113th Annual Conference - Portland, Oregon
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8, 2015

Literature and Global Crisis I

Session Chair: 
Heidi Schlipphacke, University of Illinois, Chicago
Session 2: Friday 10:40am-12:10pm
Directors Suite (PH-ET)


  1. Richard Sperber, Carthage College
    Bolaño’s novel from 1998 echoes Ulrich Beck’s concept of global crisis which stresses the dissolution of cultural traditions and a growing emphasis on the individual’s self-construction and performance. The novel’s portrait of three experimental writers and its own narrative self-reflexivity show how literature contributes to the accumulation of risks in contemporary society.
  2. Boram Kim, Sogang University (South Korea)
    W. H. Auden in “September 1, 1939,” though he reveals his own detachment and propaganda to WW2, hints at an alternative way of dealing with catastrophe from afar. Though it may be impossible to reconcile contradictive reality, he chooses to take on the mental responsibility about the unchanging world.
  3. Clara Tschudi-Campbell, University of California at Davis
    This paper takes up Moretti’s challenge to “read distantly” in the face of global crisis. It presents an experiment in reading Alice Notely’s Descent of Alette by graphically mapping the poems, and thus demonstrates how poetry can register the conditions of our society in crisis and reveal both the structural contradictions and the potentials of such a society.
  4. Andrea Gogrof, Western Washington University
    This paper argues that Houellebecq’s controversial novel Soumission is less a political fiction than a reformulation of the big questions of meaning and purpose of life as they were articulated by Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche in philosophy and Charles Baudelaire and Joris-Karl Huysmans in literature. The Schopenhauerian “ambiance of resignation” (Houellebecq) that pervades the novel, I will show, is counteracted by a distinct commitment to life that expresses itself in ironic fashion through a uplifting and even tender realism.  
Session Cancelled: