[Msa-discuss] Modernists and Modernism in the Biographical Novel

Michael Lackey lacke010 at morris.umn.edu
Sun Mar 30 13:50:15 EDT 2014

CFP for the MSA in Pittsburgh

Panel Title: Modernists and Modernism in the Biographical Novel

The biographical novel is unique in that it blends two seemingly
contradictory activities, the non-fictional act of accurately representing
the biographical subject and the fictional act of inventing characters and
scenes. Before the 1980s, there were only a few significant biographical
novels. But in the 1990s, there was a veritable explosion of this genre of
fiction.  A disproportionate number of contemporary biographical novels
feature modernist writers, such as Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Frida
Kahlo, Stephen Crane, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rainer Maria Rilke, Walter
Benjamin, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Sergey Nabakov, to name just a notable few.

                Is it significant that modernists and modernism figure so
centrally in contemporary biographical novels?  To what degree did
modernist ideas give birth to the contemporary biographical novel?  How is
the biographical novel enabling us to re-imagine modernists and
modernism?  What
prevented prominent modernists from authoring biographical novels?  On this
panel, we will define the nature of this genre of fiction, provide an
overview of its evolution, clarify how it relates to modernists and
modernism, and analyze a few biographical novels.

                Please submit a 250-word abstract and a CV to Michael
Lackey (lacke010 at morris.umn.edu) by May 2nd.
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