Supernatural Creatures: from Elf-Shot to Shrek (September 22-24, 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
University of Lodz, Poland
contact email: 
lodz.fantastic.lit@gmail.com

The second Lodz Fantastic Literature Conference aims to bring together experts in folklore, medieval and early modern literature and culture as well as contemporary fantasy literature to explore the fascinating relationship between supernatural creatures and humankind. For centuries these creatures have been seen in both positive and negative light – sometimes as benevolent neighbours, many a time as dangerous folk to interfere with, at other times still as tricksters positioned outside of the traditional dichotomy of friend or foe. Their cultural presence is a force to be reckoned within the study of pre-modern, modern as well as post-modern literature, and the current fascination of popular culture with their history and nature begs ever new questions about why they continue to seem so indispensible to us.

We would like to invite contributions that address the nature and function of the beliefs of past eras, their postmodern transformations, and especially those which trace the (dis)continuities in the ways in which these creatures have been imagined and perceived over the ages. From medieval fairies through Tinker Bell to Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, from Fafnir to Glaurung or Smaug, the conference aims to investigate the nature of the undying fascination with the supernatural denizens of our (?) world by asking questions such as:
- how useful is it to speak of supernatural creatures in trying to capture their role in culture?
- what generic distinctions have traditionally been applied to classify them and how useful have they been?
- how has the perception of the relationship between them and us changed over time and how useful is it to juxtapose them and us in the first place?
- what cultural and historical forces have determined the thriving of some creatures in the human imagination to the point of sidelining others?
- how close to original beliefs is the presentation of these creatures in contemporary fantasy literature?
- can science-fiction literature be considered as a repository for these beliefs the way post-Tolkienian “sword & sorcery” is often seen to be?

We would like to encourage theoretical contributions that probe the issues mentioned above, but we are also looking forward to proposals of papers dealing with the presence of supernatural creatures in particular works of literature, or, in the modern context, film. While the focus of the conference is on the folklore and literature of the peoples of the British Isles and their immediate neighbours, including the Anglo-Saxons, the Celts and the Scandinavians, comparative analyses within the broad area of European folklore are also welcome.

Submissions of topics and abstracts (300-400 words) should reach the organisers no later than
January 31st, 2014.

For submissions and enquiries please contact the organisers at:
lodz.fantastic.lit@gmail.com

For detailed information please see:
www.filolog.uni.lodz.pl/engdrama/fantastic

cfp categories: 
classical_studies
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
film_and_television
interdisciplinary
medieval
popular_culture
renaissance
twentieth_century_and_beyond