Reshaping Change: The Language and Literature of Opportunity (ACLA 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association, Brown University, March 29 - April 1 2012
contact email: AND

Aristotle's Poetics defines complex action in tragedy as a change accompanied by reversal or recognition, or both. Given this definition, is change then not a requirement of literature? Even in the Nouveau Roman, change is provided by an unexpected outlook and by stylistic choices in the writing itself. Change is often and legitimately equated to crisis or catastrophe, but may also be seen as a critical element of Literature–in Aristotle’s view inherently so. A literary work develops through change, its interpretation by character or reader, and is thus assumed into or by the narrative. The imagination is fed by change. This seminar investigates how literary works represent change in a way that reinterprets or avoids catastrophe. This seminar welcomes papers on any literary genre or period (for example, change in the moral novels of the Long 18th Century, or the modernist experimentations of the 20th Century). How do variations in plot, character, rhythm, style, and/or grammar represent opportunities for restoration or innovation? Without only depending on psychological interpretations, what does change offer?

Possible Topics Include:
- Mythic figures including Persephone, Proteus, the phoenix
- Growth and developing consciousness
- Language as change
- Narrative style
- Metamorphoses and transformations
- Humor, as a voice of change or a call to change, as in satire
- Shifts from authorial early style to late style
- Transformation from ignorance to knowledge
- Labyrinths
- Adaptations and Interpretations
- Remnants and grafts
- Assimilation as a form of change

Please submit your abstract of approximately 300 words, by November 15th to AND

cfp categories: 
modernist studies