Centennial Study of My Ántonia, 2-page proposals due 1 February 2015

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Proposals are sought for a collection that will offer readers an in-depth study of the 100-year life and legacy of My Ántonia, in the context of up-to-date research. The collection intends to situate My Ántonia in its original sociocultural and literary context; explore the core themes and perspectives in the novel; and mark its legacy in a variety of ways. It aims to convey the full complexity of the novel and its issues by drawing upon historical and contemporary frameworks of understanding. The following list of topics is suggestive but not prescriptive. Please submit a proposal of at least two pages that both explains the topic/approach and lists the major scenes to be analyzed, so appropriate range and avoidance of repetition can be balanced in the volume. Final essays (length to be determined) will be due March 2016.

Centennial Study of My Ántonia Topics:

• Landscape and ecology (ecocriticism, Cather’s use of the Southwest in her Plains novels, rhetoric of ecology and evolution; middle landscapes; nature and transcendentalism, etc.)
• Literary tradition (local color, romanticism, pastoral/elegy, classics, naturalism, modernism, Gothic, Künstlerroman, pioneer novels, Western novels, American lit—‘machine in the garden’—or European lit, Jamesian novel theory, etc.)
• Cultural context (imperialism, war, expansion, feminism, national mythology, ideologies of ethnology, immigration, urbanization, US history, etc.)
• Childhood studies (developmental psychology, theories of queerness, etc.)
• Narrative theory/point of view (questions about Jim and Ántonia’s perspectives, questions about the introduction and edits, theory of reminiscence, memory, consciousness, psychology, etc.)
• Biography and relation of My Ántonia to Cather canon (O Pioneers!, Song of the Lark, Shadows on a Rock, Lucy Gayheart, The Professor’s House, Death Comes for the Archbishop, short stores, etc.)
• Themes (gender, spirituality, myth, desire, race, migration, family, development, individuality, agrarianism, death, etc.)
• Artistic and music traditions (paintings, visualization in Cather’s works, musical tradition, such as the African American and Spanish presence in My Ántonia and Song of the Lark, etc.)
• Critical reception history (as it has shifted in recent emphasis to queer studies; as it has affected literary societies, tourism, later national mythography, later generations of literary studies, reception outside the US, etc.)
• Illustrations, editions, adaptations

Send proposals and queries to: Holly Blackford, hvbhome@comcast.net