NeMLA 2024 CfP - Beyond the Void: Exploring Grief, Loss, and Trauma in Literary Landscapes

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2024
contact email: 

In the realm of literature, grief and loss have always occupied a profound space, weaving their intricate threads through the narratives of countless tales. From the ancient Greek tragedies to contemporary works, the exploration of human suffering and its aftermath has captivated the imaginations of readers and critics alike. However, delving deeper into the recesses of these literary landscapes, we encounter a concept that extends beyond the boundaries of ordinary grief—a surplus of grief that emerges, often unyielding and overwhelming, in the face of profound loss and trauma.

As Jacques Derrida, the eminent poststructuralist philosopher, once remarked, "Grief is a condition, a state of the soul, a state of the psyche, that is both irreducible and irreversible." This surplus of grief transcends the boundaries of conventional mourning, defying attempts at containment and permeating every fiber of human existence. Roland Barthes, whose exploration of grief in "Mourning Diary" uncovers the multifaceted nature of loss and its impact on language and representation. Barthes poignantly noted, "Grief, insofar as it is an object of representation, is above all that which is unshareable, the unnameable, the undecipherable, the sole secret."

This panel aims to explore the transformative power of grief, its impact on the human psyche, and the way it shapes the narrative, structure, and symbolism within literary works. We invite scholars, researchers, and literary enthusiasts to submit 250-word abstracts exploring diverse perspectives that transcend the boundaries of surplus grief, shedding light on its multifaceted nature and impact.

Topics of Interest include but are not limited to:

  • Elegies and Lamentations: Exploring poetic expressions of loss and the grieving process in literature.
  • Narrative Transformations: Analyzing the evolution of characters and storytelling techniques in the aftermath of profound loss.
  • Absence and Presence: Examining the ways in which the loss of someone shapes the perception of absence and presence in literature.
  • Mourning Rituals: Investigating the role of rituals and ceremonies in literature as a means to cope with loss.
  • Trauma and Resilience: Examining how loss and grief lead to trauma and exploring the ways in which individuals navigate the path to resilience.
  • The Language of Loss: Analyzing the use of metaphor, symbolism, and linguistic devices in literature to convey the complexities of loss and grief.
  • Loss as Catalyst: Exploring how the experience of loss acts as a catalyst for personal growth and transformation in literary narratives.
  • Collective Experience: Investigating how grief impacts communities and shapes communal healing processes.
  • Transformative Power: Exploring how grief and loss shape narrative structures, symbolism, and themes.
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches: Investigating the intersections between literature, psychology, sociology, and cultural studies in understanding grief. 

Join us at this NeMLA 2024 conference and together, we shall embark on a collective voyage of exploration, unveiling the universal truths that lie at the intersection of grief, loss, and trauma.