New Formalism, Neo-Formalism, and the Reassessment of Form, Tropes, and Genre (10/21-22/2010)

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Ghent University
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New Formalism, Neo-Formalism, and the Reassessment of Form, Tropes, and
Genre in Contemporary Literary Scholarship

English Department, University of Ghent, Belgium, 21-22 September 2010

The (re)turn to formalistic analyses of texts and contexts in terms of tropes and genres and the realisation on scholars' part of the need to negotiate a historicised formalism and argue for a theoretical framework of a "New Formalism" or "Neo-Formalism" have culminated in a recent invigorated engagement with a field that seemed to have been supplanted by New Historicist approaches to context rather than formal meaning. Drawing on the principles of early twentieth-century formalist critiques, the New Formalism or Neo-Formalism utilises, among many others, theoretical tools such as gender studies, Genette's work on paratexts and hypotexts, as well as an historicised account of structure and formalised strategies that help to highlight not only the achievement of the literary piece of art but also shed light on the conditions and mechanisms of its production. Still in the process of being theorised, New Formalism or Neo-Formalism is no consistent or coherent system for the analysis of textual structures and patterns, nor does it constitute an approach that is limited by predefined critical paradigms.

The purpose of the proposed conference is to contribute to defining, discussing, and articulating a theory or theories of Neo-Formalism. To do this, the organiser invites 25-minute papers on any aspect of the subject, including case studies of neo-formalistic analyses of texts. Suggestions for panels and complete panels are also welcome.

It is hoped that there will be at least two round-table discussions of specific genres and neo-formalist approaches. Professor Fredric Bogel, of Cornell University, has agreed to deliver the plenary address. A selection of expanded versions of papers delivered at the conference will be published in a special issue of *English Studies* (Routledge/ Taylor and Francis).

Please submit 300-word proposals, preferably by email, in Word or RTF attachments to Prof. Dr. Sandro Jung, English Department, Rozier 44, B - 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Email:

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 20 August 2010