Coriolanus in Focus -- NeMLA 2017 Baltimore

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

Shakespeare's late play Coriolanus at first glance seems to be a straightforward case of a haughty patrician whose own pride leads to his loss of stature and life—a tragedy in the classic mold. The majority opinion echoes Olivier who likened him to "a very straightforward, reactionary son of a so-and-so" whose "thoughts are not deep" and Curry who labelled him as "one of the hardest characters to like." However, interesting characters—Shakespeare raised many—resist categorizing. Thus, Goddard saw Coriolanus as a continuation of Shakespeare's delight from Hamlet on "in creating incorrigible truth-tellers who discomfort and undo the hypocrites and knaves", and for Bradley he was a "nobel, even a lovable being." The play itself seems to defy labelling, having been seen as a history, comedy, black comedy, satire, grotesque tragedy, and, simply, tragedy. Politics play an important role in the story, though the play has been used to support a wide range of political extremes ranging from Tories, Whigs, Nazis, and Marx's proletariat. This roundtable hopes to gain greater understanding of how such a seemingly straightforward story of a "son of a so-and-so" can be a lightning rod for such disparate beliefs. It is hoped that a wide range of viewpoints of Coriolanus—the character and play—utilizing a variety of interdisciplinary methods will be presented to generate in-depth and stimulating discourse.


This will be a roundtable session at NeMLA 2017, the 48th Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association held March 23-26, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland.


Please submit abstract proposals of no more than 250 words by September 30, 2016, using the NeMLA link: