MSA 15 -- Postmodern Literature and the Modernist Event (March 11, 2013; Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
Modernist Studies Association 15
contact email: 
cmwalter@umd.edu

This panel is interested in the politics of modernism's gravitational pull within postmodern and contemporary literature. Modernism does more than supply the chronological or formal coordinates for a wide range of much later writers. Its relation to the present is a persistent field of concern--one that turns modernism itself into an event that must be continually revisited and rearticulated. The event of modernism has become the subject of a sprawling nostalgia industry and also the setting for a critique of that industry, in literature ranging from Zadie Smith's _On Beauty_ to Enrique Vila-Matas' _Dublinesque_, from Ian McEwan's _Atonement_ to Monique Truong's _The Book of Salt_. This panel will explore the varied politics negotiated through modernism's eventfulness. What modernist scenes--whether formal, fictional, or historical--is contemporary literature drawn to? What theories of history or historiography are created by this literature’s time travels? How do these accounts of the past engage questions of development, nostalgia, and perspective? And how are these concepts brought to bear on modern, postmodern, and contemporary politics? What pitfalls may come of this backward glance and how might it intersect key modernist strategies, from the desire for classicism and the mythic to the rupturing directive to "make it new"?

The panel currently includes one paper considering liberalism and queer politics in Kazuo Ishiguro's _The Remains of the Day_. I am seeking papers that explore other texts (whether fiction, drama, or poetry) and also other national, transnational, or global frameworks. Please submit a 250-word abstract and a CV to Christina Walter (cmwalter@umd.edu) by Monday, March 11.

cfp categories: 
international_conferences
modernist studies