Fragmentary Writing in Contemporary British and American Fiction
Wrocław, Poland, 22-23 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 15 March 2017
Conference website: http://ensconferences.vanessaguignery.com/
University of Wrocław and École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
In 1968, Donald Barthelme had one of his narrators declare: “Fragments are the only forms I trust.” The last decades have brought a number of acclaimed novels in Britain and the US that illustrate their authors’ interest in fragmentary structures. David Mitchell constructed Cloud Atlas (2005) out of six stories with different settings, characters and generic features. David Markson produced an 800-page-long tetralogy, culminating in The Last Novel (2007), which juxtaposes several thousand succinct anecdotes and quotations with metafictional references to the elusive authorial figure. The year 2014 saw the publication of three notable fragmentary novels: Will Eaves’s The Absent Therapist – an amalgam of the voices of 150 speakers, Richard McGuire’s Here – a graphic novel created out of over 150 images (non-chronologically arranged) of the same location throughout several million years, and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation – an account of a marriage crisis narrated with the use of several hundred loosely connected paragraphs. As the example of Cloud Atlas – alongside those of Zadie Smith’s NW, Anne Enright’s The Green Road and, most recently, Julian Barnes’s The Noise of Time – demonstrates, fragmentation is not only the domain of niche, “experimental” writing.
Although it may have arguably earlier origins, fragmentation has been a vital aspect of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature. Several canonical novels of modernism – such as Ulysses and The Waves – could be classified as fragmentary, since they are constructed in parts that refuse to cohere, and as Gabriel Josipovici suggested, the fragmented form of modernist works may be seen as a response to the human need to escape linearity. More radical examples of fragmented novels were written in the 1960s and 70s by authors sometimes associated with postmodernism: J.G. Ballard, John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, B.S. Johnson and Gabriel Josipovici, among others. Despite the fact that many renowned novelists have contributed to fragmentary writing, the term itself is rarely used in Anglophone criticism. The aim of our conference is to postulate a renewed engagement with fragmentary literature. We are particularly interested in contemporary writing and invite papers that approach chosen aspects of fragmentation in British and American fiction published over the last five decades (post-1966). We wish to examine the typical ingredients of the fragmentary mode (such as enumeration, non-linearity and the unconventional layout of the page), the mechanics of organising the disparate parts, and the various rationales for writing in fragments.
Proposals may consider but are not limited to:
- the extent to which fragmentation in contemporary literature borrows from modernist (or postmodernist) experiments and the degree to which it creates its own aesthetics,
- the correspondence between literary fragmentation and the social, political and technological reality of the contemporary world (e.g., Twitter fiction),
- the influence of various art forms (particularly the visual arts and cinema) on literary fragmentation (e.g., Joseph Frank’s notion of “spatial form” and Sharon Spencer’s conception of the “architectonic novel”),
- the fragmentation of a single monolithic reassuring voice into a myriad of voices,
- the physical fragmentation of the page,
- card-shuffle texts,
- forking-path narratives,
- novels built out of potentially self-contained parts (blurring the distinction between the novel and the collection of short stories),
- generic eclecticism and the aesthetics of mash-up,
- collage-like works, altered fictions and other examples of appropriation.
Dr Alison Gibbons – Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, author of Mark Z. Danielewski, Multimodality, Cognition, and Experimental Literature (2014) and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (2014).
Dr Grzegorz Maziarczyk – Assistant Professor of English and American Literature at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, author of The Narratee in Contemporary British Fiction (2005) and The Novel as Book: Textual Materiality in Contemporary Fiction in English (2013).
Guest writer to be announced soon.
Conference fee: 75 euros
Scientific Committee: Prof. Vanessa Guignery, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon; Dr Wojciech Drąg, University of Wrocław; Dr Marcin Tereszewski, University of Wrocław
Organising Committee: Prof. Vanessa Guignery, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon; Dr Wojciech Drąg, University of Wrocław; Ewa Błasiak, MA, University of Wrocław; Krzysztof Jański, University of Wrocław; Jakub Krogulec, MA, University of Wrocław; Angelika Szopa, MA, University of Wrocław
(posted 19 April 2016)
7th Biennial International Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English (BICLCE)
University of Vigo, Spain, 28-30 September 2017
Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2017
We invite papers on every aspect of the linguistics of contemporary English.
Conference website: http://biclce2017.webs.uvigo.es
Any enquiries about the conference should be sent to email@example.com.
The attention devoted to the linguistics of the English language has resulted in a broad body of work in diverse research traditions. The aim of the BICLCE (formerly ICLCE) conference is to encourage the cross-fertilisation of ideas between different frameworks and research traditions addressing the linguistics of contemporary English. Previous conferences were held in Edinburgh (2005), Toulouse (2007), London (2009), Osnabrück (2011), Austin TX (2013) and Madison WI (2015), along the same lines. We aim for the conference in Vigo to build on the success of those events.
BICLCE2017 aims to provide a platform for work which deals with contemporary varieties of English, in terms of their phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, etc., in any way which aims to be explanatory. Traditionally in this conference, syntax (specifically constructions), sociolinguistics, processing and discourse analysis are four of the focus areas. We invite proposals on these and other areas, such as variationist work which engages with issues of linguistic structure. We do not envisage work which is purely historical, but work which brings in diachrony in order to explain the structure of Present-Day English is certainly welcome.
The following speakers have agreed to deliver plenary addresses at BICLCE2017:
- Teresa Fanego (University of Santiago de Compostela)
- Martin Hilpert (University of Neuchâtel)
- Padraic Monaghan (Lancaster University)
- Jennifer Smith (University of Glasgow)
- Anja Wanner (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
We invite abstract submissions for (a) 20-minute paper presentations, (b) thematic workshops, and (c) poster presentations. The deadline is 31 January 2017.
Abstract submissions will be handled via EasyABS at the following URL: http://goo.gl/u5uqS8
PAPERS. Abstracts for 20-minute presentations should be no longer than 350 words (excluding references). They should be submitted as a .PDF file or in MS Word document format (.doc or .docx). Please use only common phonetic fonts such as SIL. The abstract document itself should be anonymous, i.e. it must not contain the name of the author(s).
THEMATIC WORKSHOPS. Colleagues interested in organising athematic workshop are also welcome to submit a proposal. This should start with a description of the overall panel up to one page in length, followed by abstracts for all papers included. For abstracts, please use the same format as for paper submissions (see above).
POSTERS. Posters will be presented in a special session and remain on display during the conference. Please use the same format as for paper submissions (see above).
SUBMISSION. At the top of the abstract – preceding the title – please:
(1) State whether you are submitting a proposal for a 20-minute presentation, for one of the planned thematic workshops, or for a poster session.
(2) List one or several subfield(s) of contemporary English linguistics that your work pertains to. This information helps us to assign your abstract to the right reviewers. You may choose from among the following list and/or name additional subfields where appropriate: Cognitive linguistics, Computer-mediated communication, Corpus linguistics, Language acquisition, Lexicography and lexicology, Morphology and morphosyntax, Phonetics and phonology, Pragmatics, Processing, Psycholinguistics, Semantics, Sociolinguistics, Syntax, Typology, Varieties of English, Variationist research.
You may submit more than one abstract but we will accept a maximum of two abstracts from any one person for presentation (one joined, one single-authored), as this allows more people to take part in the conference.
All abstracts will be reviewed anonymously.
Notification of acceptance will be sent out by 15 March 2017.
There are plans for publishing a peer-reviewed selection of papers from the conference, most likely in thematically coherent volumes which will be submitted for the consideration of international publishers.
The conference language will be English.
Time for general sessions and workshop presentations: 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions/discussion
(posted 6 June 2016)