Modernist Historiography (deadline April 20) (MSA 12, Nov 11-14, 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Seamus O'Malley, Ph.D. Candidate, CUNY Graduate Center

Modernist Historiography

The modern era saw a shift in society's views of history, as history began to be seen as circular, degenerative, utopian, etc. There was also a related, but distinct, shift in how histories were written, as the professionalization of the discipline of history intensified and creative writers made the writing of history new.

This panel will explore the relationship between modernist writing and historiography. It will focus less on historical events, or how history has shaped literature, than on history's signifiers, the narratives and texts we generate to depict historical objects. It will ask the questions, What would a modernist work of history look like? If the same experimental techniques of fiction and poetry were applied to history, do the results live up to the ethical and social demands of historiography? Do works of modernism provide any model for contemporary historians in search of new forms?

Topics might include:
*The modernist historical novel
*Modern novels about historians or historical storytellers(Henry James's Sense of the Past, H.G. Wells's Mr. Britling Sees it Through, Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom, etc.)
*Narrative versus non-narrative works of modernist history
*The interaction of memory and history (as in the works of Proust or Ford Madox Ford, for example)
*Critiques of academic historiography (such as those embedded in Pound's Cantos)
*Works of history that may have been influenced or informed by works of modernism (Carlo Ginzburg's microhistories, postmodern experimental histories, documentaries, etc.)

Please send a 300-word abstract and a brief biographical statement to by April 20.