The 46th Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900

February 22-24

 

Literatures and/of Waste

Orchid Tierney, University of Pennsylvania

Seminar: Women and Life Writing in the Era of Modernism

Ella Ophir, University of Saskatchewan e.ophir@usask.ca, and Laurel Harris, Rider University, lharris@rider.edu



Diaries, letters, autobiographies, biographies, memoirs: this seminar invites papers examining all forms of life writing created, edited, reviewed, recovered, or interpreted by women in the modernist era. What was the relative status of these different genres of life writing, and in what ways did women leverage them? How did women define and assert the value of such forms? How did they understand the relationship of life writing to literature on one hand, and to history on the other? To what extent did they seek to maintain or to elide such categorizations? This seminar aims to develop recent work that begins remapping modernism through its complex relations with life writing. Max Saunders' Self-Impression, Maria Battista and Emily O. Wittman's Modernism and Autobiography, and John Paul Riquelme's special issue of Modern Fiction Studies have begun to demonstrate how rich an array of modernist texts may be read anew in connection with life writing, and how productive life writing can be as an angle of inquiry into central issues in modernist aesthetics, psychology, and cultural politics. This seminar will explore further how the various forms of life writing were specifically inflected by gender, and how engagements with life writing entailed distinct stakes, liabilities, and possibilities for women writers.


Please send a brief paper proposal (100-150 words) to e.ophir@usask.ca and lharris@rider.edu. Completed papers should be no more than 4 to 5 double-spaced pages, and must be submitted to the organizers by January 20 for circulation to the group.