“Where are the Wonder Girls? Heroines and Persistence in Campus Novels”
Call for Papers
Modern Language Association Convention
January 7-10, 2021
Enormous reading pleasure can be derived from Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys but where are the wonder girls? Where are American (campus) novels about gallivanting women academics and writers based in academia, getting into trouble, having multiple lovers in different countries, shoplifting, dancing naked in the rain (the list is suggestive, not exhaustive)? Yet novels which are comic, feel-good, and sporting happy endings? There is a discernible tendency to cast as protagonists of campus novels and artist novels unhappy and unlucky women, tormented victims rather than fierce individuals with agency.
I’m seeking papers on representations of women academics and writers in contemporary US campus literature depicting women’s efforts to survive as artists. I’m interested in e.g. how an artist heroine navigates the nexus between and the lacunae of intellectuality, creativity, and sexuality, juggling different roles the society has burdened her with, while battling various obstacles, exterior and interior and, if she doesn’t have an inherited income and a house of her own, being torn between the need to create and the need to live, caught in a double-bind between art and life, succeeding and/or failing as a woman or as an artist. I’m primarily interested in portrayals of active women artists who are protagonists not mere characters.
Please submit a 250-word abstract and brief biography to email@example.com by March 15, 2020.
February 25, 2020 – The New Yorker
“REAL LIFE” IS A NEW KIND OF CAMPUS NOVEL
“Condescension of this kind recurs throughout “Real Life,” a campus novel imagined from the vantage of a character who is usually shunted to the sidelines. Taylor’s début shadows Wallace, a gay black student from a small town in Alabama, through a series of personal and professional skirmishes that complicate the last weekend before his fourth year of graduate school. When the book opens, Wallace is pondering whether he ought to leave his university and the predominantly white, Midwestern town that houses it. The loss of his nematodes is the second death that is introduced in the opening pages. Taylor relegates the first to a numb aside: Wallace’s father has just died. His decision to skip the funeral scandalizes his breezy white friends—one of whom, a histrionic Swede, spent the summer before graduate school summiting a mountain to mourn the death of his grandfather. “It was your dad,” another friend reminds Wallace, as though he does not remember. Wallace seems to like these people—perhaps most of all Miller, a surly, mercurial scientist, and the quietest in their group—but none of them manages to comprehend the “curious shape of his grief, which does not bear the typical dimensions.” Wallace holds his friends at a remove, leaving unexplained the childhood trauma that has predisposed him to introversion and distanced him from his family in the first place.”
Session organized within the framework of the
“Texts and Contexts: The Phenomenon of Boundaries” conference
Vilnius University Kaunas, Faculty of Humanities
This panel aims to explore the representations of different boundaries at work in academic fiction, non-fiction and film, be they referring to genre and its textual fabric, or the reality and different contexts these narratives depict.
Submissions can relate, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- Textual vs. material reality in academic narratives,
- Student-teacher boundaries and off-limits behaviors in academic narratives,
- Divisions in the academe,
- No limits – academic utopias and dystopias,
- Breaking the boundary of realism – sci-fi academic narratives,
- Limits of empathy and identification – academics reading and writing academic novels,
- Frontiers and trailblazers in the academe,
- Probing the limits of truth, or facts and fiction in academic narratives and life writing – autofiction, roman à clef etc.,
- Academic metafiction and breaking down of the fourth wall – writers writing about writers and writing,
- Limitless navel-gazing? Self-reflexivity in academic narratives, or academics writing about academe and academics
- Academic novel – genre boundaries and margins
Please send a short abstract (no more than 200 words) for a 20-minute paper, and a bio note by 6 February, 2017 to the session organizer Marta Lysik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 11, 2014 – The Canberra Times
Gang-gang: The Rosie Project is University of Canberra’s Book of the Year by Ian Warden
“It is about Don Tillman, an autistic, socially-challenged associate professor of genetics who takes a scientific approach to his search for love. He has prepared a 16-page questionnaire to be completed by any candidates for his affections. Rosie, a fiery Ph.D student, is the object of not so much his affections as his calculations.”
September 2014: The Rosie Effect
“A doctoral dissertation not getting written is never just a doctoral dissertation not getting written. It’s always a stand-in for something more consequential (take it from a former grad student who knows). But when we encounter Cressida (Cress) Hartley, the protagonist of Michelle Huneven’s fourth novel, ‘Off Course,’ she doesn’t realize this yet. In fact, she has just persuaded her parents to allow her to live in their vacation cabin in California’s Sierra Nevada for “three months free and clear,” so that she can ‘bang . . . out’ her dissertation in economics.”
May 23, 2014 – The New York Times
Writer’s Retreat. ‘Off Course,’ by Michelle Huneven
By Naomi Fry