CFP: Discovering Literature While Teaching (1/18/06; 5/25/06-5/28/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Daniel L. Manheim
contact email: 

Discovering Literature while Teaching


"Long after the professor had come to doubt whether lives held crucial points as often as the men conducting or undergoing them imagined, he still considered that one day in early spring had made a difference for him. The day began his deeper-deepest-acquaintance with 'Lycidas,' now for him the chief poem of the world. . . . The day had humbled him and tossed him confidence."


So begins John Berryman's story "Wash Far Away," about transformative discoveries that can occur while teaching a work of literature one thinks one knows perfectly well. Berryman's story is a lightly fictionalized account of an unnamed professor realizing his own losses during an increasingly out-of-hand discussion of Milton's poem; but many have had the experience of teaching familiar material only to discover its lingering unfamiliarity through conversations with students.


Daniel Manheim seeks narratives that stage the encounter with the piece of poetry or fiction in the try-works of the classroom or office conversation. For this conference, the literary works under consideration should relate to the US, or the New World more broadly. Narrative/analytic essays are preferred, though fictionalized accounts like Berryman's, of appropriate length, will likewise be considered. Submissions should center in revelatory discoveries about the work of literature under consideration, rather than in any personal material. Potential contributors may send either completely drafted essays or, as a preliminary inquiry, a shorter description of ideas for such an essay. Suggestions for contributors would also be appreciated. Collaborative submissions with students are also encouraged.


The panel is to be presented at the May 2006 meeting of the American Literature Association. The ALA deadline for panel proposals is January 30, so the deadline for submitting papers is 18 January, 2006.


Submissions may be sent as a Word document attachment to or mailed to Daniel Manheim, Centre College, 700 West Walnut St., Danville, KY 40422.

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Received on Fri Nov 11 2005 - 08:46:42 EST