[Msa-discuss] CFP: Cinema & Modernism (journal special issue;
abstracts 6 July 2009)
andrew.shail at ell.ox.ac.uk
Wed May 6 18:21:38 EDT 2009
CFP: Cinema & Modernism (journal special issue; abstracts 6 July 2009; note
The relationship between cinema and literary modernism subdivides into many
dynamics, including the shared birth-date (in many accounts) of the two
phenomena, the role played by modernists in originating many of the forms of
minority film culture, the common modernist gesture of affinity for cinema, the
idea that modernist literature was more cinematic than cinema, and the
question of whether cinema is an intrinsically modernist form. This proposed
special issue seeks to deal specifically with cinema as one of the historical
bases for the emergence of literary modernism in the first place, asking how
the emergence of cinema occasioned changes in literary production that were as
substantial as those occasioned by such established modernist historical
contexts as the discovery of the psychodynamic unconscious and the First
World War. Although it is extremely common to remark that modernism is
unimaginable without cinema, can this be substantiated across the whole of
modernism? Was modernism really no more than frosted with formal equivalents of
overtly aesthetic uses of film?
Possible questions to consider include:
What particular social aspects of cinema stimulated writers to rethink the
nature of literary practice and literary institutions?
What widespread tendencies in film production provoked new protocols in writing?
What intrinsic properties of the image proposed epistemological breaks as
substantial as those produced by the rise of collectivism? Or can cinema be
reduced to just a segment of historical modernity?
Does modernist content have its roots in the content of certain films or film
If the First World War stands as modernisms prime precipitating context, then
did cinema in its wartime guise have any part in this?
Did cinemas impact on literature fall into two distinct eras of attractionist
and narratological protocols, or have these two poles always been part of
cinemas pressures on the practices of writing?
Do national differences in producing and imagining cinema have any bearing on
Was cinema anything more than the culmination of a lineage of mass cultural
forms that were occasioning the genesis of modernism long before its actual
The journals to which I intend to propose the issue are (in order of
Journal of Modern Literature; Literature & History; English Literary History;
English Literature in Transition 1880-1920; Modern Fiction Studies; Twentieth-
So as not to waste anyones time, I intend to, if possible, get the special
issue at least provisionally accepted by a journal before asking contributors
to write their articles, meaning that deadlines cannot be predicted now. I will
endeavour to give contributors plenty of time, and I will check with all
contributors should any journal ask us to fill an issue slot that is due sooner
than I would like.
Article length will depend on the journal, but will likely be around 7,000
Please send abstracts, of no more than 300 words, to andrew.shail at ell.ox.ac.uk
by the 6th of July 2009.
Dr Andrew Shail, News International Research Fellow in Film
St Anne's College, Oxford
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