American Literature

at Cambridge

Author: David Winters

American Literature Symposium: “American Stuff”

Saturday 14 May, 2016
GR06/7, Faculty of English, 9 West Road, Cambridge

Keynotes: David Brauner (Reading), Pamela Thurschwell (Sussex)

Defending his unadorned, realist style, William Dean Howells remarked in a 1903 letter to Charles Norton: ‘I am not sorry for having wrought in common, crude material so much; that is the right American stuff.’ Bringing together graduate students and faculty from the University of Cambridge and beyond, this one-day symposium examines the kinds of ‘stuff’ that constitute American life, asking what role ‘common, crude material’ might play in literary and cultural history.

Twitter: @AmericanLitCam / #camamstuff

Registration is free, but places are limited. To register, please email als.cam.2016@gmail.com

PROGRAMME

08:30 – 09:15 Registration

09:15 – 10:30 Panel 1: Miniature Connections

Chair: Fiona Green (Cambridge)

Brendan Gillott (Cambridge)
American in Miniature: Models as Mereology in Charles Olson

Wen Li Toh (Cambridge)
James Merrill’s poetics of surface

Alexander Spencer (Cambridge)
Evocations of Walt Whitman in the Contemporary American Novel

10:30 – 10:45 Break

10:45 – 12:00 Panel 2: American Collections

Chair: Kristen Treen (Cambridge)

Gabrielle Linnell (Cambridge)
The ‘mazed minds’ of Anne Bradstreet

Christy Wensley (Cambridge)
From Daisy Miller to Milly Theale: the American Girl as the Stuff for James

Diarmuid Hester (Sussex)
The Stuff of Fiction: Hoarding Manhattan

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:00 Keynote 1

David Brauner (Reading)
‘Speaking of himself in the third person’: Self-Reflexivity and Subjectivity in Saul Bellow’s Short Fiction

14:15 – 15:30 Panel 3: Grammars of Affect

Chair: Edward Allen (Cambridge)

Ryan McRae Arnold (Cambridge)
Life at the Yam Level: Race, Stuff, and the Cruelty of Optimism in Ellison’s Invisible Man

Mathilde Sergent (Cambridge)
‘Fuzzy Football’: Material Jokes in Lorrie Moore’s ‘You’re Ugly Too’

Lola Boorman (Cambridge)
The Grammatical Exercise in Lydia Davis’s Stories

15:30 – 15.45 Break

15:45 – 17:00 Panel 4: Virtually Contemporary Stuff

Chair: Kasia Boddy (Cambridge)

George Cox (Oxford)
‘…Since these were only words, they tasted like excellent dark chocolate’: Scatology, Sex, and Superficiality in the novels of Jonathan Franzen

Penny Cartwright (Cambridge)
A vast undefined anarchism: Politicizing Thomas Pynchon’s Internets in Bleeding Edge

Jurrit Daalder (Oxford)
Rough Stuff: Authorial Cruelty in the work of George Saunders

17:15 – 18:15 Keynote 2:

Pamela Thurschwell (Sussex)
The Writing on the Wall: Adolescent Futures at Centuries’ Ends (Jude the Obscure (1895), The Awkward Age (1899) and Ghost World (1997))

26 November: Jane Elliott on the Microeconomic Mode

12 November: Adam Kelly on David Foster Wallace

CFP: Network of American Periodical Studies Symposium

American into Periodical Studies, The British Library, 18th December, 2015.

The Network of American Periodical Studies (NAPS) is a new research initiative that aims to bring together scholars working on American periodicals (magazines, newspapers and other periodical publications) from any historical period.

The first NAPS symposium seeks to explore and debate some of the theoretical, methodological and practical implications of the rise of periodical studies for American Studies. We welcome papers on the publication, production, dissemination and reception of American periodicals from the colonial to the contemporary periods and we encourage colleagues to reflect on how periodical studies might provide new ways of thinking about and interpreting the cultural history of the Americas. To what extent, for instance, does the study of periodicals challenge the boundaries circumscribing ‘America’ as a nation? What is the role of the American periodical in the public sphere and how has it changed? How do periodicals map the spaces of America? In what ways do periodicals reinforce and/or transgress the divide between literature and journalism? How does the material history of print culture offer alternative ways of reading and interpreting the complex and often contradictory identities of America? What is the impact of digitization on research into American periodical studies and to what extent does the study of periodicals offer new pedagogic opportunities for American Studies?

Included in the day’s activities will be a workshop on the British Library’s American periodicals holdings, an invited plenary lecture as well as lunch and a wine reception. In addition and as an option for those not wishing to give a presentation, there will be an informal research forum providing the opportunity for scholars to give a five minute summary of their research.

This event is co-hosted and supported by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, the University of Sussex and Northumbria University with additional support from the British Association of American Studies.

Abstracts of 250-300 words are invited for twenty minute papers by October 31st, 2015. Please send to: Victoria.Bazin@northumbria.ac.uk .

Should you wish to present a summary of your research in the research forum please submit a title by October 31st, 2015 to: Victoria.Bazin@northumbria.ac.uk

Registration fee: £20.00

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