UPDATE: History and American Modernisms (9/18/05; NEMLA, 3/2/06-3/5/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Ben Railton
contact email: 

Please note deadline extension, to 9/18/05.

Modern History: Constructions of the Past in American Literary=20
Modernisms. What role did visions of history play in the formation of=20
and work by American modernist movements (Harlem Renaissance, Southern=20
Renaissance, expatriates, poets, leftists, etc)? How did writers such as =

Hughes, Ransom, Stein, Williams, and Le Seuer construct the past, and to =

what ends? All topics and approaches, including interdisciplinary ones,=20
welcome. E-mail 250-500 word abstracts to Ben Railton=20
<barailton_at_hotmail.com< by=20
September 18, 2005.

[For further possible inspiration, here's the write-up submitted to=20

            The varied artistic movements and groupings present on the=20
American literary scene in the 1920s and 30s, movements that could=20
collectively be thought to constitute American literary modernism, would =

seem to be so disparate as to defy any overarching thematic connections. =

How does one put the anthologies and poetry of the Harlem Renaissance in =

conversation with the literary magazine work of The Fugitives? What=20
meaningful common ground exists between the leftist writers of the 30s=20
and the poetics of Eliot and Pound? How do we pull the expatriates back=20
from the cafes of Paris and the streets of Pamplona and make them a part =

of this multivalent American moment? Certainly there are intersections=20
and links between individual artists or texts, but any attempt to find a =

shared subject would seem arbitrary at best and hopeless at worst.

            Yet this panel represents a preliminary attempt to provide=20
just such a subject: history. More exactly, I believe that each movement =

named above was centrally concerned with constructions of the past,=20
visions of American and world history and their relevance to the=20
movement's work and goals and future. From the African mythologies and=20
slave spirituals in The New Negro to the Fugitives' early fascination=20
with the Crusades and the Renaissance; the historical biographies and=20
headlines in U.S.A. to the multivocal historical referents of The Waste=20
Land; to the intersections of national myths and personal past in Stein=20
and Fitzgerald, the artists who constituted America's literary=20
modernisms were consistently and thoroughly in dialogue with and in=20
creation of constructions of the past. In this panel, we will consider=20
specifically a few such constructions, both for their own complex sake=20
and as a method of assessing the links between the varied movements that =
made up American literary modernism.

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Sat Sep 10 2005 - 12:39:27 EDT