UPDATE: The New York Trilogy and the American Metropolis, 29th-30th June 2012 - Revised deadline for proposals: 6 APRIL 2012

full name / name of organization: 
University of Northampton, UK

The New York Trilogy and the American Metropolis

A two day conference at the University of Northampton (UK), 29th and 30th June 2012, in collaboration with the UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies and Critical Engagements journal

In 2012 it will be the 25th anniversary of the publication of Paul Auster's New Yok Trilogy as a single volume. The novel (let's call it that for now) has been the most critically examined of Auster's fourteen full-length fictions. The early reviews were wary of the text's postmodern indeterminacies, but subsequent academic enquiry has focused on the stories' postmodern concerns with identity, the metropolis, literary form and language. Criticism has also contemplated the novel's literary antecedents in Cervantes, Poe, Baudelaire, Hawthorne, Melville and Knut Hamsun, and its relationship to European modernism and philosophical concerns. A good deal of critical attention has focused on the postmodern instabilities of Auster's narrative structures and the relationship of his characters to their metropolitan environment.
Twenty five years on it is timely to re-consider both the influence of the novel and its critical legacy. We can now begin to place the text into its literary-historical context (of the metaphysical detective story, for example), to consider its trans-Atlantic exchange of ideas and styles, to locate the text within development of themes, styles and structures of Auster's body of prose work and his recent films, and to explore the text's representations of New York City. It is time, too, to consider the relationship of this early prose piece to Auster's even earlier poetic output; a body of work that he himself considers may be his best.
Key Note Speakers: TBC

A selection of papers from the conference will appear in a special issue of Critical Engagements.

Proposals can be for conference papers or for panels. Paper proposals should be no longer than 500 words, and panels should be constituted of 3 presentations. Final papers should be 20 minutes.

Please send any enquiries or proposals to mark.brown@northampton.ac.uk no later than 29 February 2012.

Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:

Modernism and Postmodernism in the Trilogy
American literary influences on Auster's work
The role of European philosophical ideas in the Trilogy
Auster and Beckett
The New York Trilogy and European aesthetic influence
Auster's translation work, his time in Paris and its effect on his aesthetic project
The reception of Auster's work in Europe, particularly France, Spain and Portugal
The New York Trilogy and New York City
Auster and urban fiction
Literary form and genre
Developments in Auster's poetry, non-fiction, fiction and film
Jewish American writing
Literature and memory