Special Topic Issue: Big, Ambitious Novels by 21st Century Women [NEW DEADLINE]
In consideration of the COVID-19 emergency, we have extended the abstract submission deadline by one month. (Production Schedule to be adjusted accordingly.)
Big, Ambitious Novels by 21st Century Women
A Special Topic Issue
Genre invites proposals for articles on the topic of “Big, Ambitious Novels by 21st Century Women.” This special issue will feature scholarship that investigates recent maximalist or encyclopedic novels. We seek excellent work that participates in the revitalized consideration of literary form with particular attention to the resourcefulness of immense novels and prior scholarship on scale in art.
“Big, Ambitious Novels” alludes to the influential critic James Wood’s contrarian review of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. Uneasy about a tendency toward “glamorous congestion” of historical detail that he attributes to oversized novels of information by Salman Rushdie, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and David Foster Wallace, Wood responds directly not to a new book by one of these established men but instead to the debut novel of a 24 year-old black woman. The review proposes White Teeth is exemplary of a development in the novel that he regrets: a turn to “hysterical realism.” The introduction to this special issue will rehearse the obvious problem with Wood’s sexist diction as well as the irony of his attempt to feminize a genre that has been regarded otherwise as expansively masculinist. Rather than dwell on Wood’s generic gate-keeping, we are instead keen to prepare for contributions attuned to women authors’ various accomplishments with the genre.
Against the popular impression that big, ambitious novels dense with history lessons and often footnotes are mainly the purview of men, this issue takes inspiration from Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, Lucy Ellman’s Ducks, Newburyport, Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift, Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, Emil Ferris’s (graphic novel) My Favorite Things Is Monsters, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers, Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, Nicole Krauss’ Great House, Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, Andrea Levy’s Small Island, Sandra Cisneros’s Caramelo and more going back to Smith’s White Teeth in 2000.
* Send proposals of up to 500 words and a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line BAN 21C by Friday, April 24.
* Complete manuscripts of articles invited for the issue will be due in early June so that the confidential review and revision of accepted articles can be completed by September 1, 2020. Genre publishes articles of up to 10,000 words including notes and bibliography.
* Please contact email@example.com with questions.