CFP: [American] Hawthorne and the Ethical; NeMLA (10/7; 4/10-4/13

full name / name of organization: 
Sean Kelly
contact email:

Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Ethical

NeMLA, 39th Annual Convention. April 10-13, Buffalo, NY

This panel will examine the question of the ethical in the works of
Nathaniel Hawthorne from multiple theoretical and philosophical
perspectives and within the historical context of the author’s career.
If, as Hawthorne claims in the preface to The House of the Seven Gables,
he is not interested in “relentlessly . . . impal[ing] the story with its
moral, as with an iron rod” (2), do evasiveness, ambiguity, and
ambivalence constitute an ethical stance? Is it possible to identify a
coherent ethical position in Hawthorne’s works or should we view his works
as a field of hypothetical contested ethical responses? And, given such
stories as “The Minister’s Black Veil,” “Wakefield,” and “The Birthmark,”
which each seem to offer a view of the radical failure of relation to the
other/neighbor, what value do notions such as the obscene, the impossible,
the disgusting, and the uncanny hold in the broader ethical horizon of
Hawthorne’s fiction? We are particularly interested in papers that
consider how the aesthetic form of the Romance itself constitutes an
ethical response to the problem of the individual’s relation to the other,
first of all, at the scene of a reading. Please email 250-word abstracts
to Sean Kelly,, by October 7th, 2007.

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Received on Tue Aug 21 2007 - 23:33:45 EDT

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