"Righting" and "Re-Writing" Wrongs" ACLA Annual Meeting April 1-4, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Deborah Donig/ ACLA
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Each new textual creation is in some way a reflection or mimesis. All literary creations are beholden to some narrative ancestor, some antecedent form, some prior idea. Our knowledge of the present moment, and our ability to tell of it, relies on how — and whether — past narratives were constructed. Stories depend on the stories that were told before them.

This is doubly the case with the sequel; for the offspring owes its very genesis directly to its predecessor, from which the sequel must then draw its cues.

This seminar seeks to examine attempts by contemporary authors to renegotiate or amend — "right" — the past by "rewriting" — reinterpreting, rethinking, reworking or opposing these canonical texts. Significantly, each responsive "rewriting" must also partially reproduce the same epistemic violence within the canon that it seeks to "right" and 'rewrite." How then does then author of the literary rewriting re-present the violence embedded within the canon without replicating this same violence?

This seminar is particularly concerned with how the author of a re-writing responds to non-representation within the canon. How to re-write a voice that is mute in the first place? How to "write" and "right" those who have been written-out of the canon? Finally, can the mimic text mock or even menace its forbearer?

Can the literary rewriting "right" a past of wrongs embedded within narrative? How do such authors negotiate a body of canonical literature in which such wrongs are embedded? And to what ends, with what result?

Deadline for Paper Proposals: November 23, 2009

Please submit papers through this seminar listing on the ACLA website: