“Displacements: The Novel without Frontiers in the Long 19th Century”
Seminar at ACLA 2017
University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
July 6-9, 2017
This seminar develops out of a project on “Displacements: The Novel without Frontiers” hosted by the University of Warwick and the University of São Paulo and funded in part by the British Academy and the São Paulo Research Foundation.
The seminar organizers invite papers that theorize the position, circulation, and transnational life of the novel in the long nineteenth century and speak to the concerns below. Of particular interest is the relationship between the development of the novel during this period and the growth of the periodical press. Papers may focus on a single geographical region or linguistic context, or may work comparatively. They may analyze a single novel or a set of novels or study translations or remediations of novels. The organizers also encourage scholars working on book-history and sociological approaches to literature to join them.
Although an important tool in myriad processes of nation-building and national identity across the globe, since its rise and consolidation in the long nineteenth century, the novel has never recognized any frontiers. Through transmigration and transculturation, it has challenged what constitutes a polity or nation and what is internal or foreign to these boundaries. This porousness manifests itself in the intersections, the mutual appropriations and cross-fertilizations that have always characterized the genre—as hybrid, mixed, mimetic, and cosmopolitan par excellence. The questions motivating the seminar are: 1) how a literary form thought to be enmeshed in a specific historical process—that of the rise of the European bourgeoisie and capitalism – could travel and prosper in other environments; 2) how it accommodates the new cultural landscape; 3) how it does and does not translate new realities and different contents across linguistic borders; 4) how the genre changes in response to the new uses and new situations in this new time and place. The common object tying together these strands is, therefore, a desire to map the contexts and relevance of these displacements and to investigate the synergies between the foundation and consolidation of the novel and its literary system in Brazil, Britain, and beyond.
Using the theme of “displacements” as its springboard, the seminar aims to bring together work being done in the subfields of world literature, book history, postcolonial studies, and gender studies to chart the development of the novel as both a phenomenon that develops out of the specific circumstances of European industrialization, capitalism, and imperialism, as scholars long have recognized, but also a genre that resists these metanarratives both in terms of its transnational appeal and readership and in terms of “indigenization”/“indigeneity” in contexts like Latin America, India, China, and Africa. For more information on the seminar and to submit papers, please visit: http://www.acla.org/displacements-novel-without-frontiers-long-19th-century.