UPDATE: [American] The Literature of 9/11 (NeMLA 2009, Boston, 2/26-3/1)

full name / name of organization: 
Justine Dymond
contact email: 

Nearly seven years since the terrorist attack on 9/11 and the invasion of
Afghanistan, and over five years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an
initial wave of literature is emerging that explicitly responds to and
reflects on the aftermath of this recent history. Writers as diverse as
Deborah Eisenberg, Jonathan Safran Foer, Hunter S. Thompson, and Sherman
Alexie have published 9/11 stories, essays, and novels. Galway Kinnell’s
recent collection, Strong Is Your Hold, includes his now-famous
meditation on 9/11, “When the Towers Fell.” Many other poets and
essayists have also trained their pens on the experiences of grief, loss,
and violence resulting from 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This NeMLA 2009 session proposes to explore the nature of post-9/11
literature, focusing on specific works and also on larger thematic or
formal trends. Do these authors see 9/11 as a significant break with the
past, or, as in the works of Sherman Alexie and Galway Kinnell, as a
culmination of history dating as far back as the pre-contact period in
North America? Do these writers point to a new, distinctive period in
American literature? What similarities might there exist between post-
9/11 literature and other areas of literary study, such as trauma
narratives and the literature of war? What literary precedents do these
writers draw from, or part company with?

Proposals that examine specific authors or that encompass a comparative
analysis are welcome, as are proposals that take a wider view to include
other media, such as art, theater, or an American Studies approach. While
this session primarily addresses writers in the American context, papers
on international writers will also be considered.

Please send a 500-word abstract and a brief bio by September 15, 2008 to

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Received on Mon Jun 30 2008 - 11:40:59 EDT