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Literature and Celebrity after World War II Panel (9/30/2014; 4/30-5/3 2015) NeMLA Toronto, Canada
full name / name of organization:
Bill Harrison / SUNY-Geneseo
Literature and Celebrity after World War II
This session seeks papers that investigate how the fluid the cultural tropes of literary celebrity (and, conversely, of the somewhat different literature of celebrity) can be understood within within a complex latticework of gendered, racialized, sexual, and national identities. Recent work (that is, since 2000) by Aaron Jaffe, Jonathan Goldman, Timothy Galow, Loren Glass, Faye Hammill, and Alexis Easley have done much to to focus attention on what Jaffe, by way of Fredric Jameson, terms an author’s ‘imprimatur’--that stylistic stamp that reifies the author’s artistic identity and converts it into a kind of literary celebrity. These studies often limit their attention to Victorian and ‘high’ Modernist Anglo-American authors (although Goldman and Jaffe’s collection, Modernist Star Maps , presents essays on both Beckett and Elvis, and Glass includes a chapter on Mailer): this panel will focus its analysis on more recent literature and culture and promote a scope beyond the cultures of Britain and America.
Hammill suggests that pre-war culture allows critics to historicize what is essentially an unstable concept of the ‘celebrity’ made more perplexing by the domination of the mass media (14-5). Issues of celebrity, then, parallel the tension between ‘high’ and popular writing is central to the nineteenth-century concept of the professional author or remap Huyssen’s ‘Great Divide’ simultaneously separating and bonding modernism and mass culture. This panel seeks to historicize its literary analysis as well, although it seeks new analytical paradigms to understand the pressures that mass media brought to the production of literature. ‘Literature and Celebrity after World War II’ encourages and promotes critical considerations of this problematization of celebrity, particularly as it manifests in comparative and transnational literatures.
Deadline for abstracts: September 30
This panel session is #15303.
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