CFP: [Religion] "James Agee at 100" for ALA 2009

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Jesse Graves
contact email: 

James Agee at 100

This panel celebrates the centennial of James Agee’s birth and the recent
publication of the restored version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A
Death in the Family. In the “Preliminaries” to his 1941 classic Let Us Now
Praise Famous Men, James Agee listed the psychologist Sigmund Freud and the
blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson, among a host of others, as “unpaid
agitators” for the causes the book champions. He also saw the accompanying
photographs by Walker Evans as crucial and inseparable from the book as a
whole. Agee includes a scene near the beginning of his novel A Death in
the Family involving the narrator’s extended remembrance of attending a
Charles Chaplin silent film. An early poem in Permit Me Voyage, his Yale
Younger Poets Award-winning book of poetry, is titled “Dedication,” and
serves as Agee’s acknowledgement of a litany of writers and thinkers,
including Christ, Dante, and Mozart, but also Ernest Hemingway, I.A.
Richards, and James Joyce. As these establishing moments suggest, Agee
envisioned his work as being in conversation with a variety of aesthetic
and intellectual traditions of the 20th century. The James Agee Society
seeks papers for the American Literature Association conference in Boston
in May 2009 that deal with any aspect of Agee’s work in connection to other
artistic and cultural trends of his times.

Potential topics include:
• Agee and his literary contemporaries
• Hollywood and its impact on Agee and other writers
• Agee’s interaction with photography, film studies, and/or documentary art
• The theological underpinnings of Agee and his contemporaries
• Agee and psychoanalysis
• The literary left of the 1930s, and Agee’s relation to it
• Agee and music
• The scope of Agee’s accomplishment
• The restoration of A Death in the Family or other Agee texts

Send 1-2 page abstracts to Dr. Jesse Graves at by January
20, 2009.

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Received on Thu Dec 04 2008 - 14:57:43 EST