MSA 11: Aesthetic Depictions of Violence in Modernist Literature, 1890-1940When Oscar Wilde rhetorically asked, in 1891, What is the death of a vague individual if it enables an immortal word to blossom and to create, in Keats words, an eternal source of ecstasy? his lart pour lart glorification of aesthetic violence was surely intended to provoke reactions from middle-class Victorians. Stylistic renderings of violence, however, run throughout British, Irish, Continental and American modernist literature. Walter Benjamins famous 1936 diagnosis, that mankinds self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order, provided an early definition of fascist modernism, but scenes of physical and psychic violence in modernist texts continue to complicate our readings of these works.
This panel seeks to examine the roles aesthetic violence play in international modernist literature between 1890 and 1940. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
Contextualizing the role(s) of aesthetic violence in movements such as Futurism and Vorticism.
Anti-Enlightenment violence and the cult of the instinct
Female modernists participation in, and/or resistance to, aesthetic violence
Anti-colonial modernist depictions of violence
Literature of the Harlem Renaissance and the aesthetics of primitivism and/or slavery
Modernist literary use of psychoanalytic theories of the oedipal complex and castration
Modernist interpretations of violent mythology
Apocalyptic modernist visions
Destruction as renewal in modernist literature
Modernist depictions of war
Please send a brief biographical statement and abstracts of no more than 300 words to Dr. Jennifer Gilchrist (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 1, 2009.
Conference Location: Montreal, Canada
Conference Starts: November 05, 2009
Conference Ends: November 08, 2009
CFP Submission Deadline: May 01, 2009
For more information, contact: Jennifer Gilchrist