“Invisible Secrets in Pre-1865 American Literature” (SAMLA)

deadline for submissions: 
July 30, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Michael S. Martin/SAMLA

Recent scholarly approaches in antebellum American literature emphasizes the role of secrets and secrecy, as in Dominick Mastroianni’s Politics and Skepticism in Antebellum American Literature (2022); essays on secrecy in Emily Dickinson’s poetry (Jeffrey Simons, Paul Scott Derrick, 2011); and the secret lives of nineteenth-century literature (Harper, Dickinson, Melville, 2022) in digital media, as Kayla Shipp has argued. This panel explores the way that unstated ideas, points, or secrets are exchanged in antebellum American literature. “Secrets” could be considered as gossip, or social exchange, in texts; hidden codes or alternate forms of discourses in various forms of writing; covert, extratextual meanings in texts, and much more. Secrets, in this context, can ultimately be voiced or still stay in a liminal, undefined space. Secrets can comprise points of dialogue that are never explicitly stated, but nevertheless understood in the text.  Secrets can range from the personal to the national, the visible to the invisible, and everything in between. Proposed papers for this SAMLA-Jacksonville panel are encouraged to consider secrets from a broad spectrum of orientations.


Please send a 250-300 word abstract to Michael Martin (Michael.martin@nicholls.edu), by 30 July 2024 for consideration.