T. S. Eliot Society: Peer Seminars

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
T. S. Eliot Society
contact email: 

Call for Peer Seminar Participants: 1. Eliot and History / 2. New Editions, New Writings


T. S. Eliot Society Annual Meeting; 21-23 September 2018Atlanta, GA

The Eliot Society is pleased to offer two peer seminars at this year’s annual meeting, and we encourage members to consider participating in a seminar as a way of sharing their research with other members in Atlanta. Participants will pre-circulate short position papers (5 pages) by September 1; peer seminars will meet to discuss the pre-circulated papers on the first day of the 2018 Eliot Society conference, Friday, September 21. Membership in each peer seminar is limited to twelve on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please enroll by July 15, by sending an email with the subject line “peer seminar” to jstayer@jcu.edu with your contact information.

1. Eliot and History

Led by Paul Stasi, SUNY Albany

T. S. Eliot famously argued that “the historical sense” was necessary for anyone who wished to be a poet beyond age twenty-five, and his writing is pervaded by a consciousness of the past, in ways that critics have extensively documented. Yet a desire to transcend time and history is often seen as animating much of his later verse. This seminar seeks to examine Eliot’s complex relationship to history as well as his place in history. Possible topics include:

The evolution of Eliot’s thought as it responds to larger historical shifts, such as decolonization, the post-WWII order, secularization, etc.
His response to specific historical events
Theories of history found within his prose or poetry
His relation to the transnational or global turn in modernist studies 
Eliot’s historical impact, in the sense of his legacy in poetry and criticism
The common ground or opposition between his thought and dominant modes of historicization (New Historicism, Historical Materialism)

Paul Stasi teaches twentieth-century Anglophone literature at SUNY Albany. He is the author of Modernism, Imperialism, and the Historical Sense (Cambridge 2012), the coeditor (with Jennifer Greiman) of The Last Western: Deadwood and the End of American Empire (Continuum 2013) and coeditor (with Josephine Park) of Ezra Pound in the Present (Bloomsbury 2016). His work has appeared in ELH, Novel, Comparative Literature, Journal of Transnational American Studies, Twentieth-Century Literature, James Joyce Quarterly, Mediations, and Historical Materialism.

2. New Editions, New Writings: Fresh Perspectives on Eliot

Led by John Whittier-Ferguson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    and Jayme Stayer, John Carroll University

Until very recently, the selection of Eliot’s writings available for scholars has been more partial, more restricted than that of virtually every other central writer of the modernist period. In recent years, Eliot studies has been transformed by the publication of close to 2,000 pages of the annotated Poems; 6,000 pages of letters (not yet complete); and 5,400 pages of The Complete Prose. This peer seminar calls for papers making substantive use of any of the “new Eliot” now available to us. Each contribution for this seminar will use the material in these new editions in some way that helps to bring Eliot into fresh focus for his readers. This may mean discussing hitherto unpublished or uncollected works; it may also mean utilizing the critical and textual apparatus now gathered around more well-known texts of Eliot’s to illuminate unexplored contexts, antecedents, and connections.

John Whittier-Ferguson is a Professor in the English Department at the University of Michigan, where he’s been since 1990. His most recent book, Mortality and Form in Late Modernist Literature, was published by Cambridge in the fall of 2015. He is the author of Framing Pieces: Designs of the Gloss in Joyce, Woolf, and Pound (Oxford, 1996), and coeditor, with A. Walton Litz and Richard Ellmann, of James Joyce: Poems and Shorter Writings (Faber 1991).

Jayme Stayer holds degrees in music (Notre Dame), theology (Boston College), and literature (Notre Dame and the University of Toledo). Currently Associate Professor of Literature at John Carroll University, he has published work in the fields of rhetoric, music, and modernism. His most recent books are The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition. Vol. V: Tradition and Orthodoxy, 1934–1939, co-edited with Ronald Schuchard and Iman Javadi (Johns Hopkins, 2017); Think About It: Critical Skills for Academic Writing (2014), coauthored with John Mauk and Karen Mauk; and T. S. Eliot, France, and the Mind of Europe (editor, 2015).