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

Narrative and Time III: Timely and Untimely Interventions in Contemporary U.S. Fiction

Session Chair: 
Jeffrey Severs, University of British Columbia
Session 3: Friday 2:00-3:30pm
Rogue (PMCC)


  1. Jae Sharpe, The University of British Columbia (Canada)
    Portraying characters as disembodied and decontextualized voices, William Gaddis’s novel J R draws analogs between the behaviour of individuals who comprise corporations and the practices of these corporations within the larger context of American multinational involvement in international politics in the 1960s-70s, both of which are characterized by their fragmented, partial presence acting as a strategy for the unrestricted accumulation of resources and financial assets.
  2. Theodore Miller, Independent Scholar
    This presentation provides a reading of a selection of George Saunders' fiction, arguing that Saunders' work has consistently provided a post-postmodern intervention that has sought to combat the anxieties of the era with empathetic understanding.
  3. Jeffrey Severs, University of British Columbia
    This paper explores ideas and images of contracts – from book deals to the social contract – in contemporary writers including William Gaddis, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Franzen. The paper argues that, counterintuitively, these writers (especially Gaddis and Wallace) are largely wary of contracts, particularly as a metaphor for understanding the reader/writer relationship and forms of democratic agency. The essay touches as well on the political and economic contexts, especially neoliberalism, in which these writers fashion their contractual metaphors.
Session Cancelled: