NeMLA 2023 Roundtable: What the Thunder said: Exploring Eliot in the Age of Anthropocene

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA 2023)

The planetary event characterised as Anthropocene in our times shares a particular relationship with the Modernist milieu which sought to represent the conflicts that extend to the non-human and the more-than-human world. Scattered through Eliot’s poetic oeuvre is the speculation of how to think seriously about the planet. Every street lamp that Eliot’s lyric persona passes from beats like a “fatalistic drum” with Bergsonian élan vital (the creative force) which informs both the human and the non-human world. This roundtable invites contributions which will explore the non-human aspects in Eliot’s poems. Eliot, following Henri Bergson’s concept of duration (la durée), shifts the scales to privilege evolutionary time to conceive the vast temporality of the geological processes. In doing so, Eliot lays bare the techniques of thought and poetic practices which have tried to locate the spatial coordinates as they hollow out and disappear into the unfathomable depths of the Anthropocene age. We invite papers which deal with posthumanist, ecohumanist and ecofeminist readings of Eliot’s poetry in which the human and the non-human aspects are mobilised as responses to the Anthropocene. We seek to uncover how such readings of Eliot’s poetry can illuminate the philosophical cognates which inform the Anthropocene thesis through a studied exploration of threshold, fragmentation, rupture, trauma and the Other, and can offer the most intimate expressions of resilience for our times. The stakes of such a project are multiple. Not only will it reinstate the efficacy of time which the “Western philosophy, [Bergson] argues, has lost sight of” but will also offer new ways to narrativise the Anthropocenic turn. We specially welcome submissions that focus on the following themes:

Non-human agency in Eliot’s poetry

Void, Sunyata and non-self in Eliot

Spectral thinking through Eliot’s poems

Corpse and corporeality in Eliot

Agrarianism and organicism in Eliot

Feminist ecologies in Eliot

Vitalistic concerns and psychic life in Eliot's poems

Narrativising PTSD through Eliot’s oeuvre

Please send abstract proposals of 250-300 words along with a short bio-note of 100-150 words by September 30, 2022.

All abstracts must be submitted through the NeMLA CFP website at Search for ID 20060, "What the Thunder said: Exploring Eliot in the Age of Anthropocene” or visit the direct link to the roundtable

General guidelines for abstracts can be found at:

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