The Great War and Modern Literature (MLA Special Session 2014 [Jan. 9-12] ; proposals by March 1, 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
Marguerite Helmers
contact email:

I invite proposals for a special session at the 2014 MLA Convention in Chicago (January 9-12, 2014). As the centenary of the First World War approaches in 2014, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the significance of the Great War to literature, particularly its role in fiction published from 1970 to the present. The war is either taken as the subject of or figures into works by Pat Barker, Sebastian Barry, Sebastian Faulks, Mark Helprin, Alan Hollinghurst, Michael Morpurgo, Charles and Caroline Todd, and Jacqueline Winspear, among many others. Considerations of gender, class, and race are opportune, as well as perspectives drawn from animal studies. Proposals that address the 2014 convention theme Vulnerable Times are particularly welcome. How do recent works of fiction treat the mutability and vulnerability of life—human lives, animal lives, and the life of the environment? In what ways can imaginative literature promote social change? In what ways does modern fiction of the Great War participate in acts of national and collective memory? While the MLA has not yet approved this session, potential panelists must be MLA members by 7 April 2013.

Submission requirements:
250 word abstract, 1 page CV.

Submission Deadline:
Abstract: 1 March 2013

cfp categories: 
modernist studies