[Msa-discuss] CFP for MLA special session about biofiction and modernism

Michael Lackey lacke010 at morris.umn.edu
Sun Jan 17 17:29:16 EST 2016

CFP for a special session at the 2017 MLA

Biofiction and Modernism

Biofiction, literature that names its protagonist after an actual
historical figure, first became popular in the 1930s.  Thomas and Heinrich
Mann, Arna Bontemps, Zora Neale Hurston, Robert Graves, Irving Stone, and
Bruno Frank are just a few who authored biographical novels in the 1930s.
But many contemporary writers have authored biofictions about prominent
modernist figures, including Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Gertrude Stein,
Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, George Remus, Rainer Maria Rilke,
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Walter Benjamin, Ernest Hemingway, Frida Kahlo, Zelda
and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Robert Frost, just to mention a few.  What
role did modernism play in making biofiction both possible and popular?
How can we use contemporary biofictions to understand or re-imagine
modernism?  How is the biographical novel different from the historical
novel?  And how does the biographical novel engage history and critique the
political?  These are just a few questions worth considering.  Please feel
free to come up with different ways of framing the issue.

For those interested in biofiction and modernism, please send a 250-word
abstract to Michael Lackey (lacke010 at morris.umn.edu) by February 15th.
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