Place, Displacement, and Memory in the Literature of Exile

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association Convention 4/12-15/18

In his 1988 lecture “The Condition We Call Exile,” Joseph Brodsky said: “Whatever the proper name for these people [refugees, exiles, émigrés], whatever their motives, origins, and destinations, whatever their impact on the societies which they abandon and to which they come may amount to—one thing is absolutely clear: they make it very difficult to talk about the plight of the writer in exile with a straight face. Yet talk we must; and not only because literature, like poverty, is known for taking care of its own kind, but more because of the ancient and perhaps as yet unfounded belief that should the masters of this world be better read, the mismanagement and grief that make millions take to the road could be somewhat reduced.”


Heeding Brodsky’s twenty-year old burning imperative, “[y]et talk we must,” this session invites papers that focus on the literature of writers who write from and about the position of an exiled “outsider,” examining how literary art endeavors to contain, craft, and create that which is remembered. Broadly speaking, the session will consider the ways in which literature can represent and reproduce the human, social, cultural, historical and political experiences of exile, whether an exiled individual experiences a forceful expatriation, a voluntary emigration, or even an internal exile. Of a particular interest will be papers that consider the role that literature might play in creating a sense of community for immigrants, refugees, and other people living in various forms of exile. Papers that focus on the ways narratives of recollection and forgetting produce the particular transport and recovery accessible through literary experience will also be welcome. 

Send abstracts of 300 words to Daniela Kukrechtova ( by September 30, 2017.