Where is nature in modernism? From Woolf’s Kew Gardens to Eliot’s The Waste Land, Modernist authors privileged the nature motif in their works. Literary critics have historically aligned Modernism with the urban and commercial growth of the industrial era, even though many authors—such as Cather and Keats—privileged literary ecologies. This panel will explore readings of the nature motif in Modernist novels and poems. We will begin by asking how Modernism’s literary heritage—the genres of Romanticism, Victorian, Transcendentalism and Naturalism—affected the Modernist positioning of nature and ecology. Panelists will explore how the motifs of sky, soil, sea operate as nature topography in Modernist texts, as well as how vital and frivolous features of the material earth amplify textual themes. Panelists will consider both pastoral and aesthetic decay motifs, artistic movements, as well as the operation of ancient and modern ecosystems. We will ask: how do these aesthetic encounters of nature provide new textual readings? In what ways do Modernist texts juxtapose industrialization with the preservation of nature? How does the concept of “transnational natures” operate in Modernist texts?
This panel examines how Modernist authors privilege nature motifs in their works. Panel participants should examine through theoretical lenses canonic or non-canonic Modernist texts. Preference will be given to texts that employ transnational themes. 500 word abstract/CV by 9/30 to Sophie Lavin, NeMLA Women’s Caucus Rep at: email@example.com with subject line “NeMLA ModernNature submission.”
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