CFP: Contemporary U.S. Fiction's Use of Pop Genres (3/20/07; MLA '07)

full name / name of organization: 
Josh Lukin
contact email: 

Genre-Poaching in Literary Fiction: Papers sought for a proposed special
session at MLA 2007 (Chicago, 27 â€" 30 December) addressing contemporary American
"literary fiction" that co-opts elements of popular genres.

Despite the best efforts of many postmodern novelists, the literary/popular
divide in fiction remains evident in book marketing, journalism, scholarship,
and indeed the views of artists themselves. This panel will address works that
have been shelved, reviewed, and studied in the realm of literary fiction but
whose authors use tropes, themes, and ideas explicitly drawn from genres such as
science fiction, detective fiction, romance novels, tv, and superhero comics.
Is such co-optation destined to be condescending, reactionary, or nostalgic; or
is it potentially generative of new literary forms and approaches? What can we
learn by studying its genealogy? What do the authors have to say about the
reprobate status of the forms they’re drawing from?

Possible topics: Jonathan Lethem and superheroes (Fortress of Solitude, Men and
Cartoons), Ana Castillo and romance novels (Peel My Love like an Onion) or
telenovelas (So Far from God), Paul Auster and detective fiction (The New York
Trilogy), Jennifer Egan and Gothic fantasy (The Keep), Colson Whitehead and noir
suspense (The Intuitionist), Cormac McCarthy and science fiction (The Road).
Connections to scholarship on postmodern fiction (Brian McHale, Linda Hutcheon,
Joseph Tabbi, Leslie Fiedler) welcome, but any other critical apparatus may be
of equal interest.

Abstracts to Josh Lukin ( by 20 March.

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Received on Sun Feb 04 2007 - 13:55:20 EST