The Sentimental Worlds of Ray Bradbury (MLA, 9-12 January 2014, Chicago), Deadline 3/8/2013

full name / name of organization: 
Adam Lawrence and Andrea Krafft
contact email: 

Ray Bradbury was writing science fiction during the infancy of the genre and gained mainstream popularity during the 1950s. However, even today, when so many science fiction giants like Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Heinlein have been celebrated in critical studies and articles, Bradbury remains on the margins of academia.

One of the reasons for Bradbury's marginality is that his writing is often categorized as sentimental fantasy. As Thomas Disch says of Bradbury in On SF, "his imagination so regularly gets mired in genteel gush and self-pity." Other scholars have critiqued Bradbury for his focus on small-town life, claiming that he does not examine relevant social and political issues.

This panel seeks submissions that recuperate Ray Bradbury from the closet of sentimentality and simplicity, and demonstrate the value and sophistication of his fiction. Possible topics and questions might include, but are not limited to:

•Bradbury's treatment of children as subjects for his fiction
•Folktale / fairy tale themes in Bradbury's stories
•Bradbury's representations of domestic life and small-town America
•Bradbury's use of popular genres
•Bradbury's celebration of imagination and a sense of wonder
•Where and when does sentimentality come into play in Bradbury's stories?

Please submit a 300-word abstract for a 20-minute presentation along with a 1-2 page C.V. to Adam Lawrence and Andrea Krafft ( by March 8, 2013. Please indicate any a/v requirements.

PLEASE NOTE: This CFP is for a proposed, not a guaranteed, special session for the 129th annual MLA convention. This panel is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee (which will make its decisions after April 1). All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than 7 April 2012.