Since it was first noticed in 1887 to be "a peculiar mix of direct and indirect discourse," free indirect discourse has often been understood in paradoxical terms. Ann Banfield deemed it a literary form but "unspeakable." Dorrit Cohn says it creates an identification but not an identity, while for Francis Ferguson it connotes a collective contribution to individuals. Much has been written of late about the origins of free indirect discourse in the tradition of novelists like Austen, Flaubert, and James; interpretations that draw on this literary history tend to emphasize the various disciplinary and ethical models this aspect of novelistic form offers its readers. But might there be other histories and other interpretations? How does free indirect discourse evolve from its initial form and cultural and literary contexts? Are there alternatives to Franco Moretti's recent claim that "not much happened" in FID's western European development? This panel seeks papers that re-examine the history of this curious literary form. Possible paper topics might include: FID in genres other than the novel, FID in non-western European literatures, early discussions of FID, critical free indirect discourse, alternate theories of the novel that engage FID.
Send 300-word abstract by October 15th to Rachel Sagner Buurma rbuurma1 at swarthmore dot edu or James Harker jharker1 at berkeley dot edu.
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