The Book Closes: Finality in Contemporary Literature

deadline for submissions: 
April 5, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
York St John MA one-day symposium

The Book Closes: Finality in Contemporary Literature

York St. John University

This is an MA Symposium intended for MA/Postgraduate Students 


The ‘impression of being final and irreversible’, ‘finality’ is significant in our contemporary moment.  Fears stemming from the changes threatened by recent decisions such as Brexit in the UK, and the inauguration of Donald Trump in America have resulted in a wide-spread perception of a marked increase in expressions of fear and hatred.  Literature has always challenged fear and hatred, exploring both the origins and consequences of these unstable emotional states. This symposium is interested in the ways in which finality is negotiated in contemporary literature both in terms of how contemporary literature engages with our present conditions and how re-visioning the past in contemporary literature offers a space from which to mount a challenge to ‘end times’ or suggest a point before that of ‘no return’.

This one-day symposium, on 6th of June 2017 at York St. John University, invites both critical and creative reflection on the concept of finality in contemporary literature (from 1971 onwards). We aim to reflect on and respond to a number of issues in current literature surrounding finality, addressing and challenging its irreversible quality. We are questioning finality through its multiple forms within literature: How does post-apocalyptic literature implement and define finality, as fiction that precedes a perceived end? Is finality reversible after death? How do authors present the relationship between environmental destruction and finality? How do authors apply finality to transitional identity and the organic body?

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the topic, we welcome proposals for 20 minute critical papers and also invite creative responses from researchers working across the Arts and Humanities. Submissions might address, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Apocalypse, Post-Apocalypse, and End Times
  • Eco critical readings, and the progression into the Anthropocenic age
  • Death and finality of the organic body
  • The Afterlife
  • Post-Humanist responses
  • Transitional identity and the loss of the self
  • Progression, regression, and change

Please send abstracts of 300 words to by Wednesday 5th of April.