Writings of Intimacy in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries, 10th - 12th Sept, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Dept. of English and Drama, Loughborough University, UK

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Adam Phillips (UK)
Professor Leo Bersani (USA)

This conference seeks to explore the significance of intimacy in and for the writings of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Our most intimate relationships are those which can powerfully define and nurture us, hurt and grieve us. Yet intimacy is not necessarily confined to those we know well: it is possible between strangers. and is not always conditional upon a personal relationship existing between the subjects involved. There are, indeed, intimate ways of behaving towards others which involve acts of violence, such as torture and rape.

Over the course of the twentieth century there was a marked rise in the explicitness with which intimacy was represented in literary texts. In part this was linked to challenges to, and the subsequent relaxation of, censorship laws. Literary writers have used intimacy in various ways to disrupt genre boundaries, to question the definitions of taste, and to experiment with literary forms and narrative voices, as well as to present their readers with a more visceral engagement with the body, its acts, and our desires. There are intimate forms of writing, such as love poetry, autobiography, eulogies and personal letters, which are an essential part of our literary heritage. Critical theory, too, has become increasingly interested in defining and discussing intimacy and its impact upon our lives, and this engagement is much indebted to the discourses of psychoanalysis.

Writings of Intimacy wishes to investigate the way in which intimacy has been written: its representation and theorisation. Topics for consideration may include, although do not have to be defined by:

Representations of intimacy, e.g. sex, love, death, violence, nursing
Intimate roles, e.g. lover, mother, analyst, carer
The poetics of intimacy
The politics of intimacy
Intimate scenes and experimentalism
The intimate and the impersonal
Narrative voice and intimacy
Intimacy and the avant-garde
Psychoanalysis and intimacy
Intimate forms of writing, e.g. life writing, love poetry, works of mourning
The unconscious and dreams and intimacy
Intimacy and censorship
Intimacy and knowledge
Intimacy and space/location
Philosophies of intimacy

Individual abstracts and proposals for panels are welcomed. Abstracts of 300 words should be sent to Jennifer Cooke at writingsofintimacy@lboro.ac.uk by 31st March 2010.
Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/ea/News%20and%20Events/Writings%20of%...