1912 - 2012: New Perspectives on 100 years of French Modernism

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Mark Andrew Hall / Ithaca College
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2012 Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)

March 15 – 18, 2012
Rochester, NY

Although the year 1913 is often cited as the annus mirabilis of European modernism, the preceding year of 1912 should not be overlooked. With the summer publication of Blaise Cendrars's "Les Pâques," later rechristened "Les Pâques à New York," French literature sets off in radical new directions, both literally and figuratively. Later that same year and just ahead of the release of his first major collection, Guillaume Apolliniare, newly inspired and no doubt eager not to be outdone, offers an Old World response to Cendrars's New World confessional with the publication of "Zone," a sprawling yet disarmingly intimate poem that guarantees Apollinaire's position at the head of the avant-garde. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Beijing, Victor Segalen publishes Stèles, a quiet collection of Chinese-inspired monument inscriptions that combines the Eastern and the Western, the verbal and the visual in such subtle and surprising ways that it forces us to reconsider the extent to which modernism can be considered a purely continental affair. Looking back across the century that has lapsed, 1912 emerges, in fact, as the year in which French modernism first reaches out into the world and announces the perspectives its adherents promise to explore. 100 years after its inception, however, our conception of French modernism remains rather murky, especially when considered from the new perspectives opened by our current vantage looking back.

This panel will revisit and explore French modernism from a variety of perspectives in order to reevaluate our relationship to modernism and its continued relevance. Papers are invited on any aspect of that addresses modernism in the French context, especially those that take a broadly comparative approach, whether between authors, genres, media, traditions, cultures, or critical perspectives. Please send abstracts (250 - 300 words in English or French) to Mark Andrew Hall (Ithaca College), mhall@ithaca.edu.

Deadline: September 30, 2011.