Heimito von Doderer-Gesellschaft

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Call for Papers

The Return of the Dragons: Time, History and Narration in the Work of Heimito von Doderer

Panel Organizers: Prof. Kirk Wetters (Yale University), Prof. Jörg Kreienbrock (Northwestern University)

German Studies Association conference October 2-5, 2008, St. Paul, MN

Heimito von Doderer was the most famous living writer in Vienna of the 1950's. His notoriety and eccentricity - and political dubiousness to post-War generations - have been convincingly captured in Dorothea Zeemann's "Jungfrau und Reptil" (1982). But, as is often the case, this fame, which came to Doderer late in life, and the appearance of 'popularity' have created a lot of turbulence in the critical reception of his work.

In Europe, despite the devoted curatorial work on the part of several "Nachlassverwalter", who labored tirelessly to produce the pre-conditions for a differentiated, nuanced and critical reception of Doderer's extensive output, his work nevertheless met largely the same fate as it did in the States, where it was hastily read and discarded as aesthetically and politically retrograde. Especially in Germany, however, an intensive reevaluation has been underway for more than a decade. To summarize the paths of this recent research: Doderer's conservatism and formalism are now viewed more favorably in the wake (1) the loosening of Cold War ideological polarizations, and (2) post-structuralism and a broadly conceived "linguistic turn." On the basis of these new preconditions, Doderer's obvious political and personal liabilities tend to be reread as assets insofar as his work thematizes important ongoing aesthetic, social and political questions.

  1. Against this background, the specific themes and problems that interest us in Doderer's work can be loosely grouped under the following headings:
    Narrative theory; theory of the novel (Doderer & Lukács); theory of the diary; literary form, musical form and life-form
  2. anachronicity (Doderer as "fossil" or epigone); problems of literary modernism and generational politics
  3. politics and political theory; 20th Century history and intellectual history; problems of ideology and political engagement; sexuality and gender politics; Doderer's theories of apperception and 'second reality'
  4. figures of interruption (Überraschungen und Enttäuschungen, Einbrüche und Anfälle); rage and anger; demons and the demonic.

Please email proposals to Kirk Wetters (kirk.wetters@yale.edu) by February 14, 2008. Please include a proposal of approximately 300 words, any AV needs, as well as your name, affiliation, and contact information. (We apologize for the short deadline: Proposals submitted by February 14 will receive first consideration, but we will also continue considering proposals up to February 28 or until we have a complete session.)

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor: Megan McKinstry
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://www.missouri.edu/~graswww/resources/gerlistserv.html



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