"Place and Placelessness": The 15th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Society will host its 15th international conference, "Place and Placelessness," in Toulouse, France, from June 24-29, 2019, with an optional pre-conference meeting date in Paris on June 23 to tour significant Fitzgerald sites.
When studying sites in France where F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald resided, the southwest of France is often left out in favor of more renowned locales like Paris, Lyon, and the Riviera. Only a few biographers mention their stay in Salies de Béarn, a spa resort in the Pyrenees, in January 1926. According to Zelda, their hotel room was "flush with thin sun rolled down from the Pyrenees," but both were bored and, after a few weeks there where Zelda took a cure for colitis and Scott wrote two short stories and an essay, they moved on to the Riviera, passing through Toulouse and Carcassonne on the way.
Considering the more peripheral role held by this region in Scott’s and Zelda’s lives and writings, the theme for the conference is “Place and Placelessness.” As Fitzgerald wrote in the 1930 story “One Trip Abroad,” “Every place is the same.... The only thing that matters is who’s there.... The place itself really never matters.”The topic and quote remind us that the Fitzgeralds never owned a place of their own and conjure up the distinctive motifs of expatriation and exile, moorings vs. wanderings, rootedness vs. aimlessness, location vs. dislocation. Since place can be considered as space invested with personal or collective meaning, its referent is paradoxically bound to be subjective and volatile. The conference theme is also an invitation to explore the role of in-between places in the Fitzgeralds’ works, especially fixed places of transit like hotels, bars, harbors, airports, clinics, as well as mobile spaces like taxis, cars, liners or planes.
This 2019 conference will also be an opportunity to focus on I’d Die for You and Other Lost Stories, a collection of texts that were never published in Fitzgerald’s lifetime nor in later posthumous collections, but which must now find their place within the Fitzgerald canon. France’s long-lasting interest in Fitzgerald’s works led to the quasi-immediate release of a translation of this volume. Because translation is by definition an experience of displacement, often leaving the translator hovering between several texts, alert to the difficulty to pinpoint meaning, the papers focusing on the translation of the Fitzgeralds’ works in various languages will be welcome. As always, we welcome papers on The Great Gatsby (1925), but we are also interested in Fitzgerald’s overlooked expatriate stories, such as “Not in the Guidebook” (1924).
The above suggestions are neither exhaustive as regards the conference theme nor exclusive, as proposals on all aspects of the Fitzgeralds’ lives and works will be considered, as well as comparisons/contrasts to other expatriate writers who depicted the Pyrenees. Please send your 250-500 word proposal (noting any audio/visual requests) along with a brief C.V. or biographical statement to our official conference email, email@example.com. THE DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS IS JANUARY 1, 2019. Presenters will be notified of acceptance by February 1, 2019. For info, visit www.fscottfitzgeraldsociety.org (which will soon include a link to our new website).
*PLEASE NOTE: Interested attendees have an option to gather in Paris on June 23 for a special “Babylon Revisited” /Tender Is the Night walking tour. We will take a speed train together to Toulouse on June 24 and back on June 30.