The Rodopi Press Dialogue Series seeks proposals for new writings to be included in a volume of critical essays devoted to Pulitzer-prize winning author Marilynne Robinson’s fiction with specific emphasis on the novels Gilead and Home, as well as her third novel, Housekeeping, and her collected and uncollected essays. The volume seeks submissions in the following areas:
● Robinson’s ecological concerns and their relationship to her spirituality and aesthetics.
● Robinson’s influence on contemporary writers via her work in the Iowa Writers Workshop.
● Robinson and mid-Western American writing. Submissions may focus specifically on late 19th century Midwestern regionalism or, broadly, on 20th century Midwestern authors.
● Robinson and portrayals of the American small town, including more recent examples (such as Richard Russo’s Empire Falls). Essays might consider how Robinson engages with many negative or satiric depictions of small town life in American fiction and drama.
● Robinson’s portrayal of domestic spaces and her apparent anti-sentimentalism. Themes could include filial relations, reversed parent roles, food, illness, death, grieving.
● Robinson and the politics of memory, especially bearing upon continuing debates over what it means to be living in a “post-Civil Rights era.”
● Robinson in relation to popular religious fiction. Examples of popular religious writing would include not only the overexposed genre of apocalyptic thrillers, but also romances, westerns, novelizations of Bible stories, or historical novels. Does Robinson represent the alterity to Christian genre fiction or are there points of overlap?
● Can recent attempts, by John McClure (among others), to define “the post-secular” in American literature adequately theorize Robinson’s ideas about faith, conversion, enchantment, multiculturalism, activism, and the public sphere?
● Robinson’s interventions in the “Culture Wars”: “we want the past back,” she says in The Death of Adam, “but we don’t know what it was.” To what past does Robinson point us for instruction?
● Robinson has long been affiliated with Congregationalism and has written about characters whose theologies and sensibilities are permeated by the Calvinist tradition. How does Robinson’s positioning of Calvinism in American thought and politics compare with that of other writers and scholars?
● Robinson interpreted theologically. Conceptual lenses could include: divine grace, agape, assurance, communion, sin, theodicy, cosmology, messianism, apologetics, ethics, nonbelief.
● With John Updike’s passing, Robinson is now the most critically acclaimed Protestant author in the U. S. (though far less prolific). Would we gain from considering her high profile Protestantism in light of the example of Updike’s long career, which often saw controversy over his stances, both perceived and avowed?
● Robinson’s international reputation. She has been interviewed for the Paris Review, but does her work, which is so often focused on what might appear to be parochial settings and situations, promise to become (or is it already becoming) part of “a world republic of letters,” to borrow Pascale Casanova’s phrase?
The volume’s editors will consider submissions across a range of writing styles and scholarly methods in order to achieve a collection of the most compelling and readable essays. Scholars, advanced doctoral students, artists and independent intellectuals are invited to submit.
Send C.V. and 500 word proposal (with contact information) to Jason Stevens Visiting Professor, UMBC 2012-13 (email@example.com)
Deadline: March 15th, 2013
About the Series: The Dialogue Series publishes new and recent criticism on literary writing that has elicited or is eliciting critical debate. In addition, Dialogue devotes occasional volumes to neglected works deemed worthy of renewed critical attention. The Dialogue Series is devoted primarily to literary works written in English (or translated into English) after 1900.
The planned volume on Marilynne Robinson is part of a planned line of edited Dialogue Series volumes devoted to on Contemporary Authors.
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