CFP: Realism and Violence in 20th Century American Fiction (3/12/06; SAMLA, 11/10/06-11/12/06)

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Realism In/And Conflict: Violence and Verisimilitude in 20th Century
American Fiction

The discourse surrounding literary representations of violence has
exploded in the past ten to fifteen years indicating an increased
fascination with not only the limits of human aggression, but with the
limits of narrative capability. However, despite the extensive
interest in the topic from a number of diverse fields (from Trauma
studies to Peace studies to Feminism, to cite only a few examples),
there has been little discussion about the actual formal narrative
techniques used to convey the abjection that is representational
violence. One text that has attempted to wrestle with this issue,
however, Michael Rothberg's Traumatic Realism, posits that historical
violence, far from moving us further away from literary Realism,
requires that we understand that "it is in the nonreductive
articulation of the extreme [of violence. . .] that [we] find the
possibility for a reworking of realism" (118). This panel proposes,
then, to investigate the relationship between literary Realism as a
form of representation and the textualization of actual, real,
historical violence. While experimental forms of narrative (either
high modernism or postmodernism) might attempt to capture the idea of
violence, the "sense" of human conflict, when it comes to representing
specific and actual historical violence in and through language,
Realism-telling it as it "is"-appears to be the only truly effective

This panel seeks papers that investigate the intersections of
historically specific moments of violence and literary representations
that attempt to capture-via literary Realism-those moments.

Topics might include, but are in no ways limited to:

Trauma in literary Realism
Literary (re)enactments of specific moments of violence
The "uses" of violence in 20th C American Realism
The violent "disruption" of Realism in American Modern and Postmodern
The function of the abject and/or historical abjection in literary
The problem of representing "real" violence

Please send paper proposals of 250-300 words to Dr. Adam H. Wood by
March 12, 2006.

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Received on Sat Mar 04 2006 - 15:03:13 EST