Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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Two Calls for Papers at the Annual Conference of the American Literature Association. 
Boston, MA. May 21-24, 2015 

I. Conversations:  Fuller, Alcott, and Others

Margaret Fuller and Louisa May Alcott are often read in separate categories as women writers, one as the exceptional woman of transcendentalism and the other as a writer of sensational tales and children’s fiction.  Yet they were deeply connected through common culture and social networks as well as direct textual influence.  The high romantic discourse of “genius” offered provocations to their creativity.  Fuller herself conducted Conversations for women, including some who in turn mentored Alcott; both were friends and readers of Emerson.  Wider movements and circles extended around their careers, including abolitionism, women’s reform, the Dial and other periodicals, the New England Women’s Club.  Among transatlantic writers influencing or influenced by them were Goethe, de Stael, Sand, Barrett Browning, Bremer.  We propose papers exploring such conversations in any textual, cultural, or biographical terms. We also welcome proposals exploring ideas - women's independence, women in the professions, companionate marriage - discernible in the work of both Fuller and Alcott. Send one-page abstracts (approx. 300 words) by January 19, 2015, to Mary Shelden (mlshelden@vcu.edu).
II. Transatlantic Alcott

Louisa May Alcott’s status as a quintessentially American writer notwithstanding, literature and life on the other side of “the pond” interested her immensely. Her favorite writers included Dickens, Brontë, Goethe, Schiller, de Staël; admiration for their work surely added fuel to her own “burning” genius. New Englander though she was, she took not one but two European tours, producing sketches as well as fiction in response to the experiences. Even in the most American of her novels, Little Women, several chapters take place in Europe, where Amy and Laurie visit many places Louisa experienced on her first European tour in 1865-66. What does Alcott’s writing show about her reading of Europe and European writers?  In what ways does she embrace them? reject them? re-shape them to her particular artistic temperament and to the American experience?  How does she make use of the personal experiences garnered in her travels in Europe, in her non-fiction sketches such as Shawl Straps, and in her fiction (The Inheritance, A Long Fatal Love Chase, the thrillers generally) as well? How might themes in her work be considered to be in dialogue with English and European writers, or with other American writers (Hawthorne, Twain, James) who were looking transatlantically themselves?  One hundred fifty years after Louisa May Alcott (like Amy) first “sailed away to find the old world,” can we consider her Americanness in a broader, more international context?  Send one-page abstracts (approx. 300 words) by January 19, 2015, to Christine Doyle (doylec@ccsu.edu). 



May 24, 2014, American Literature Association Conference Panels. Washington, DC

Session 1: Louisa May Alcott’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century: Moods at 150
Chair: Anne Phillips, Kansas State University
Left to right: Christine Doyle, Mary Shelden, Daniel Shealy, Anne Phillips
“‘Playing with edge tools’: Teaching Louisa May Alcott’s Moods,” Daniel Shealy, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Moods: ‘The Oversoul’ and Oysters,” Christine Doyle, Central Connecticut State University
“'Shakespeare’s Tragedies Became Her Study’: Women’s Genius and the Marriage Question,” Mary Lamb Shelden, Virginia Commonwealth University

Session 2: “I Want Something To Do”: Alcott, Whitman, and Nursing in the Nation’s Capital

  Chairs: Ed Folsom, University of Iowa, and Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, Penn State Altoona

Left to right: Sandy Petrulionis, Emily Waples, J. D. Isip, Ed Folsom, Soeren Froehlich

“Nursing’s Domestic Grotesque: Alcott, Whitman, and the Civil War Wounded,” Emily Waples, University of Michigan
“The Pail Tells the Tale: Blood, Nursing, and the Remade Nation,” Sören Fröhlich, University of California San Diego
“‘This Heart’s Geography’s Map’: Alcott and Whitman Sketching an Affective Landscape,” J.D. Isip, Texas A & M University-Commerce

2013, American Literature Association Conference

"Celebrating the Sesquicentennial of Hospital Sketches: A Teaching Round Table"

(left to right: Society President Mary Shelden, Paul Medeiros, Marlowe Daly-Galeano, James Hewitson, Daniel Shealy)

"Re-visioning Alcott: Her Impact on the Work of Later Writers and Artists"

left to right:

Chair:  Beverly Lyon Clark
Society Secretary Anne Phillips ("'Certainly Reminiscent of Alcott’s Little Women': The Marches, the Penderwicks, and the Family Story as Genre'")
Lauren Rizzuto ("'Jo March Is Pregnant and Laurie's the Father': Fanfiction and Little Women")
Gregory Eiselein ("Louisa May Alcott, Patti Smith, and Punk Aesthetics")