Crisis and Imagination After Poe; ACLA Convention at Brown University; March 29-April 1

full name / name of organization: 
Emron Esplin/ Kennesaw State University
contact email: 

"Crisis and Imagination After Poe"

In his 1957 monograph, Poe: A Critical Study, Edward Davidson claims that "Poe was a 'crisis' in the Romantic and the symbolic imagination." In this seminar, we hope to examine how and why this "crisis" has had such a lasting impact on world literature and thought. Why have translators, writers, and artists from a myriad of linguistic traditions and political backgrounds continually returned to Poe? How and why have both Poe's work and fame helped to resolve crisis in literary systems, evolve criticism, or dissolve stifled folio clubs? Is this widespread influence connected to Poe's tendency to depict crises—e.g. the conundrums of his detective tales, the mental breakdowns of his confessional narrators, the ruins of both buildings and bodies strewn throughout his literary corpus?

We also recognize the real and detrimental effects of the current financial crisis on both physical sites and academic journals that support the study of Poe. The Baltimore Poe House and Museum and the journal Poe Studies are both under the threat of losing funding in 2012. We hope that this seminar demonstrates, yet again, that the study of Poe is very much alive and that local governments and state university systems should continue to fund the venues which enable the advancement and dissemination of scholarly work on Poe.

Paper topics could include:
*Crisis, evasion, or vision in Poe's work
*Comparative readings of Poe alongside various world writers
*Examinations of Poe translations in any language and/or comparisons of translations of Poe
*Analyses of Poe's influence on literary, philosophical, or critical discourses in any linguistic and/or national tradition

This CFP is for the upcoming convention of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) held from March 29-April 1, 2012 at Brown University. ACLA's annual convention uses a seminar format in which 8-15 participants meet together for 2-3 days to share their papers. To submit a paper, go to the ACLA website at, click on the Brown University (2012) link under ACLA Annual Meeting, click on Propose a Paper, then fill out the proposal form and make sure to select "Crisis and Imagination After Poe" in the Seminar drop box. The deadline for submissions is November 15.

If you are doing work on Poe from an international angle, on Poe and translation, or on imagination/crisis in Poe we would enjoy receiving your submissions. Also, if you have questions about this seminar, feel free to email me directly at