The Everyday Languages of Modernism

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Modernist Studies Association
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CFP: 11th annual Modernist Studies Association conference; Montreal, Canada, Nov 5-8, 2009

The Everyday Languages of Modernism

In his claim that "the life of a village is narrative" whereas in the city "the visual impressions succeed each other, overlap, overcross, they are 'cinematographic'," Ezra Pound efficiently characterizes what is arguably modernism's primary discursive mode, one devoted to the shock and speed of the modern. Along these lines, modernism's investement in the defamiliarizing potential of the aesthetic experience (e.g. the Joycean or Imagist epiphany) is interested in the ordinary or commonplace only insofar as they are to be transcended. But the manifold languages of modernism address a far greater (if arguably less sexy) range of everyday social contexts and experiences, including routine and the familiar. This panel considers how modernists attuned their languages (literary, visual, sculptural etc.) to various forms of everyday life—not in an effort to condemn, for instance, its homogeneity, but to levelheadedly assess if not value its salutary functions and practices.

Topics and concepts to consider:

-routine and ritual
-everyday life and urban space
-spaces and forms of dwelling
-communal forms; the role of community
-everyday domestic labour
-the gender of the quotidian
-modernisms and food
-modernisms and errands
-modernisms and/at rest
-boredom, fatigue
-knowledge vs know-how
-quotidian time

Please send a 300 word abstract and a brief CV to Connor Byrne, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S. Canada ( by April 30, 2009