Edited Collection PHILIP ROTH: TRANSATLANTIC PERSPECTIVES

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Velichka D. Ivanova
contact email: 
velichka.ivanova@iufm.unistra.fr

Abstracts due December 1, 2011 (500 words; please include contact info and short bio)
Final essays due by 10 August 2012 (4,000-5,000 words)

The editor of a contracted collection of essays titled PHILIP ROTH: TRANSATLANTIC PERSPECTIVES is seeking proposals for additional contributions for the remaining sections.

Philip Roth is a highly literary and referential writer. The essays collected in this volume will offer an assessment of the conflicting influences on his work by his American and European forebears William Faulkner, Stephen Crane, Henry James, Franz Kafka, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekov, Nikolai Gogol, the medieval English morality “The Summoning of Everyman,” among others.

From 1974 to 1989, Philip Roth was the General Editor of the Penguin Books paperback series “Writers from the Other Europe.” Roth selected titles, commissioned introductions, and oversaw publication of Eastern European writers relatively unknown to American readers. His literary relationship with these writers, however, has elicited little scholarly attention to date. The essays assembled in this volume attempt to fill this void by emphasizing the importance of Roth’s series for the introduction of these authors as well as his creative dialog with their work. Several chapters explore his relationship with the work of the Yugoslav author Danilo Kiš, of the Czech novelists Milan Kundera, Ludvik Vaculik, Bohumil Hrabal, of the Polish writers Bruno Schulz, Jerzy Andrzejewski, Tadeusz Borowski, and the Hungarian writer György Konrád. A special attention will be paid to Roth’s interviews with Milan Kundera and Ivan Klíma.

Various studies have interpreted Roth’s humor as typically Jewish. The essay dedicated to his comedy in this volume will explore it in its reference to the European tradition. Judicious writers have always practiced the art of contrast between the serious and the comic. The European novel began as a half-serious genre which merges both comedy and tragedy. In “Tom Jones” (1749), Fielding laid down the rules for the new genre defined as a “prosai-comi-epic writing.” Like his European forbears, Roth pursues this art with great success.

The numerous references to literature in Roth’s body of work show how important it is to establish the intellectual and cultural tradition in which he stands. This collection of essays will bring together a number of academic voices from different countries with the aim to reenact a dialog of critical readings with the texts and among themselves. The second goal of this book is to place Roth’s fiction in a larger transnational context.

Keywords

PHILIP ROTH, COMPARATIVE LITERATURE, INTERTEXTUALITY, NIKOLAI GOGOL, LEO TOLSTOY, ANTON CHEKOV, “WRITERS FROM THE OTHER EUROPE” SERIES, DANILO KIŠ, MILAN KUNDERA, BRUNO SCHULZ, BOHUMIL HRABAL, LUDVIK VACULIK, GYÖRGY KONRÁD, HENRY JAMES, FRANZ KAFKA

Contribution

The publication of a book of academic essays offering particularly a comparison between Philip Roth’s fiction and his American and European forebears and contemporaries will fill an academic void and will meet the needs of readers both academic and general. The transnational perspective of the book, with critical readings by European and American scholars, provides another compelling argument.

Chapter proposals that have already been accepted include analyses of Roth’s literary relationship with Sophocles’s “Oedipus the King,” the medieval English morality “The Summoning of Everyman,” the American Renaissance, Stephen Crane, William Faulkner, Lionel Trilling, Ivan Klíma, Aharon Appelfeld, and J.M. Coetzee.

The editor is particularly interested in comparative essays on the following topics:

1. Philip Roth’s comedy in its reference to the European tradition
2. Philip Roth and the nineteenth century Russian authors Gogol, Tolstoy and Chekhov
3. Philip Roth’s “Writers from the Other Europe” series and its importance for his fiction
4. Danilo Kiš’s “A Tomb for Boris Davidovich,” subtitled “seven chapters from the same story,” (1976, trans. 1980) and Philip Roth’s story/counterstory narrative technique in “The Counterlife” (1986)
5. Philip Roth’s literary relation with Milan Kundera. Kundera’s novels published in Roth’s series; the forewords they wrote for each other; their conversations in London and Connecticut; Kundera’s “Art of the Novel”; common themes and narrative techniques.
6. Philip Roth as editor of Bruno Schulz
7. Philip Roth as editor of the Czech writers Bohumil Hrabal, Milan Kundera, and Ludvik Vaculik
8. Henry James’s “The Aspern Papers” (1888) and Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” (1915) as Intertexts for “The Prague Orgy” (1985)

The editor has specific expectations and will be happy to discuss these chapters with potential contributors.

In order to make the contributions as consistent as possible, the editor is fully available to be contacted by e-mail. Please direct your inquiries, proposed chapter abstract (500 words) and brief biographical sketch with institutional affiliation to Dr. Velichka D. Ivanova (velichka.ivanova@iufm.unistra.fr) by December 1, 2011.

Selected contributors will be informed by December 15, 2011. Completed chapters of 4,000-5,000 words (works cited and endnotes included) will be required by August 10, 2012. Essays should follow the MLA style format (3rd Edition) and US spelling rules.

cfp categories: 
american
interdisciplinary
journals_and_collections_of_essays
twentieth_century_and_beyond