Cycles, Recueils, Macrotexts: Theorizing the Short Story Collection - Leuven, Belgium - May 23-24, 2012

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University of Leuven, Belgium

The aim of this conference is to map and critically assess different theoretical approaches to the interlinking of short stories in a collection. Within the Anglo-American critical tradition, the dominant critical frame is that of the short story cycle (although several rival terms have been coined, such as short story sequence, composite novel, or short story composite), while in the Francophone tradition, the short story cycle has been linked to a broader variety of genres and forms of textual organization. In yet other contexts, such as Italian semiotics, short story collections have been analysed as "macrotexts" (macrotesto). These different traditions, however, find themselves faced with similar issues such as the tension between unity and diversity and the rhetorical and stylistic features associated with it; the link with magazine publication and serialisation; the relation between formal features and interpretation; the generic status of the short story cycle/collection and its relation to the novel on the one hand, and the short story on the other. This conference seeks to address these questions both through theoretical reflection and through the exploration of concrete case studies from different literary traditions. A secondary aim of this conference, hence, is to map the historical development of the collection of interlinked stories in different languages and traditions from around 1850 to the present day.
Papers are invited which either address these and similar questions from a theoretical perspective or seek to apply and test a particular theoretical approach to a given literary text and tradition.

Plenary Speakers: René Audet (Université Laval); Rolf Lundén (Uppsala University)

The conference is hosted by the K.U.Leuven department of Literary Studies, the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies (LCIS) and the research network OLITH. It will take place in the newly refurbished Irish college in Leuven (the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe).
Papers may be delivered in either English or French and should not exceed 2500-3000 words (20 minutes' delivery). Proposals for papers (250 words) should be sent by e-mail to Elke D'hoker ( and Bart Van den Bossche (, by January 10, 2012. More information about the conference will be posted on .