Afterlives of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (NeMLA 2020)
Call for Papers for Afterlives of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
51st Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association
Boston Marriott Copley Place, in Boston, Massachusetts, from 5-8 March 2020
Paper abstracts are due by 30 September 2019
Session organized by Michael A. Torregrossa, The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain
Writer Mark Twain and illustrator Daniel Carter Beard’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889) has had a long history of adaptation in popular culture, but the full scope of its reception remains untold. There are, of course, the obvious texts, both in print and on film, that merely retell the story. Of these, more work is needed on the illustrative tradition. Along with retellings, there are also a small number of works that continue Connecticut Yankee. These appear entirely unknown to Twainians but offer a unique approach to the author’s legacy. More importantly, Connecticut Yankee itself or its story as mediated through one of its many retellings has also stimulated new narratives detached from Twain and Beard’s telling that recast characters and restage events. Also relatively unknown by scholars of the novel, these materials can be found throughout modern popular culture, and, although Elizabeth S. Sklar somewhat derisibly labels these as “spinoffs and ripoffs” of the novel, they are of value (as she suggests) and perhaps more so than the retellings because such items serve as the base for an extensive corpus of transformations of the novel that send various protagonists, all characters more familiar to contemporary readers and viewers than Twain’s Hank Morgan, into the medieval past and set a common pattern for time travel stories.
In the end, this session will offer a broad view of adaptations of the Connecticut Yankee story to situate both retellings and the lesser known and/or hitherto unknown continuations and recastings into a new continuum to offer a more complete picture of the novel’s effect on popular culture and provide fresh insight into the various ways that the producers responsible for these re-imaginings have appropriated the story and its time-travel motif for their own purposes.
This session is a paper panel in traditional format, which will include 3-4 participants, reading a formal paper of 15-20 minutes (2500-3000 words) as set by the chair, followed by Q&A.
Abstract submissions must be made through NeMLA’s official site. Applicants will need to login or create an account at https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/login. Submissions must begin with a paper title of not more than 100 characters (including spaces) and adhering to the following: capitalize titles by MLA formatting rules unless the title is in a language other than English; do not use quotation marks in the session title or abstract title itself but please use only single quotation marks around titles of short stories, poems, and similar short works; italicize the titles of long works mentioned in the paper title; and do not place a period at the end of the title. Submissions should also include an academic biography (usually transferred from your NeMLA profile) and a paper abstract of not more than 300 words; be sure to italicize or use quotation marks around titles according to MLA guidelines.
Please be aware that NeMLA membership is not required to submit abstracts, but it is required to present at the convention. In addition, note that it is permissible to present on (1) a panel (or seminar) and (2) a roundtable or a creative session, but it is not permissible to present on a panel and a seminar (because both are paper-based), on two panels or two roundtables (because both would be the same type). Further information on these and other policies can be accessed at http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers/submit.html.
Chairs will confirm the acceptance of abstracts before 15 October 2019. At that time, applicants must confirm the panel on which they wish to participate. Convention registration/membership for 2019-2020 must be paid by 1 December 2019.