CFP: [20th] MSAX: Modernist Humor (deadline 4/30)

full name / name of organization: 
Lauryl Tucker
contact email: 

Proposed Panel: Modernist Humor

Modernist Studies Association Conference (MSA-X: Modernism & Global Media)

November 13-16, 2008; Nashville, TN

The twentieth century opened upon two idiosyncratic attempts to describe
and theorize humor by very different writers, neither of whom is
primarily known to us as a theorist of the comic. Taking our cue from
Bergson's *Le Rire* (1899) and Freud's *Jokes and their Relation to the
Unconscious* (1905)--richly illuminating works themselves which bear very
different marks of modernity--we will explore the role of humor, jokes
and laughter in theories of modernism and in modernist texts. Critics
such as Lisa Colletta have begun to observe how much British modernism,
for instance, is informed by “dark humor,” but on the whole we have
tended categorically to filter the “funny” out of serious inquiries
into “modern.” Why this has been true is a potentially interesting
question for us, and here are several others: What does modernist humor
look like, and how does it work with and against the cult of difficulty?
Does humor carry a sustained political chargeâ€"subversive or conservativeâ€"
in modern texts? Is it gendered, and are we as critics predisposed to
look for it only in certain media or genres?

Please send abstracts of 500 words and a 100-word scholarly bio to Lauryl
Tucker at by April 30.

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Received on Sun Apr 13 2008 - 23:59:04 EDT