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DURRELL SCHOOL OF CORFU
‘THE WRITER’S REPUTATION: GENDER, TIME, GEOGRAPHY’
Corfu, Greece, 3-8 June 2007
The Durrell School of Corfu will host an international seminar on ‘The
Writer’s Reputation: Gender, Time, Geography’ at its Library and Study
Centre, 3-8 June 2007.
The reputation of a writer is affected by many factors. For example, it is
common for a writer’s reputation to suffer a decline in public interest and
appreciation after his/her death. Such a reputation may be enhanced in later
years by the renewal of critical interest.
Some writers seem to hold critical and public attention permanently – the
aura of Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Jane Austen, for example, is seldom
in question. Others – far too many to name* - seem to enter long-term or
permanent oblivion even though they may have been critical and popular
successes in their lifetime, including several winners of the Nobel Prize.
Additionally, the work of groups of writers (first world war poets, Irish
writers of the 1930s and 1940s) may move in and out of public attention, the
academic curriculum, et cetera.
Some writers attract a readership not only on account of the quality of
their writing and its critical reception, but also due to their
idiosyncracies, most notably those who shun publicity (e.g. Pynchon,
Prokosch) and equally those who espouse it (e.g. Tom Wolfe, David Foster
Wallace, William T. Vollmann).
The factors influencing the reputation of a writer include:
- public knowledge of the writer
- agents’ promotion of the writer
- publishers’ promotion of the writer
- media attention
- a writer’s choice of subject, viewed over time
- critical reception of the work (including the prejudices of review
- access to wider markets through translation, etc. (especially in the case
of writing in ‘minority languages’) and through generic and new media
- the perceived persona of the writer
- the emergence and influence of differentiated reading publics and niche
- the development of literary institutions e.g. literary prizes, academic
creative writing workshops.
Some questions to be asked are:
- how does a writer acquire a ‘reputation’?
- how does a writer lose his/her ‘reputation’?
- how does a writer’s reputation rise and fall, or fall and rise, during
- what affects a writer’s presence or absence in the academic curriculum?
- to whom does the writer address his/her work in order to attract an
- what is the correlation between popular reputation and academic
canonisation? Is there often a significant divergence between the two?
- how is reputation altered through periodic critical revaluation
(especially of an ideological kind, e.g. Marxist or feminist or
- is it possible that a writer can enjoy a ‘reputation’ even though s/he is
not actually read?
- how big and vital a role does translation play in promoting and
propagating the reputation of a writer? How does translation affect the
reputation of a writer not only in the Target Language (TL) but also in the
Source Language (SL)?
The subtitle of this seminar – ‘Gender, Time, Geography’ – will allow
participants to discuss, in addition to the growth and decline of a writer’s
reputation over a period of time, whether the writer’s gender (and attitude
to gender) and geographical location can positively or negatively affect the
way his/her reputation is constructed.
The seminar will be moderated by Aaron Jaffe (University of Louisville,
author of Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity) and Harish Trivedi
(University of Delhi, author of Colonial Transactions: English Literature
Proposals (2 pages maximum), together with the author’s CV, should reach the
Durrell School by 1 February 2007 (durrells_at_otenet.gr).
Presentations will be limited to 30 minutes each, with another 30 minutes
allocated for discussion by participants includingresident faculty and the
Full texts of accepted presentations must be received by the DSC by 1 May
2007 in electronic form, to facilitate circulation to all participants in
advance. The papers should not be read at the seminar, but spoken to, since
they will have been read by participants before the seminar opens.
A selection of papers will be published as part of the DSC’s Proceedings.
The registration fee for the seminar will be 300 euros for participants (to
include costs of field classes) and 350 euros for those who wish to take
part in the discussions but who do not wish to present papers.
The authors of accepted proposals will be asked to give the DSC an assurance
that they have secured adequate funding to enable them to take up the places
offered to them.
The DSC cannot be responsible for any costs associated with travel or
accommodation. Intending participants should consult the DSC website
(www.durrell-school-corfu.org) for details of accommodation available in
A limited number of scholarships is available: in the first instance,
contact the Administrative Director at: durrells_at_otenet.gr.
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Mon Oct 09 2006 - 11:48:21 EDT