CFP: [Victorian] Fictions of Female Adolescence 1880-1930 NeMLA 10/7; 4/10-4/13

full name / name of organization: 
Rita Bode
contact email: 
rbode@trentu.ca

NeMLA Conference 2008, Buffalo, N.Y, April 10 –13.

Fictions of Female Adolescence: 1880-1930

    While the young adult novel as a distinct genre is generally seen as
emerging after the publication of J. D. Salinger’s _Catcher in the Rye_ in
1951, fiction about and for adolescents has a long literary tradition
reaching back to the previous century. This panel seeks to examine late
19th and early 20th century predecessors of the contemporary young adult
novel with the aim of exploring and expanding what constitutes this
category and challenging some of the social and cultural assumptions that
inform our views of adolescence, the assumption, for instance, according
to Michael Cart, that adolescence did not exist before the 1930s: “the
very idea of young adulthood as a separate and distinct part of life’s
progress from cradle to grave became a part of the public
consciousness . . . not . . . until well into the Great Depression of the
1930s” [“YA Literature” in Bernice E. Cullinan, et al, eds. _Continuum
Encyclopedia of Young Adult Literature_ (2006)]
     The panel seeks proposals on fiction written for and/or about girls
and young women between the ages of approximately 15 and 22, published
between approximately 1880 and 1930. This 50 year period, spanning the
turn of one century into another, saw significant changes in the social
attitudes toward the female sex. Does the emergence of the New Woman in
the 1890s and other emerging social changes of the time find its way into
the fiction involving female adolescence as it does into mainstream
literature? Does the literature of female adolescence evince subversions
of the status quo? If it toes the line of 19th-century social norms for
females, does it begin to fall behind the times? Where do these works fit
in with the literary movements of their time, with realism, naturalism and
literary modernism? The panel is open to works from America, Britain,
Australia, Canada, and transnational approaches are also welcome. Please
send 1-2 page proposals and a brief biography by October 7th to Rita Bode:
rbode_at_trentu.ca.

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Received on Thu Aug 23 2007 - 16:47:52 EDT

cfp categories: 
victorian