MMLA 2013 Special Session (Proposed): Is the Artist Present?: Post-Modern Conceptions of the Author (Milwaukee; Nov. 7-10, 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
W Brett Wiley (MVNU)
contact email: 

In Marina Abramović's retrospective show at MOMA entitled The Artist Is Present, she invited visitors to sit silently across from her for as long as they chose. In this way, she was "present" in more ways than one: being present was her piece, she was present in her piece, and she presented her piece all simultaneously. This performance and the title of the show raise questions about the role of the artist in contemporary art.

These same questions are relevant to contemporary fiction. From the intentional fallacy to the death of the author, the writer, seemingly, has been disappearing for decades. And yet, in post-modern fiction, the author has, at times, reappeared. Zadie Smith creeps into White Teeth to comment on the plot. Jose Saramago self-consciously intrudes upon the action of Death With Interruptions. What has caused this aberration? Is the author suddenly present, sitting in the room, as it were, across the table from us as we read? And if so, what are the implications of this presence? Has the author been resuscitated, resurrected, or at least propped up in apparent lifelikeness?

This is a proposed special session for the 2013 M/MLA in Milwaukee. Please send abstracts and brief vita to Dr. Brett Wiley at by Feb. 28, 2013.