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MSA 12: Modernism and the Bildungsroman

While Franco Moretti's influential study of the Bildungsroman in Europe argued that the genre was primarily the symbolic form of the 19th Century, a number of more recent studies have revealed an interest in the wide variety of ways Modernism engaged with the genre. In addition to the tendency to identify Modernism with well-known novels about the development of artists (Joyce, Lawrence), the Modernist interest in concepts of time and interiority potentially opens up new possibilities for accounting for the growth and transformation of selfhood. Possible topics might include: How do Modernist experiments with form and language resist or align themselves with the linear narrative of "coming-of-age"? How is the Bildungsroman used to reconfigure growing up, socialization, and aging in the early 20th Century, both for those coming of age in centers of power and for those on the colonial periphery? Is it possible to have a Bildungsroman about an older person, rather than a youth? Is the Bildungsroman fluid enough to incorporate new 20th Century understandings of subjectivity (inflected by the rise of psychoanalysis, for one), or do new approaches to "the self" inevitably bend the form beyond recognition? And what do we make of the persistence of conventional coming-of-age novels alongside more experimental variants? Papers that deal with the intersections between the Bildungsroman and theories of subjectivity are especially welcome.

Please send proposals of 300 words and a short biographical statement by May 1 to Glenn Clifton at glenn.clifton@utoronto.ca

Conference Location: Victoria, Canada
Conference Starts: November 11, 2010
Conference Ends: November 14, 2010

CFP Submission Deadline: May 01, 2010

For more information, contact: Glenn Clifton

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