Serious Play in the Political Novel (Midwest Modern Language Association, Nov. 3-6, 2011, St. Louis)

full name / name of organization: 
Samuel Cohen, University of Missouri
contact email: 

This already accepted special session--organized for the 53rd Annual Meeting of the MMLA, whose informal theme is "Play... No, Seriously"--will consist of papers exploring the ways in which fiction writers, when turning to the political, have made use of those resources available to novelists and short story writers interested in non-realistic, non-traditional, experimental, difficult—playful—forms and modes. While traditionally (and reductively) conceived "realism" has often been assumed to be the default mode for the politically engaged fiction-writer, we will examine those works that have taken alternative approaches. Among the array of questions our panelists might ask: How can writers engage the political? How have politically committed works used the resources of non-realistic narrative? How have particular historical circumstances motivated such narratives? How have such narratives responded to more general political truths?

Send brief abstract and CV to by June 1.