[Msa-discuss] Modernist Paratexts (CFP for MSA18, 17-20 November 2016)

Sarah Copland sarah.copland at gmail.com
Fri Feb 26 14:09:33 EST 2016

Modernist Paratexts (CFP for MSA 18, 17-20 November 2016, in Pasadena,

In *Seuils* (1987), Gérard Genette posed a rhetorical question about a
canonical modernist text to highlight the functional importance of the then
largely ignored paratext: “reduced to its text alone and without the help
of any instructions for use, how would we read James Joyce’s *Ulysses* if
it were not called *Ulysses*?” Genette undertook a synchronic structuralist
account of the paratext, the body of productions, such as the title,
author’s name, preface, epigraph, footnote, illustration, or dedicatory
letter, that constitutes the zone of transition and transaction surrounding
a text and presenting it as a text.

This proposed panel, Modernist Paratexts, seeks papers working from the
diachronic angle: What was happening to the paratext in the modernist
period? Which paratextual forms proliferated, which declined, and why? To
what uses was this “privileged site of a pragmatics and a strategy” put? In
what ways was the paratext used by authors and their agents “in the
service, well or badly understood or accomplished, of a better reception of
the text and a more pertinent reading” of it? While Genette’s work
productively frames this panel’s inquiries, all theoretical and critical
approaches to the paratext are welcome. In keeping with the conference
theme “Culture Industries,” papers might consider the new modes of cultural
production and consumption announced or invited by the paratext in the
modernist period.

Potential paper topics include but are not limited to:
--The fate and/or uses of one or more paratextual forms, such as the
preface, epigraph, footnote, illustration, and dedicatory letter; authorial
or non-authorial paratexts; original, subsequent, or belated parataxis
--Paratexts mediating different reading publics
--The paratext and new communication or media technologies
--The paratext in periodicals or little magazines
--The paratext and small printing presses
--The paratext in other art forms or media

Please send an abstract of 350-500 words and a brief bio-bibliographical
statement by March 15 to Sarah Copland (coplands2 at macewan.ca).

Dr. Sarah Copland
Assistant Professor
Department of English
MacEwan University
6-229 City Centre Campus
10700-104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5J 4S2
Tel.: (780) 497-5486
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