CFP: The 17th-Century Making of the Novel (3/10/06; MLA '06)

full name / name of organization: 
Gerd Bayer
contact email: 

The 17th-Century Making of the Novel (Proposed Special Session)
MLA Annual Conference
27-30 December 2006, Philadelphia, PA

Proposals are invited for a special session, to be proposed to the
2006 MLA Conference in Philadelphia

The 17th-Century Making of the Novel

When the novel "rose" in the wake of Defoe's 1719 publication of Robinson
Crusoe, it could already look back on a substantial history of prose
writing. The novel's rise was not only from the ashes of its precursors, but
also from the subtle narrative novelties of earlier decades. Within the
pre-history of the novel, numerous aspects of the novel as a genre-to-come
were already taking shape. In its narrative structure, implied readership,
and its self-positioning on the poiesis-mimesis axis, seventeenth-century
prose (and drama) created an audience for the eighteenth-century novel.

This panel will study the making of the novel-as-genre in the seventeenth
century. With this aim in mind, papers are sought which investigate
questions such as (but not limited to) the following:

   * How does 17th-century literature anticipate the novel's narrative
   * What kind of implied reader does it inscribe?
   * How does it position itself between realism and imagination?
   * How do questions of gender shape its authors, readers, and characters?
   * What paratextual features characterize 17th-century narratives?
   * How is the tradition of the romance subverted?
   * To what extent are moments of heteroglossia present?

Please send e-mail enquiries with two-page abstracts by 10 March 2006 to:

             Dr. Gerd Bayer
             Department of English
             Erlangen University (Germany)

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Received on Mon Jan 30 2006 - 17:45:38 EST