Dienstag, 23. Oktober 2012

Marvel and Wonder in Literature and Literary Theory

via h-germanistik: <zitat>The seminar "Marvel and Wonder in Literature and Literary Theory" will be held at the annual American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) convention from April 4-7, 2013 in Toronto, Canada.

Our panel seeks to explore the concept of wonder and how it functions in literature, both as an emotional response to the foreign and as a stimulus for contemplation and critical reflection. It is through this very emotion, one could argue, that we position ourselves in the world and separate the Self from the Other. Yet, this experience is also what prompts our curiosity for discovery and provokes our search for explanations.

Genres such as travel literature seek to capture these moments of encounter with the foreign in terms of 'content'. Wonder, however, is also an effect that can be sought in the literary 'form' as well and has been a topic of theoretical discussion throughout the ages: from Aristotle (to thaumaston), the medieval Arab world (ta'ajjub), medieval Europe (meraviglia/admiration), the Enlightenment (sublime), to Russian Formalism (defamiliarization/Verfremdung).

We aim at discussing questions such as:

  • How is wonder defined?
  • What are the conditions under which it arises (both in terms of form and content)?
  • Can attitudes towards wonder inform us about the values of a particular cultural/social/historical context andtheir view of themselves in relation to the world?
  • Are there immutable aspects of wonder?
  • What is at stake with wonder?
  • While participating in Orientalism, can it also contribute to cultural understanding and dialogue?
  • How are pleasure and fear related to wonder?
  • The seminar welcomes papers looking at any of these aspects of wonder, in any period and region, either as it is treated theoretically or as an analysis of a literary text. Please submit a 250-words abstract by November 15, 2012 through the following link: http://acla.org/submit/index.php.

    Seminar organizers: Lara Harb (New York University): lara.harb@gmail.com; Reinhard Möller (Justus Liebig Universität Giessen/Cornell University): Reinhard.M.Moeller@gcsc.uni-giessen.de. For any questions, please feel free to contact the seminar organizers directly by e-mail.<zitatende>