MMLA Panel on Literary Criticism: LITERARY CELEBRITY (Abstracts due by 15 May 2014)
Where is the discourse presently located surrounding literary celebrity? What are critics saying about literary celebrity and what does this phenomenon mean to these scholars? How do critical assessments of literary celebrity determine what authors get read and how we read their work? This panel will consider how scholars are assessing authorial fame today. Are their analyses biographical, materialist, formalist, feminist, queer, sociological? How do critics contextualize literary celebrity? Through social or political movements, popular culture, literary periods, national or geographical spaces (thinking here about this year's theme of "the living city")? And what do these critical methodologies tell us about the meaning of literary celebrity? How do these approaches affect the ways in which we read celebrity authors? In asking these questions, we might think about texts such as Loren Glass' Authors Inc. or Lorraine York's Margaret Atwood and the Labour of Literary Celebrity, among others. Panelists are encouraged to think about the possibilities, problems, meanings, and politics to be found in these methodologies and what they tell us about literary celebrity and the literature we read.