Text and Performance: Writing the Real

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

When James Joyce was composing Finnegan’s Wake with Samuel Beckett as a scribe, someone knocked on the door. Joyce responded, “Come in?” When he realized he had mistakenly written this down, Beckett asked Joyce how far back to cross out. Joyce—so the story goes—decided to leave it in the novel, delighted at the way his life had blended with his work. How can we understand the dynamic relationship between art and life? When does the depiction of life become life itself? We propose a panel to investigate performance, specifically, as a liminal space between art and life, or between text and action, that offers the opportunity to explore the possibilities of the real and the unreal, of assumption and disruption, of subject and object.

Papers are sought that consider performance from any artistic or critical perspective: that of the playwright, the performer, the spectator, the choreographer/dancer, the scholar, the activist, the revolutionary, and so on. Inquiry might begin with questions like: What are the assumptions that we take for granted when we encounter literature, or theatre, or life? What are the possible functions of theatre? Of performance? Does performance in everyday life betray a resistance to reality? Does performance have the capacity to create change in the world? What role does a priori information play in our interpretations or assessments of performance? What is the role of empiricism? Is it possible (or productive) to isolate a unique feature that inheres in the written, in the real, or in performance? Is the “real” merely a genre of experience? What is the role of interpretation with respect to the boundaries of performance?


Please submit abstracts at https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/16459