CFP: Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers

seen on the Classicists list … sessions 5 and 6 seem of especial interest

Nineteenth Annual Conference
April 4-7, 2013 at The University of Georgia
Athens, GA

Call for Papers

The Program Committee for the 2013 Convention:

Margaret Amstutz, University of Georgia
John Burt, Brandeis University
Christopher Ricks, Boston University
Hugh Ruppersburg, University of Georgia
Sarah Spence, University of Georgia
Jeff Stachura, Athens Academy
Elizabeth Wright, University of Georgia

The call for papers for each session is given below; the practice is that at least one participant at each plenary session should derive from this call and that all of the participants in the concurrent seminars will do so. Please note: everybody who participates must be a current member of the ALSCW. The 2013 introductory rate for new members is $37 and renewals are $74.

Proposals of 300 words should be sent as email attachments to Sarah Spence (sspence AT on or before October 1, 2012.

Plenary sessions: All the plenary sessions will be held in the UGA chapel, which is adaptable for many types of presentations, including Power Point and the performance of live music.

Session 1: Literary Impersonation
Organizer: Greg Delanty, St. Michael’s College, VT

This session will explore the benefits and possibilities of poetic ventriloquism, which, in the tradition of Pessoa, Nabokov’s Pale Fire, and Kipling’s fifth book of Horace’s Odes, permits sustained acts of impersonation, such as pseudonymous volumes and invented histories. The panel aims to investigate whether literary impersonation allows poets to explore outside the borders of the more conventional styles of writing, and how writing in other voices affords a release from current fashion and personal inhibitions.

Session 2: Southern Literature on the World Stage
Organizer: Joel Black, University of Georgia

Proposals are invited which situate southern literature and literary traditions in a global context. We are especially interested in submissions tracing neglected linkages between southern and non-southern works. Besides historical and influence studies, papers are welcome which examine thematic correspondences (e.g., familial and dynastic relations, provincialism, racial oppression and violence), as well as stylistic and artistic parallels (e.g., polyphony, gothicism, the carnivalesque) and studies in literary geography that focus on north/south relations in the Americas and elsewhere.

Session 3: Two Takes on Verse Composition
Organizer: Ernest Suarez, Catholic University

Cleanth Brooks, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren and their Circle: The New Criticism and Creative Practice

It has often been claimed that the New Criticism—exemplified by Brooks’ The Well Wrought Urn (1947)—is most effective for considering lyric poetry. Ransom, Warren, Allen Tate, and later John Hollander with other New Critics were accomplished poets who had a profound influence on the proliferation of creative writing programs. We would like to invite papers that consider the interactions between the values, assumptions, and practices associated with the New Criticism and how they relate to creative practice. What do New Critical approaches reveal about creative practice, and how do those qualities manifest themselves in the work of particular critics and poets? How has the New Criticism affected subsequent generations of poets (John Berryman, Donald Justice, James Dickey, Adrienne Rich, Charles Wright, Dave Smith, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Louise Glück or Carl Phillips, for instance)?

Singing the South: Blues and Verse Composition

In the ground-breaking history American Literature: The Makers and the Making (1973), Robert Penn Warren asserted that the blues “represent a body of poetic art unique and powerful” and that “much of the poetry recognized as ‘literature,’ white or black, seems tepid beside it.” The blues are the most indigenous form of southern verse, and have served to integrate poetry and music, influencing a host of poets—including Langston Hughes, the Beats, Sonia Sanchez, and Yusef Komunyakaa—as well as rock lyricists, including Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Wonder. We invite papers that consider the artistic and historical dimensions of blues verse composition. We particularly welcome papers with a focus on Georgia artists, including Ma Rainey, Willie McTell, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Otis Redding, James Brown, Johnny Mercer, REM, The Allman Brothers Band, and Widespread Panic.

Session 4: Translating Asia
Organizer: Jee Leong Koh, The Brearley School

“A good translator is an exquisite ambassador,” writes poet and scholar Waqas Khwaja in his introduction to the 2010 anthology Modern Poetry of Pakistan. “Just as the creative artist suggests new ways of looking at the commonplace, the translator opens up to readers a whole new world, a whole new mode of perception and experience, they may hardly have suspected of existing.” The comparison with an ambassador suggests that a translator be conversant not only with the languages of composition and translation, but also with the different cultures. As Khwaja puts it, “How, despite what are seen as virtually insurmountable odds, can translation happen so that it does not undervalue, misrepresent, or (not an unknown phenomenon) utterly dispense with the original?” The panel aims to consider literature from South, East, and South-east Asia.

Sessions 5 and 6: Power and Persuasion in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Boccaccio’s Decameron
NB: These two sessions will run back to back and conclude with a comparative discussion. The papers will be chosen separately for each session, though some consideration will be given to the compatibility of the two panels.
Organizer: Peter Knox, University of Colorado

The possibilities for deploying the resources of rhetoric and artistic illusion to assert power are topics central to Ovid’s Metamorphoses which recur in the narratives of Boccaccio’s Decameron. Papers are invited that explore these issues in two independent, but coordinated, panels on Ovid and Boccaccio.

Session 5: The debate between Ulysses and Ajax in Book 13 of the Metamorphoses is the most prominent exploration of how a skilled practitioner might manipulate the resources of language to exercise control over an audience. But the potentially deceptive influences of the arts are subjected to a similar exploration in characters such as Arachne, Minerva, Daedalus, and Pygmalion. Readers are challenged to consider whether the text offers an affirmation of the practices of rhetoric and the potential for persuasion in the visual arts, or invites a more nuanced interpretation of the artist’s power over the audience in Ovid and his reception in antiquity or later periods.

Session 6: Characters like the painters Bruno and Buffalmacco, or the itinerant preacher, Frate Cipolla, are masterful manipulators of their audiences. To work their effects, they make use of the latest developments in illusionistic art and rhetorical trickery. One major theme of the Decameron, then, is the unscrupulous artist’s deployment of technique to gain kind of power over others. One reader might think Boccaccio admired such characters and emulated them in his own work, while another might see a complex debate in his text about the power of art to impress for good or ill.

Seminars: The seminars will be held in the special collections library at UGA, where participants are invited to consult the holdings.

1. 1863: What does that date conjure for literary scholars, critics, and writers? In the year in which Sam Clemens began writing as Mark Twain, Jules Verne published his first novel, C. P. Cavafy was born, and Thackeray died, there was also the Emancipation Proclamation, the embattled address at Gettysburg, and the opening of the American prairie to the US Homestead Act. In Britain and on the European continent a new era of arts and letters was encountering the consequences of industrial and political revolution in an expanding world. What about the dawn of the age of expositions and world fairs might be brought forth at an ALSCW seminar 150 years later?

2. Can You Read Poetry on a Kindle?: If the invention of the printing press fundamentally changed literature, is the present age a second Gutenberg Revolution? Are we living through another transformation of the modes of creation and reception of literature? On the other hand, have we misunderstood the nature and effects of these eras? What happens to literature when it is created and read online, through instantly conjured archives, amidst perhaps billions of digitized voices? Should something happen? What are the implications of these and other fundamental or superficial changes, especially for the young? This seminar invites papers on all aspects of such questions about literature and technology.

3. Occupying the Margins: Since the advent of history of the book, marginalia have attracted more positive attention than they used to get; aspects of the practice of writing in the margins of books and other documents from the classical period to the present, whether official or personal, and whether in manuscript or in printed form. . The nature and practice of marginalia will be queried in terms of current and past practices. As we become more aware of the value—for them and for us—of the investment that writers and readers of the past made in marginalia, should we be working actively to reintroduce their practices in ways adapted to modern technology?

4. Editing Diaries: Diaries are highly valuable to researchers seeking to understand the history, religion, economics, politics, and literature of a period. The editing of diaries is a complicated task; what decisions are made and by whom are some of the key questions to be broached in this seminar. We seek papers on any aspect of the editing of diaries. Paper topics might include: the historical, political, economic, or social forces influencing the editing of diaries; the selection or dismissal of editors of diaries; the particular responsibility perceived or assumed by editors of diaries of victims of tragedy; the conflicts over time between subsequent editors of diaries; the self-editing of diaries and the texts resulting from such decisions; the unexpected challenges facing the editors of diaries.

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