The Futures of Henry James

deadline for submissions: 
January 20, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Sarah Wadsworth / Henry James Society

The Henry James Society

American Literature Association

33rd Annual Conference


26-29 May 2022

Call for Papers

The Futures of Henry James


Henry James scholarship has debated the fictional representations of silence and void, which are often related to the past or something ghostly and inscrutable in human consciousness. In our post-pandemic era, however, thinking about futurity in James could provide new perspectives in our retrospective reading. His unfinished novel The Sense of the Past predicts futuristic time travel, for example, and the open endings of The Portrait of a Lady and What Maisie Knew direct readers’ attention to the future, especially to the future of women. Moreover, James, as well as his siblings Alice and William, was interested in the idea of consciousness after life. We welcome proposals ​for twenty-minute papers addressing any aspect of the topic as suggested below, but other approaches are invited as well.


  • Young characters 
  • Fate and free will ​
  • Speculative fiction
  • Illness and recuperation​
  • James’s relationship with his sister, Alice James
  • William James and the psychology of time, impact on later thinkers, etc.
  • Open-ended narration
  • Reading beyond the ending
  • Sequels and adaptations
  • Fortunes, fortune-telling, predicting the future
  • Relationships between past and future (e.g., hauntings and premonitions)
  • Modernity and modernism
  • 20th- and 21st-century James
  • Temporalities and futurity (e.g., queer time)
  • The future of James Studies


Please send a 250-word abstract and short biography to Hitomi Nabae ( and Sarah Wadsworth ( by 20 Jan. 2022. Please note if you have any AV requirements.


The American Literature Association’s 33rd annual conference will meet at the Palmer House Hilton May 26-29, 2022 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). For further information, please consult the ALA website at