Modernist Criticisms Saturday 7 June 2014
Our conceptions of modernism are not just informed by its literature. As is widely recognized, essays including Woolf's 'Modern Fiction' and Eliot's 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' provide these writers—and their readers—alternative methods of approaching literary questions and a wider arena within which to expound and explore their theories. But while the critical texts of these canonical figures are well known and studied, work by various minor figures of the period, and this work's engagement with their artistic concerns, is still frequently overlooked. Many kinds of writing remain marginalized within studies of modernist literature, including work for commercial publications and political movements, for educational instruction, and writing beyond the literary scenes of London and Paris. Research into early twentieth-century literary culture has stimulated important discussions surrounding the production and reception of modernist criticism, including the impact of publishing practices and the professionalization of intellectual pursuits. But this research prompts a need for further enquiry into how critical and creative writing in this period are mutually engaged with these cultural contexts in view.
This graduate conference aims to develop debates on the intersections between criticism and literature in modernist culture. It also aims to integrate recent research on the literary culture of modernism with the study of both canonical and non-canonical critical texts. Papers are especially welcome on marginal or marginalized critics and criticism. Submissions are invited on topics including but not limited to:
- creative practice as critical practice and vice versa
- modernist notions of taste, highbrow culture, the avant-garde
- critical audiences: universities, magazine readership, literary groups, the reading public, etc.
- British critical traditions: Hazlitt, Arnold, Pater, Eliot, Leavis, etc.
- the essay genre
- modernists criticizing modernists: factions, coteries and disputes
- critical localities: transatlantic and continental criticism, literary scenes, salons, etc.
- originality as an aesthetic criteria
- criticism as it in surfaces in other genres: letters, memoirs, life-writing, etc.
- the professional or dilettante critic
- modernist criticism relating to gender, class, race and sexual identities
- criticism, manifestos and artistic movements
- the influence of science, empiricism, sociology
- comparative and interdisciplinary critical practices
Abstracts of around 250 words in length for twenty-minute papers, along with a brief biographical note, should be submitted using the form on our website modernistcriticismsconference.wordpress.com by 7 March 2014.