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The Wondrous Lives of Modernist Serialities (MSA 19)

Time is a constitutive feature of modernism. One way in which formal experimentation with time manifests itself, this panel argues, is in the practice of serial publication. The serial form, present across media and genres, is more than a mere publishing feature, especially in the early twentieth century, when it was actively used to experiment with time on a formal level, and to reflect on temporality and duration. Furthermore, seriality entails a set of questions that go to the heart of what we understand under modernism today: What is newness? How does the fragment relate to the whole? What does it mean to have uniqueness within repetition? If serials, as Hughes and Lund have argued, became “entwined with the readers’ own sense of lived experience and passing time,” then how does serialization speak to the historical realities of war, modernity, the maturing of capitalism as well as the contemporary realities of digitization and mediatization? In addressing these questions, the panel also looks at the gaps within the serial (which are constituent of its form), and examines key instances where repetition fails or breaks down (lateness or delay, broken seriality or interruption). Most importantly, it asks how modernist experiments with seriality continue to reverberate in contemporary culture, for instance through camp, as recently suggested by Bryant and Dao.

Taking its cue from the work of Mussell, Hughes and Lund, among others, this panel invites contributions on the diverse relationships between modernism and the serial form across different media (periodicals, comics, radio, television); on seriality within genres (serialization of novels, book series, poetry sequences); on repetition; on the fragment and the whole; on inconsistencies, broken chronologies and abandoned experiments in serialization; and, broadly, on the workings, continuation and implications of non-linear modernist temporalities.

Please submit abstracts of 200-300 words and a brief bio to Cedric.VanDijck@ugent.be by Friday, January 27, 2017.


Conference Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Conference Starts: August 10, 2017
Conference Ends: August 13, 2017

CFP Submission Deadline: January 27, 2017

For more information, contact: Cedric Van Dijck

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