UPDATE: Mapping the Victorian Novel (grad): (2/11/07; NACBS, 11/9/07-11/11/07)
Please note: This is a panel proposal for NACBS, not NAVSA as originally stated in the CFP. I apologize for any confusion.
We are seeking additional papers for a proposed (graduate student) panel at the
NACBS 2007 Conference in San Francisco.
Conference Dates: November 9-11, 2007
This panel proposes that the concept of mapping occupied a prominent place in
the Victorian consciousness and embodied the desire to translate disorderly
world experience into intelligibility. The need to map geographic, ideological,
and narrative spaces into understandable concretizations of reality was often an attempt to address more widely circulating concerns about the shifting nature of literature, society, and culture in a time when these fluctuating
categorizations threatened to upset the well-ordered nature of British
existence. Cultural cartography was symptomatic of British anxieties concerning
changing definitions of identity and category, and attempted to assuage these
fears by mapping print culture into recognizable narrative forms and genres,
championing the cognitive ability to make the world legible. However, these
systems of legibility and legitimacy were problematized by the structuration of
movement and novelty into modalities of understanding that strove to corroborate intelligibility as dominant literary and ideological practices. The act of mapping spaces simultaneously solidifies realities while also offering up the possibility for creative departure; what narratives subsist in the liminal space between the amorphous life experience and the reality of pen on paper?
*The first paper addresses issues of space and movement in Lewis Carroll's
"Through the Looking Glass," through a reading inflected by M. M. Bakhtin's
concept of the chronotope. Alice's ability to traverse this landscape is
closely related to her ability to map it, an act of visual mastery unavailable
to her in Wonderland. In Looking-Glass World, the more mature (and thus more
culturally adept) Alice engages in a form of cultural cartography that is
suggestive of the activities and viewing practices of many nineteenth-century
British travel writers. Alice's overt interest in issues of geography
necessitates an examination of the spatial aspects of this novel, which it is
the aim of this paper to provide.
*The second paper explores the narrative structure of Dickens' "Bleak House" to
examine Esther Summerson's role in mapping out both her narrative and her
identity. As both a character and a narrator Esther is afforded remarkable
authorial legitimacy in navigating her story and ultimately wrests narrative
control away from the omniscient narrator to map out a better understanding of
her character. This narrative mapping mirrors Dickens' own attempts to map out a space for himself as an author struggling to situate himself within literary
tradition while offering a text quite literally novel.
We look forward to receiving paper proposals that contend with any of the issues raised above. Please email jeo3_at_u.washington.edu or jlee33_at_u.washington.edu.
Please attach an abstract (.doc,.pdf) with the following by 2/11/07:
--Abstract of 300 words or less
--Please title your email "Panel Proposal"
Jamie Oldham and Jane Lee
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Received on Fri Feb 16 2007 - 19:38:14 EST