Narration and Reflection

full name / name of organization: 
Christy Wampole / Compar(a)ison: An International Journal of Comparative Literature
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Compar(a)ison: An International Journal of Comparative Literature

A special issue on Narration and Reflection

guest edited by:
Stefano Ercolino (Freie Universität Berlin) and Christy Wampole (Princeton University)

In this special issue of Compar(a)ison, we seek to investigate the challenging relationship between narration and reflection, which seems to require thought and narrative to conform, respectively, to both the heuristic and rhetorical potential and strictures of mimesis and thinking. We invite contributions pertaining to literature and the visual arts. Possible lines of inquiry include:

•How does the language of reflection manifest itself literarily?
•In forms such as the essay and essayistic hybrids (the novel-essay, the exemplum in philosophical texts), how is thought subjected to the rules of narration?
•What is the relationship between literary form and knowledge?
•What did the "essayistic turn" of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century fiction signify for literary history and, particularly, for the history of the novel? How did such an essayistic turn affect the literary representation of modernity?
•How does narration deal with reflection that is image- rather than language-based? Are films better at narrating thoughts than literary prose?
•Does thought naturally conform to narrative norms? Do our thoughts organize themselves in the form of stories? Have time and convention trained us this way, or is narrative thought an anthropological characteristic?
•What are the limits of stream-of-consciousness literature? How does narration of reflection differ in "subjective" versus "objective" realism?
•How can the etymologies of "reflection" (re="back", flectere="to bend") and narration (gnarus="knowing") inform our thinking about both?
•Do some thoughts resist narration? What are the characteristics of such thoughts?
•What is the rhetorical gambit of a particular narrative style for depicting thoughts?
•What is the relationship between the thinking writer and the thinking reader?

Please send a 200- to 300-word abstract to Stefano Ercolino ( and Christy Wampole ( Length of final articles will be between 6,000 and 8,000 words. Deadline for final articles: Oct. 1, 2014. DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS: March 7, 2014