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The Modernist Bildungsroman

In Unseasonable Youth (2011), Jed Esty suggests that the “modernist pressure on bildungsroman conventions goes beyond raising the possibility that the genre can no longer serve those functions” of representing modernity and middle-class identity: “it also raises the possibility that it never did.” Esty’s claim (and other related recent work) challenges us to reexamine the modernist engagement with the tradition of the bildungsroman genre—and to ask just how revolutionary that engagement really was.

This panel welcomes papers that deal with the “modernist bildungsroman” broadly construed. Some questions that might be considered: is there a tradition of modernist bildungsroman writing? What aspects of the socio-historical environment of modernism should be reconsidered in the light of that genre? Is modernism itself a story of development/education, or if not, how not? Most importantly, how do different perspectives on or treatments of the classic bildungsroman form (gender, race, sexuality) suggest new ways of approaching the genre?

Papers on single authors/works and broader theoretical discussions of the genre will both be considered. Please send a 300 word abstract and a CV or short bio to Matthew Burroughs Price at mbprice@psu.edu by April 14, 2015.


Conference Location: Boston, MA, USA
Conference Starts: November 19, 2015
Conference Ends: November 22, 2015

CFP Submission Deadline: April 14, 2015

For more information, contact: Matthew Burroughs Price

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