Call for Essays: The Games of War in British and American Literature, 1588-1783

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Holly Faith Nelson; Dr. Jim Daems
contact email: 

Call for Essays

“The Games of War in British and American Literature, 1588-1783”

Editors: Holly Faith Nelson, Ph.D.  and Jim Daems, Ph.D.

We are seeking essay proposals for a collection in development entitled The Games of War in British and American Literature, 1588-1783. This book will examine the ways in which the discourses of games and warfare intersect in the British and American literary imagination from the Spanish Armada to the end of the American Revolution. The theme of the collection should be understood broadly, taking into account the complex signification of the concept of “the games of war” or “war-games,” something that Philipp von Hilger and Martin Van Creveld have begun to explore and theorize from a historical perspective in War Games: A History of War on Paper (2008; MIT, 2012) and Wargames: From Gladiators to Gigabytes (CUP, 2013) respectively. This collection will address a number of theoretical issues on the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of merging the discourses of games and warfare. While there is much to be done within the parameters of this collection with canonical works of literature, we also encourage proposals that examine lesser known works of the period.

Topics for individual essays may include, but are in no way limited to, the following:

§  Jousting in Edmund Spenser’s The Fairie Queene

§  Thomas Middleton’s A Game at Chess and England’s relationship with Spain (or, more broadly, the relation of chess and warfare in early modern literature)

§  Games as critiques of parliamentary opposition and the Commonwealth in Cavalier poetry during the Civil War and Interregnum

§  Literary representations of the gambling, whoring Cavalier

§  War tropes as an instrument of rhetorical gameplay in religious and/or political tracts or popular ballads

§  War tactics as a trope of the Christian spiritual experience  in, for example, John Bunyan’s The Holy War

§  The bacchanalian Maypole of Thomas Merton’s Merry-mount and the conflict between colonies and the Indigenous population

§  Mock heroic and games, critiquing British wars (for example, in the works of Rochester, Marvell, or Pope)

§  Martial tropes and the game of love in lyrics, the romance, or the novel

§  War narratives (like later war-based video games) as a form of simulation (“war play”)

§  Uncle Toby’s war-games in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy

Proposals should be approximately 500 words in length, and should be submitted by December 1, 2016 to both editors at  and

Contributors will be notified by February 1, 2017 if their essay proposals have been accepted. Completed essays will be due by August 1, 2017. A university press has already expressed strong interest in publishing the collection, though the submitted volume will go through the academic publisher’s rigorous peer-review process.


Holly Faith Nelson, Ph.D.

Professor, Chair, and Graduate Stream Coordinator, Department of English and Creative Writing

Co-Director, Gender Studies Institute

Department of English and Creative Writing

Trinity Western University

7600 Glover Road

Langley, BC

V2Y 1Y1