The Department of French at New York University
announces its annual Graduate Conference:
La Vie de l’œuvre : inception, reproduction
February 22-23, 2008
L’œuvre: the “work,” one of the most ubiquitous terms in the study of literature, is also, paradoxically, one of the most disputed and difficult to define. One consistent attribute of the notion of a work has been a strongly organic metaphor, one which construes the work as an organism: as something beginning with a birth and stretching through various stages of life. In the past century, the life of the notion itself has been a tumultuous one indeed. Forty years on from the famous proclamation of the “death of the author,” in 1968, and the postmodern unmooring of the work in subsequent decades, this conference seeks to ask, in the first place: what of the work today? What constitutes a work, and how is this process carried out? What is the ontological or epistemological status of the work in literature and contemporary literary criticism, and what might lie ahead? Is the organic metaphor of the work still cogent?
The second, related aim of the conference is to consider the lives of particular works, both real and fictional: to explore the trajectories of works from their conception and composition through their innumerable avatars. Former lives, future lives and afterlives, re-editions, whole series of descents into oblivion, resurrections and reincarnations plot the lives of works, from their earliest germs up through their (re)conceptions and receptions across the generations of authors and readers. How do works change (or not) in the course of their lives? How are literary works (re)appropriated and integrated in other works?
What, moreover, are the forces that fashion a work’s life? How do material considerations—media and technology, circulation and edition, reading practices and performance, archives and libraries—affect and shape works? What are the fictions of the literary work that circulate in both literature and reality? What, finally, is the relationship or relevance of the author’s (or the reader’s) intention to the work?
Graduate students from all disciplines are invited to present 15- to 20-minute papers addressing the topic of “la vie de l’œuvre” within the context of French and Francophone literary and cultural studies. 300- to 500-word abstracts should be submitted to email@example.com no later than December 21, 2007. Papers may be in French or English.
Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:
o literary (re)appropriations: imitation, translation, citation, plagiarism, parody, pastiche, « le mythe de la filiation » and literary heritage, palimpsestes, para-texts, political recuperations of works
o representations of works in literature: mise en abyme, the imaginary of the work, « l’œuvre à venir », le fantasme de l’œuvre ou du chef d’œuvre, the life’s work
o representations of works of literature: performance, adaptation to the stage, cinematic adaptations, mise en scène and text, the director and the text, festivals
o media and technology: the literary work in the internet age, the future of the work (and of the book), hypertexts, the work between media, multi-media works, the work as object
o the theory of the work: désœuvrement, the Work and the Text
o literary taxonomies: genre, canonization and periodization
o the work as « patrimoine », literary archives, libraries and collections
o organic metaphors of the reader-work relationship: consumption, cannibalism, necrophilia
o genetic studies, collected works, history of editions, the circulation of works, posthumous writings, plagiarism and intellectual property, « le droit moral
For more information, please contact the Conference Committee at the above email address.
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