Modern Language Association Convention
Philadelphia, 27-30 December 2009
Sponsored by the Melville Society
Herman Melville: A Writer and his Books
What Harrison Hayford referred to as the "defiant anomalies of genre" in Melville's major works was largely the result of wide-ranging reading. Sponsored by the Melville society, this panel will examine how Melville's interest in an author, group of authors, or literary period influenced his fiction and poetry. How did Melville's engagement with different literary figures, movements and traditions (ie, renaissance drama, the picaresque adventure narrative, epic and dramatic poetry, British and European romanticism) inform his work? What rhetorical strategies emerged from his efforts to negotiate between literary works that sparked his artistic ambitions and literary works that served as models of saleable fiction? To what extent did his reading influence his efforts to make his poetry and fiction topically relevant to the political issues of the day (the allegory of Mardi, the polemics of White-Jacket and Redburn, the satire of The Confidence-Man, the reconstructive appeal of Battle-Pieces, etc.)? How did his study of literary criticism, art history and aesthetics influence his conception of poetry?
Please send two page proposals by March 15, 2009 to:
Dr. Peter Norberg,
Saint Joseph's University English Dept.
5600 City Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395.