Henry James and Events(s): MLA 2024 Philadelphia
Modern Language Association Annual Convention
4-7 January 2024 Philadelphia
The Henry James Society invites proposals for the following panel.
Henry James and Event(s)
We invite proposals which engage with the literary and theoretical dimensions of events in the work of Henry James. Events, defined as past or present disruptions or merely irregular occurrences, crowd James’s work, and whether directly described or peripherally touched upon, events generate change. Events bring his characters together (at tea “ceremonies” in beautiful gardens or lavish parties at historic country houses); inflect his own understanding of places (the American South in terms of the Civil War); and motivate further in/action (undisclosed intimate events that force themselves on the characters). The ambiguity inherent in James’s writing complicates the narration of events, rendering them often inconceivable, unnameable, or inaccessible. How does James’s writing—autobiographical, fictional, dramatic, critical—address both social or historical events and personal everyday occurrences which may ignite major or minor joys, pains, traumas, and crises? How can his literary production itself be characterized as an “event”?
Proposals could address any topic relating to this theme. Possible topics might include:
Story as event
Deadline for submissions: Tuesday, 21 March 2023.