Fragmented Forms in the Eighteenth Century - ASECS 2013 - April

full name / name of organization: 
Rachel Schneider

Recent decades have made the eighteenth-century a bit more piecemeal. Emerging online databases, digital humanities scholarship, and distant or "close but not deep" reading practices has made it possible for scholars to discover and examine how the eighteenth century expressed itself in fragmentary terms. Critics like Inger Sigrun Brodey, Sandro Jung, and Leah Price have explored how fragmentary forms responded to and impacted aesthetics of ruin, national instability, and period reading practices. Following on excellent discussions at the 2012 ASECS panels on Form and Eighteenth-Century Studies, this panel invites work that not only reconsiders seemingly unformed genres, such as the fragment, but also what we mean when we discuss say formal or formalist reading practices.

This panel calls for new considerations of fragmentary form in the eighteenth century—an era previously celebrated for monumental forms like the novel—as well as theoretical conceptions of what it means to read unfinished or fragmented texts. Papers are encouraged to extend beyond reading fragments as metaphors to discussing their status as embodied objects. This panel welcomes broad or theoretical interventions into histories of reading practices, paratexts, and textual studies, as well as reconsiderations of specific texts or authors.

Anybody interested in proposing a paper should send a 250-word abstract to Rachel Schneider at