CFP: Brilliant Careers? Authorial Personae, Writing and Public Life (edited collection) Deadline for abstracts October 29th 2013
In his groundbreaking work Beginnings, (1975) Edward Said identified a key shift in the idea and practice of the literary career. Whereas in the pre-modern period the writing life was considered a vocation for which there were well-established models, the idea of the literary career that emerges in the late nineteenth century is experienced as an internal process for which there are no obvious blueprints. The modern author has to 'create not only his art but also the very course of his writings' (Said, 227). Despite lacking the framework of the poetic vocation, modern authors according to Said, resist the 'dispersion' of their writings into a 'bunch of scattered occasions' (234). They continued invested in the idea that their literary work should represent "a sequence of intelligible development not simply of accumulation" (Said, 235).
This collection of essays looks at the shape and diversity of literary careers in the 20th and 21st centuries. Building on and interrogating Said's ideas, we examine how authors and the cultural contexts in which they work create new norms for what a literary career should look like. The book is not yet under contract but has received significant interest from Palgrave.
To complement the chapters already in the collection, we invite proposals for essays on the following topics:
• The literary career in the digital era. How do contemporary phenomena such as e-book culture, self-publishing on the internet and crowdsourcing literature invite us to expand or rethink Said's concept of the literary career?
• The cultural meanings of literary failure and success. Interrogating judgments of failure with respect to authors such as Truman Capote and others whose careers that are perceived to be interrupted, unfinished or otherwise misaligned with implicit understandings of how authorial careers should proceed. How do the markers of failure and success shift across time and space?
• Connections between literary celebrity and literary career. Although there are obvious overlaps between the literary celebrity and literary career, they are not the same. Not all authors become celebrities, but every author must hew out a career path of their own. At times the growth of an author's celebrity may run counter to the shape of the author's literary career. We are interested in essays exploring the connections and tensions between celebrity and career.
Additionally we are especially interested in essays on American and British authors, again to complement the essays already included.
Please send abstracts (maximum 500 words) to Dr. Nicola Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) and a short author biography detailing publications, research interests and institutional affiliation by Monday October 28, 2013