The Everyday Beyond Description (Panel)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
54th Annual NeMLA Convention March 23-26, 2023 in Niagara Falls, NY
contact email: 

Submit 200-300 word abstracts (with short bio) via the NeMLA Portal by Sept. 30, 2022. Contact Hannah LeClair (hleclair@sas.upenn.edu) and Molly Young (mryoung@sas.upenn.edu) with any questions.

The Everyday Beyond Description (Panel):

Nineteenth-century British realism is often understood as the generic manifestation of the everyday, with a discrete kind of content—scenes of domestic and rural life, for instance—and, in the novel, a discrete form, namely the “mimetic” description of these social worlds.

Following the lead of recent scholarly returns to criticism of realism (Caroline Levine, Anna Kornbluh, Elaine Freedgood), and contemporary theoretical accounts of the everyday (Kathleen Stewart, Toril Moi, Jane Bennett), this panel seeks papers that explore how the nineteenth-century realist novel encounters and mediates "the everyday" in ways that move beyond mimetic description.

Our panel asks: What is "the everyday"? And why has it become so closely sutured to the form and content of the realist novel? What might it mean to untether our thinking about the realist everyday from the confines of description or mimesis? How can we consider certain moods, interactions or modes of intellection (to start with) as "everyday"?

In conversation with NeMLA's 2023 theme, "resilience," we welcome papers that revisit "everydayness," in theory and practice, as a possible site of renewal, resistance, and poetic making. Possible topics might include:

-The commons and the commonplace

-Ordinariness, the quotidian, and boredom

-Gender, domesticity, and theories of social reproduction

-Modernity, rhythms of life, and the relations of production: Cyclical time and/vs. clock time; the urban and/vs. the rural

-"The prose of the world": Poiesis and the everyday

-Notation, the detail, the list, the catalog

-The everyday in theory: Ordinary language philosophy (Wittgenstein, Austin, Cavell); 20th century French philosophy and "The Critique of Everyday Life" (Lefebvre, de Certeau, Blanchot)

-Freud and The Psychopathology of Everyday Life