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Aging and Inheritance in Modernist Literature

David Rosen, in Power, Plain English, and the Rise of Modern Poetry, proclaims that "Modern poetry was never young." Can any similar claims be made for the Modernist novel? Miss La Trobe, the aging playwright in Woolf's Between the Acts, listens to the fertile mud of the history of language, hoping to re-absorb her cultural inheritance in preparation to write another play. Lady Slane, the octogenarian protagonist of Vita Sackville-West's All Passion Spent, refuses the inheritance of a large sum of goods as a form of resistance to capitalist worldliness. This panel will explore the way that modernist authors take up the position of maturity or old age in order to confront their cultural inheritance. How does the older subject, steeped in the past herself, deal with the metaphorical and literal inheritances that connect the Modernist period with what came before? Is the mature subject in Modernist works world-weary, marked by conservatism and the renunciation of new possibilities? Or is he or she capable of drawing on a long life to assist her in the creative, critical, and dynamic re-interpretation of the even longer historical past that Modernists must negotiate? Papers that address issues of aging and gender are especially welcome.

Please send a 300-400 word abstract and a bio of 2-3 sentences by April 10 to glenn.clifton@utoronto.ca


Conference Location: Buffalo, USA
Conference Starts: October 06, 2011
Conference Ends: October 09, 2011

CFP Submission Deadline: April 10, 2011

For more information, contact: Glenn Clifton

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