[Msa-discuss] CFP: Cinema & Modernism (journal special issue; abstracts 6 July 2009)

Andrew Shail 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 
extended deadline)

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 modernism’s prime precipitating context, then 
did cinema in its wartime guise have any part in this?
Did cinema’s impact on literature fall into two distinct eras of attractionist 
and narratological protocols, or have these two poles always been part of 
cinema’s pressures on the practices of writing?
Do national differences in producing and imagining cinema have any bearing on 
national modernisms?
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-
Century Literature.

So as not to waste anyone’s 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

More information about the Msa-discuss mailing list