Spaces of Harmony and Fragmentation in post-Romantic and Modernist Poetry (NeMLA 2018)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)

The 49th NeMLA Annual Convention

April 12-15, 2018 - Pittsburgh, PA

The verse collection Les Fleurs du Mal, first published in 1857 by the French poet Charles Baudelaire, has been widely recognised as a turning point in modern poetry. While preserving, on the one hand, the Romantic notion of harmony, unity, and ‘universal analogy’ associated with the natural landscape, Baudelaire on the other hand introduced into poetry images of fragmentation and multiplicity linked to the representation of the modern urban metropolis. In Baudelaire’s wake, many post-Romantic and Modernist poets incorporated into their aesthetics a dialectic tension between spaces of ‘harmony’ – usually connected, nostalgically or ironically, to a past tradition perceived as irredeemably threatened or inherently obsolete – and spaces of fragmentation, depersonalisation, and modernity that coincide with the advancements of science and progress.

This panel examines the various spaces of harmony and fragmentation found in post-Romantic and Modernist poetry in any language, whereby the concepts of harmony and fragmentation might be seen in open opposition, involving the conflict between past and present values/notions/literary or linguistic norms, or in relation between each other. We welcome submissions on, but not limited to, the following types of spaces:

· contemporary landscapes/sceneries, such as T.S. Eliot’s poetic ‘fragments’ of an infernal London as described in The Waste Land, or F.T. Marinetti’s Futurist fragmented syntax used to depict the Battle of Adrianople in Zang Tumb Tumb;

· historic places, such as W.B. Yeats’ vision of the harmonious city of Byzantium in which the soul and the body of the poet unite into ‘the artifice of eternity’, in ‘Sailing to Byzantium’;

· fictional/abstract landscapes, such as Arthur Rimbaud’s images from opéras-comiques that are harmoniously combined with descriptions of real sights in ‘Scènes’, as well as in other poems of the Illuminations.

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words for papers of 15-20 minutes, along with a short bio, through the NeMLA submission site by September 30th, 2017:

For more information, please contact Alessandro Cabiati at or visit