Generic Possibilities: Interrogating the Fusion of Genre-Fiction and Literature - Roundtable for NeMLA Conf. - Hartford 3/17-3/2

full name / name of organization: 
Gavin F. Hurley / Lasell College
contact email: 

As elucidated by Tim Lanzendoerfer, et al. within the forthcoming essay collection _The Contemporary Novel and the Politics of Genre_ (Lexington Press, Winter 2015), contemporary writers have been increasingly blending genre fiction tropes (i.e. from horror, fantasy, romance, science fiction, mystery) into literary fiction – and/or blending literary fiction into genre fiction. This technique surfaces in the work of high caliber American authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Kurt Vonnegut, Bret Easton Ellis, and Cormac McCarthy – as well as more genre focused writers such as William Gibson, George R.R. Martin, Gene Wolfe, Anne Rice, among others.

The upsurge of genre integration warrants close examination from literature scholars. This roundtable provides that close examination. The roundtable revolves around three interdependent operations: (1.) defining genre fiction, (2.) establishing distinctions between genre fiction and literary fiction, and (3.) evaluating the successes and limitations of the hybridity. In sum, the roundtable's purpose is to clarify and more fully assess the curious functionality and aesthetic interplay within contemporary fiction. We hope to arrive at clarifications and evaluations that better inform our disciplinary research in literary studies – moreover, we hope to arrive at insights that will assist our instruction of late-20th and 21st century literature to university students – students who are often quite familiar with genre conventions.

This roundtable invites diverse perspectives about the contemporary understanding and function of American literature and genre. This diversity includes pedagogical, interdisciplinary, and cultural studies: perspectives that can stimulate multifaceted conversation. Critical engagement with genre fiction is certainly welcome as well. Individual presentations will be reasonably short to allow for organic dialogue and robust discussion.

If you are interested in submitting a presentation to this roundtable, please go to the following link and click on "Submit Abstract": . Please note that abstracts can only be accepted through this system. Abstracts should be about 200 words.