CFP: Levinas and Narrative (3/30/07; journal issue)

full name / name of organization: 
Monica Osborne
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Upcoming Special Issue of Modern Fiction Studies
Levinas and Narrative

Guest Editors: Sandor Goodhart and Monica Osborne

Deadline for Submissions: 30 March, 2007

To date, there have been two major ways of understanding the work of Emmanuel
Levinas. In the philosophical tradition, Levinas first attracted the attention
of Jean-Paul Sartre as a reader of Husserl and the phenomenological tradition;
later, thanks to the work of Jacques Derrida and other poststucturalists,
Levinas acquired caché for his work on ethics and his critique of Heidegger.

In the 1980s, a second way of understanding emerged out of Jewish Studies. In
this context, Levinas's reading of Buber and Rosenzwieg came to the
foreground. At this same time, an interest in the theoretical uses of midrash
developed in Jewish Studies. Geoffrey Hartman, Gerald Bruns, Sanford Budick,
Susan Handelman and others in English departments, and David Stern, Michael
Fishbane, Daniel Boyarin and others in Jewish Studies programs, expanded our
conception of this ancient scriptural exegetical mode.

Now a third way of understanding Levinas presents itself, one in which both his
work in philosophy and his work in Jewish studies is above all and primarily
literary. In the first decade of the new millennium, the coming together of the
midrashic mode and the recognition that Levinas's project is a "translation"
from the "Greek to Hebrew" has enabled an understanding of Levinas as an
exegete of the scriptural tradition who understands that tradition as itself
already a version of literary reading, one perhaps shared by the greatest
writers of our tradition—from Sophocles and Shakespeare to Faulkner and

It is in this new, third context that we invite papers on Levinas and modern
narrative (fiction, drama, and film). Essays may focus on particular works read
in conjunction with Levinas, on Levinas's interpretative approach in
contemporary philosophy or Jewish Studies as a way of reading narrative, or on
any other way that Levinas might inform an engagement with modern narrative.

Essays should range in length from 6,000 to 9,000 words (excluding notes and
works cited) and should follow the current edition of the MLA Style Manual.
Please submit two copies of the essay along with a cover sheet that lists the
author's name, essay title, mailing address, telephone number, and email
address. Mfs does not accept electronic submissions. Please mail essays and
cover letters to:

Editors, Modern Fiction Studies
Purdue University
Department of English
500 Oval Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2038

Queries regarding this issue should be directed to Sandor Goodhart
( and Monica Osborne (


Monica Osborne
PhD Candidate, English
Jewish Literature and Thought
Purdue University
Editorial Assistant, Modern Fiction Studies

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Received on Sun Jan 28 2007 - 15:00:16 EST