T. S. Eliot Society Peer Seminar, Sept. 25-27, 2009, St. Louis

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Peer Seminar: Mid-Century Eliot

This year's seminar will be led by Marina MacKay of Washington University in St. Louis. Professor MacKay is the author of Modernism and World War II (Cambridge UP), editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of World War II, and co-editor of British Fiction After Modernism (Palgrave). She has articles published or forthcoming in such prestigious journals as PMLA, Modern Fiction Studies, ELH, Twentieth Century Literature, and the Journal of Modern Literature, as well as in several essay collections.

The seminar invites participants to share and discuss short papers that read Eliot's later poetry, drama, and criticism in relation to their political and cultural contexts at mid-century (1935–55). Important political contexts might include, for example, World War II, the Cold War, decolonization, the rise of the welfare state, and transformations of liberalism and conservatism in the era of the totalitarian regime. Among the cultural contexts we may wish to explore are those supplied by reading the later Eliot alongside other mid-century artists and thinkers, canonical or neglected, including (but not restricted to) the writers whose work Eliot edited or championed in those years. Other useful cultural contexts might include contemporary literary- and cultural-critical phenomena such as Leavisite humanism, the rise of the New Criticism, and the emergence of Cultural Studies. Participants are welcome to supplement or replace the specific examples named above with mid-century political and cultural contexts of their own.

The seminar is open to the first 15 registrants; registration will close July 1st. Seminarians will submit 4–5 page position papers by e-mail, no later than September 1st. To sign up, or for answers to questions, please write Jayme Stayer (jayme.stayer@gmail.com).