NeMLA Harrisburg, PA April 3-6, 2014 The Literature of Boredom

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Northeast Modern Language Association
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Call for proposals for a Comparative Language and Literature panel on "The Literature of Boredom" at NeMLA (Harrisburg, PA, April 3-6, 2014)

Schopenhauer calls boredom the 'malady of the modern age.' From medieval acedia to Baudelaire's ennui to postmodern novels such as David Foster Wallace's Pale King, boredom has been variously seen as capable of destroying the psyche of its victim or as a pathway to bliss. Can we connect the literature of boredom to changing historical or economic conditions, as Patricia Meyer Spacks does? To what extent is it generated by oppressive social structures? Papers on boredom as a context for literary production or as a literary theme are equally welcome. Please send 250-word abstracts on any time period or national literary tradition to Gillian Pierce, Boston University ( no later than September 30, 2013.