CFP: Writing Death in Nineteenth-Century Literature (grad) (1/5/06; McGill, 3/11/06-3/12/06)
12th Annual Graduate Conference on Language and Literature
McGill University, Montreal
Theme: Permeability and Selfhood
March 11-12, 2006
This call for papers is for a panel to be held at Permeability and Selfhood, the
McGill Graduate Conference on Language and Literature, which will take place
March 11-12 at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Writing Death in Nineteenth-Century Literature
This panel explores the ways in which death influences selfhood in
nineteenth-century literature. In Death Sentences, Garrett Stewart writes,
"Fictional identity from Dickens forward is in multiple ways founded on death
or figured by its extremity" (10). Can we extend this relationship between
identity and death to the Romantics? How do actual deaths, the fear of death,
or memories of the deceased affect identity formation in nineteenth-century
literature? Articulations of death in fiction are often key moments of
political, ethical, sexual, and narrative negotiation. The Victorian
prostitute who threatens to throw her body into the Thames may represent an
unstable identity that is as polluted as the Thames itself, whereas the death
of the heroine in New Woman fiction highlights, among other things, her
inability to integrate her modern sexual identity into conventional social
This panel will explore how narrative conventions and social changes, especially
in relation to religion, gender, and sexuality, affect representations of death
and identity in the literature of the nineteenth century.
Possible questions to be addressed include:
What are the ethical implications of particular kinds of death, such as suicide
How are different types of death gendered?
How do representations of death alter from the Romantic to the Victorian period?
Are there alternatives to understanding death in nineteenth-century novels as
narrative retribution or punishment?
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Wed Nov 16 2005 - 10:26:53 EST