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CFP: 21st-Century Theories of Literature: Ethics, Tropes, Attunement

University of Warwick, 6-8/4/2017

NB: the deadline for the call for papers has been extended until 25/1. We particularly welcome new proposals on the themes of “tropes” and “attunement”.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Derek Attridge (York); Claudia Brodsky (Princeton); Maximilian de Gaynesford (Reading); Anthony Ossa-Richardson (Southampton); Constantine Sandis (Hertfordshire); Catherine Wearing (Wellesley College).

Following the success of the 2014 conference “21st-Century Theories of Literature: Essence, Fiction and Value”, which drew over eighty participants from across the globe and several of whose papers are about to be published as essays in Andrea Selleri and Philip Gaydon (eds.), Literary Studies and the Philosophy of Literature: New Interdisciplinary Directions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016 – forthcoming), this conference seeks to broaden the avenues of conversation between aesthetics and literary studies that were opened on that occasion by prompting scholars from both fields to engage with each other in an actively interdisciplinary study of topics shared by literature and philosophy.

This time, too, there will be three overarching themes: (1) Ethics; (2) Tropes; (3) Attunement. The main questions to be explored are, respectively: (1) whether and how literature and ethics can provide reciprocal illumination, and how each field’s established lines of enquiry can help the other; (2) how literary studies and the philosophy of literature negotiate non-literal meaning, and the linguistic models which the respective practices imply; (3) how the theories and practices of the two fields can be brought to bear on one another. For each of these themes there will be parallel sessions with papers by scholars at all stages of their careers, and a double keynote session that will feature established scholars from each field.

Abstracts of 400-500 words for 20-minute presentations should be sent to the organisers at fveconference@live.warwick.ac.uk by 25/1/2017. We would particularly appreciate an engagement with both philosophical and literary-critical literature, but this is not a requirement as long as your argument is broad enough to be of interest to a large interdisciplinary audience. We welcome case studies and historical analyses, as long as there is an explicit theoretical dimension to the discussion. Possible themes may include but are not limited to:

– Illustrations of ethical themes in fiction
– Illumination of ethical themes through fiction
– Doing, deeds and actions and consequences in fiction
– Narrative and the formation of character
– Fiction as experimentation with situation and response
– Narration and judgement
– Fiction and habitus
– Implied attitudes in literature
– The ethics of reading

– Literary vs figurative meaning
– Tropes as conveyors of philosophical meaning
– Tropes and genre
– Tropes across and between cultures
– The evolution of tropes in history
– Tropes and quantitative literary theory
– Reading protocols and figurative language
– Tropes and the history of hermeneutics
– Tropes in expository vs non-expository prose

– Generality and particularity in literature and philosophy
– Literary affect and hermeneutic interpretation
– Literary immediacy and concept generation
– Modes of argument: what could each field take from the other
– Literary plots: cases/examples for philosophers?
– Literary works as case studies to illustrate philosophical issues: enrichment or appropriation?
– The limits of language and how to tackle them
– Philosophical contributions of “literary” writers
– Philosophers and style

This conference is organised by Andrea Selleri (Warwick), Marianna Ginocchietti (Trieste), Alex Underwood (Warwick), Giulia Zanfabro (Trieste), and it is made possible by the generous funding of the British Society of Aesthetics and of Warwick’s Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts.