History and Contemporary Literature, Synthesis e-journal, Vol 5 Submission deadline 1 December 2010
Vol. 5 (2012)
Call for papers
History and Contemporary Literature
Christine Harrison and Angeliki Spiropoulou (issue editors)
The 'turn to history', witnessed in both literary studies and literature since the 1980s, has ensued in part from new developments in the theory of history itself, which have stressed the relevance of literature for history and the affinity of historiography with fictional narration, long suppressed by historiography's traditional empirical status and positivist claim to truth (c.f. the groundbreaking work of Hayden White and Paul Ricoeur, as well as that of Michel Foucault, Stephen Greenblatt and Dominick LaCapra, for example). The turn to history has, inversely, also derived from an acknowledgement of the need to take into account the historicity of the historiographical, literary and critical acts. Fredric Jameson, for example, contributed to the elaboration of a sophisticated notion of historicity in the field of literary studies in the early 80s, and at much the same time there also appeared 'new historicist' and 'cultural materialist' trends, inspired by diverse history-based theoretical paradigms.
Simultaneously, and related to the above developments, there has emerged a trend within literature itself of evoking historical epochs, personages and texts of the past, culminating in what Linda Hutcheon has called with reference to fiction 'historiographical metafiction', namely a set of texts which exhibits a concern with the historical past and with issues of historiography while retaining an acute language consciousness and a leaning to formal experimentation. Even more recently, over the past decade, both historicist models of criticism and established theorizations of new historical literature have been challenged for some of their presumptions. However, historical literature, and especially fiction, continues to dominate the literary production of the twenty-first century in forms and for reasons that need exploring as they may point to yet newer directions in both literature and the conceptualization of the relationship between history and literature.
We invite contributions that engage with the modes in which contemporary fiction, poetry and drama address, employ and revise history and historiographical practices, and/or discuss new critical trends and theoretical approaches to literature and history. Possible topics include, but are not restricted to:
• New trends and subjects of historiographical representation in contemporary poetry, fiction, drama (e.g., gender and topographical approaches; interrogations of particular historical periods, methodologies and mythologies; challenges to divides between the literary/popular and private/public; contemporary historical literature and realism, modernism, postmodernism)
• Revisions of literary history, the literary canon and traditional literary genres
(e.g., the historical novel, historical drama, gothic romance)
• New directions in historical literature and critical approaches since 2000
• National/regional contemporary historical literature
• Re-writings of colonial history and the history of the European periphery (Balkan, Mediterranean) through literature
• Memory, auto/biography, visual material and contemporary literature
• Historical fantasies and utopias of the future
• The past-present dialogue in contemporary theory and literature
• New challenges to recent historicist models and critical taxonomies of contemporary historical literature
Detailed proposals (800-1,000 words) for articles of 6,000- 7,000 words, a short bio (up to 300 words) as well as all inquiries regarding this issue, should be sent to both guest editors: Christine Harrison at and Angeliki Spiropoulou at .
1 December 2010 submission of abstracts
1 February 2011 notification of acceptance
1 October 2011 submission of articles