CFP: E.L. Doctorow for the 21st Century - Essay Collection

full name / name of organization: 
Michael Wutz (Weber State University), Julian Murphet (UNSW, Australia) & Samuel Dickson

Proposals Due July 31, 2016

The sad passing of E.L. Doctorow in 2015 marked the completion of one of the richest oeuvres in contemporary American literature. His early novels (including The Book of Daniel (1971), Ragtime (1975), World's Fair (1985) and Billy Bathgate (1989)) are widely celebrated for their unique capacity to unmask the myths of American history and articulate the centrality of narrative in the formation of national self-identity. While these significant accomplishments have received due praise from both scholars and readers from the general public alike, there is a notable lack of serious scholarly attention given to the last 20 years of Doctorow's work. During the last two decades of his life, Doctorow produced a set of novels (including The Waterworks (1994), City of God (2000), The March (2005), Homer & Langley (2009) and Andrew's Brain (2014)), short stories and essays that constitute an expansion into wider intellectual concerns, beyond the scope of his earlier historical narratives. This extraordinarily productive literary output offers significant (re)considerations of—often corporate and religious—power and of the cognitive sciences, including neurobiology, information processing and media culture.

This proposed volume will serve as a timely correction to the lamentable lack of academic scholarship dedicated to this substantial oeuvre. We are seeking new and original contributions to an essay collection that will provide a definitive critical overview of the entire literary achievements of E.L. Doctorow.

Suggested topics of interest include:
- Generic totalization across Doctorow's oeuvre
- Doctorow's place in the American literary canon
- Politics and Literary Form
- American Myth and Global Power
- Literary Narrative and Media
- Doctorow and Film
- Narrative Cognition
- Evolutionary Biology, Neuroscience and Literary Form
- Information Storage and Digital Processing

Please email 200-250 word abstracts and a short CV/biography to Michael Wutz (, Julian Murphet ( and Samuel Dickson ( by July 31, 2016. Accepted essays will be due by July 2017.