CFP: [African-American] Langston Hughes: Authenticity, Performance, and the Voice (12/1/07; ALA 08)

full name / name of organization: 
Scarlett Higgins
contact email: 

Panel--Langston Hughes: Authenticity, Performance, and the Voice

American Literature Association
Memorial Day Weekend 2008
Hyatt Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

Authenticity as a concept first attained prominence in literary studies
during the 1960s along with the rise of so-called confessional poetry and
anti-war protest poetry. Since then, the idea that literature should
accurately represent the writer’s experiences and views, in fact should
represent his or her own voice on the page, has remained largely dominant
despite some notable detractors.

While Langston Hughes’s significance and popularity as a literary figure
continued to increase until his death in 1967 (and perhaps beyond),
Hughes came of age in an earlier era, with a different sense of how
politics enters into literature as well as the measure of decorum or
privacy to which a writer is entitled. This panel aims to consider how--
and to what effect--critical models of authenticity and performativity
have been retroactively applied to the poetry, plays, short stories, and
essays. With special regard to the many and various voices that populate
this work, we invite 15-20 minute presentations that analyze Hughes’s
complex sense of the representation of the self (the lyric or
documentary “I”) and the representation of others (especially through
personae, quotation, or invention).

350 word abstract and short cv by 1 December 2007;
Submit materials via e-mail to Scarlett B. Higgins <>

N.B.: All presenters must be members of the Langston Hughes Society by 1
January 2008, and are encouraged to submit their work to the Langston
Hughes Review for possible publication.

For more information on the LHS, see

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Received on Tue Sep 25 2007 - 17:27:19 EDT