CFP: Literature and Joss Whedon's Angel (book collection), 5/15/09

full name / name of organization: 
Tamy Burnett
contact email: 

We are currently accepting proposals for essays to be included in an edited collection tentatively titled Literature and Joss Whedon's Angel, which focuses specifically on the literary traditions and influences that shape and are reflected in the series. Our goal is to bring together a collection of essays that work primarily with Angel as a text to be addressed in the wider field of narrative and literature, since critical analysis of visual narratives in our culture is often related to our literary history and cultural consciousness. Often, our criteria for evaluating the quality of television draw heavily on the complexities of narrative structures and the reimagining of traditional tales or storytelling techniques. Whedon's works, including Angel, are rife with these types of older narrative structures and literary references, as some scholars have noted in the past. As instructors of literature courses, we routinely examine new ways to help undergraduates, English majors and non-majors alike, to engage with literature and narrative in meaningful ways. In a world that is increasingly dominated by visual texts, how we approach students acculturated in this environment is crucial, and we believe that that our collection will highlight the importance of historically canonized and non-canonized literary texts, narrative structures, and themes, as well as their continued relevance today.

While several published books currently engage critical explorations of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and intersecting themes in Whedon's Buffy, Angel, and Firefly/Serenity (in addition, of course, to the wealth of articles published in peer-reviewed journals), the publications that support Whedon Studies contain an obvious gap—books devoted to Angel. Though over a dozen full books devoted to Buffy have been published in recent years, only one edited collection has thus far been focused on its companion series, Angel (Reading Angel: The TV Spin-off with a Soul, ed. Stacey Abbott, I.B. Tauris, 2005). We aim to narrow that gap.


We are interested in any and all topics exploring connections between Angel and literary genres, themes, or specific authors and/or texts. For example, we currently have confirmed contributions that engage the genre of early American captivity narrative, the theme of the medieval Romantic hero, the author Dostoevsky, and the text Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre. The following topic suggestions represent areas of particular interest to us:
• Non-Western and non-canon literary traditions
• Variations on heroic ideals (e.g.: Homeric, Byronic, etc.)
• Detective and/or gothic tropes
• Shakespearian influence
• Contemporary American literature
• Betrayal and madness
• Family constructions
• Uses of metatextuality
• Engagements with alternative media/genre forms: (i.e.: the comics)
• Essays about specific characters, especially ones who have received less critical attention (e.g.: Gunn, Lorne, Fred, Connor, Doyle, Harmony, etc.)

Our primary focus is the series Angel. Essays may include the After the Fall comics; however, essays should only engage Buffy (the series) or figures primarily related to Buffy in terms of how they impact Angel-centric plots, characters, and mythology. (In other words, an essay about Spike should focus on his appearances in Angel episodes, rather than be predominantly about his development on Buffy, although one would certainly need to engage with relevant moments from Buffy.)

Editors: AmiJo Comeford and Tamy Burnett


Proposals due: May 15, 2009. Please submit proposals of approx. 500 words as Microsoft Word (97-03 .doc format) or rich text file (.rtf) attachments to both and Include your name and contact information on your proposal.

We will respond to proposals by the end of May; essay drafts will be due August 15, 2009, with final drafts due October 10, 2009. Final essays will need to be approx. 5000 words.

Contact Information:

We prefer e-mail communication, but you may also reach us through the following postal addresses:

AmiJo Comeford
Dixie State College of Utah
225 S 700 E
St. George, UT 84770

Tamy Burnett
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
PO Box 880333
Lincoln NE 68588-0333