A Eudora Welty Society Call for Papers
Considering Eudora Welty and African American Literature: Lines of Dialogue
American Literature Association Conference
May 22-25, 2014
Like Zora Neale Hurston, Welty was a master of voices, dialect, free indirect discourse, and narrative lyricism. Like Richard Wright, Welty’s fictions and photography exposed patterns of behavior reflecting the Jim Crow era, even while Southern apartheid contributed to the two writers never meeting in their Jackson Mississippi lives. Like her New York friend Ralph Ellison, Welty was a modernist writing from outside the white male point of view and with a liberal imagination. Late in Welty’s life, Toni Morrison, perhaps unexpectedly, paid tribute to her as a white writer “fearless on the topic of apartheid” and neither “patronizing,” nor “romanticizing” in her creation of black characters.
This panel seeks to build on, add to, and complicate recent work on Welty and race by exploring comparisons and relationships between Welty’s fiction and African-American or black diaspora literature. It welcomes papers charting the lines of dialogue and discord between Welty and black writers: predecessors, age-mates, successors, and literary heirs. Papers might concern the writers’ representations of plantation life, slavery, domestic work relationships, double consciousness, poverty, the color line, Jim Crow, racial violence, black communities, the Civil Rights Movement, post-colonialism, the black body, the performance of race, and the performance of resistance. They might perhaps concern the writers’ relationships to modernism, to technical transgressions and choices, or perhaps consider whether and in what ways black literary production affects how Welty’s work is read today.
Please send inquiries and statements of intent, as soon as possible, and titled paper proposals of 500 words to Harriet Pollack (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Dec 1, 2013.
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