could thrive, and he does indeed lar=
disregard the dialogic nature of lyric poetry. Perhaps for Bakhtin the=20
lyric subject appears too isolated, too =E2=80=9Cprivate=E2=80=9D; however,=20=
the private voice=20
of the lyric subject is often constructed from and directed to public=20
discourse, and the subject=E2=80=99s self-discovery, his/her self-fashioning=
, is validated=20
and understood only through what it simultaneously is and is not: the speec=
h of=20
This volume of essays will look at the manifestation of such competing =E2=
voices=E2=80=9D within the tradition of lyric poetry. The lyric subject=E2=
=80=99s understanding=20
of himself/herself=E2=80=94through the very act of speaking/writing=E2=80=
=94is irrevocably =20
connected, on multiple levels, to the heard and unheard voices of others. =20=
matter how =E2=80=9Cprivate=E2=80=9D the voice of the lyric speaker appears=
 to be, nearly=20
every utterance is formed from and then positioned between what others have=
said or will say. But even more significant is the impact authoritative=20
discourses have on the lyric subject=E2=80=94those discourses that validate=
 the presence of=20
larger social ideals and from which the subjects themselves can never=20
completely escape.=20
The collection will be arranged in three sections, the first dealing with=20
the lyric of Greek and Roman antiquity, the second with Medieval and=20
Renaissance lyric, and the third with the modern lyric (therefore, essays f=
rom scholars=20
 in various fields would be expected). Such a broad examination of the lyric=
genre can help identify inherent characteristics of the genre, but it can=20
also shed light on how lyric subjectivity is affected when faced with=20
ideological pressures unique to a particular social context. Essays ideall=
y will=20
engage multiple languages and national literatures. Possible themes might i=
but are not limited to, the following:=20
feminine and masculine voices=20
public and private discourse=20
intertextuality and the =E2=80=9Cvoices=E2=80=9D of the past=20
discourse, politics, and the ideologies of desire=20
the dialogue between literature and art=20
psychoanalysis and the resolutions of a conflicted self=20
dialogues between speaker(s) and reader(s)=20
It is not necessary that essays take a specifically =E2=80=9CBakhtinian=E2=
=80=9D approach. =20
Any aspect of lyric poetry and the interaction of multiple voices or=20
discourses is appropriate. Various methodologies and theoretical positions=20=
welcome as well as interdisciplinary approaches.=20
Those interested should send a detailed abstract/prospectus (300-500 words)=
via email by October 15, 2004 (feel free to send me an email with a brief=20
description of the project before submitting a formal abstract). Those who=
proposals are accepted should be prepared to submit completed essays by Aug=
1, 2005.=20

Jacob Blevins
Assistant Professor of English
McNeese State University
337 475 5000

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Received on Tue Jul 06 2004 - 01:10:12 EDT

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