CFP: Panel on Jane Smiley
American Literature Association Conference in Boston, MA
23–26 May 2019 at the Westin Copley Place
Jane Smiley: A Great American Novelist
In her Harper’s essay “Say it ain’t so, Huck: Second Thoughts on Mark Twain (1996),” Jane Smiley questioned the critical prejudices in American literary criticism that have continually been more disposed to ascribe “major” status to male authors, while seeing their female peers as “sentimental” or “regional.” Rumaan Alam similarly has asked why Jonathan Franzen’s novels are recognized for their scope, but Jane Smiley’s body of work — in particular her multi-volume The Last Hundred Years (2014-15) — have not received the same respect.
This panel seeks to expand the critical exploration of Smiley’s novels, that consistently connect the domestic and the regional to the historic, economic and national. Please send 250-300 word abstracts of your proposed paper, pasted in the body of an email, to AbeleE@ncc.edu by January 20, 2019.