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CFP: Nature vs. Nurture: Cultural Inheritance in Canadian Literature

The following is a call for papers for a member-organized panel to be held at the ACCUTE Congress at Concordia University (Montreal) in May 2010.

I invite proposals for papers that focus on questions of cultural inheritance in Canadian texts, particularly as they come up against the binary nature/nurture. To what extent are cultural traditions (including ancestry, ritual, festival, language, religion, food, clothing, etc.) expressed or experienced as either “natural” components of the body or as acts and behaviours nurtured by cultural citizens? In the process of inheriting culture, are nature and nurture complementary or contradictory processes? How dotexts published in or about Canada negotiate this binary, and what visions of the nation do these tensions produce?

Proposals about texts from all regions, communities, and periods are welcome, as are all critical/theoretical approaches and methods. Possible topics include: the performance of cultural inheritance; racialized, gendered, classed, regionalized, and politicized bodies, families, and communities; trans-, hybridized, queer, questioning, two-spirited and/vs. heteronormative identities and inheritances; adulthood and/vs. childhood; the production, reproduction, and counterproduction of cultural memory.

Following the instructions on the ACCUTE website (under Conference), send your 700 word proposal (or 8-10 page double-spaced paper), a 100 word abstract, a 50 word biographical statement, and the submitter information form, to ben@roomofbensown.net by November 15th.

Note: You must be a current ACCUTE member to submit to this session.

Five-Day Extension for LMMI Conference

Due to an unexpected technological difficulty, Jean Mitchell and I would like to offer a five-day extension to everyone interested in submitting a proposal to the L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature conference, to be hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute and held at the University of Prince Edward Island. Please send your abstracts and full contact information in the body of an e-mail to lmmi@upei.ca by Monday, 21 September at the very latest.

The call for papers can be found here.

CFP: L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature (updated)

L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature
9th International Conference
University of Prince Edward Island
23-27 June 2010

At the ninth biennial conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute (University of Prince Edward Island), we invite you to consider L.M. Montgomery and the matter of nature. In recent years, the matter of nature has been the subject of much contested debate and theoretical innovation across disciplines. While multiple romanticisms have informed L.M. Montgomery’s passionate views of the natural world, her complex descriptions show her writing both of and for nature. This complexity extends as well to the depiction of cultural and gendered mores (domesticity, friendship, faith, community, biological determinism) as both natural and cultural. In all its forms, nature situates binary relationships that are often represented as hierarchical and oppositional: nature and culture; child and adult; animal and human; female and male; emotion and reason; body and mind; traditional and modern; raw and cooked; wild and domestic; rural and urban.

We invite the submission of abstracts that consider these issues in relation to Montgomery’s fiction, poetry, life writing, photographs, and scrapbooks, as well as the range of adapted texts in the areas of film, television, theatre, tourism, and online communities. Possible questions include:

  • What are the effects of the representations and images of nature that are crafted and circulated in Montgomery’s work?
  • How do Montgomery’s narrations of nature shape children and adults within and across cultures?
  • How do particular constructions of nature work in fiction, across such differences as gender, race, culture, and class?
  • What are the cultural and historical contingencies surrounding nature in Montgomery’s work?
  • What does it mean to consider Montgomery as a “green” writer (Doody) or as a proto-ecofeminist (Holmes)?
  • What do Montgomery’s provocative readings of nature offer us at a time of environmental crises and ecological preoccupations?
  • How does the notion of “nature” impact some of the most central preoccupations in Montgomery’s fiction, poetry, and life writing (the nature of war, of mental illness, of cultural inheritance, of conflict, of same-sex friendships and of heterosexual marriage, of cultural memory, of national ideologies)?

Abstracts should clearly articulate the paper’s argument and demonstrate familiarity with current scholarship in the field (please see http://lmmresearch.org/bibliography for an updated bibliography). For more information, please contact the conference co-chairs directly: Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre (ben@roomofbensown.net) and Dr. Jean Mitchell (mjmitchell@upei.ca). All proposals will be vetted blind and should therefore contain no identifying information.

Please submit one-page abstracts and short biographical sketches by 15 September 2009 to the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s OCS page (http://ocs.vre.upei.ca/index.php/lmmi/2010).

If you’ve already submitted an abstract for the 2010 Conference, please verify that it has been received by e-mailing the director at lmmi@upei.ca. All those who were registered through the 2008 OCS page have been made authors and should go to http://ocs.vre.upei.ca/index.php/lmmi/2010/presenter/submit/1 to submit their abstract. If you were registered but have forgotten your password, please use the Reset Password link located here: http://ocs.vre.upei.ca/index.php/lmmi/2010/login/lostPassword. If this is your first time using OCS for the L.M. Montgomery Conference, then please register yourself as an author here: http://ocs.vre.upei.ca/index.php/lmmi/2010/user/account?source=&requiresPresenter (make sure to select the “Create account as Author: Able to submit items to the conference” option at the bottom of the registration form).

The 2010 Conference planning is well underway so please be on the lookout for future emails with details concerning accommodations and other events. And as always, if you have any problems, do not hesitate to contact us at lmmi@upei.ca.

The Blythes Are Quoted in The Guardian and Beyond

An article about The Blythes Are Quoted by Alison Flood appears in today’s The Guardian:

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s last work, featuring surprising experiments with poetry and prose, to be published in full

Penguin Canada is due to publish Lucy Maud Montgomery’s final book in its entirety, casting a new shadow over the author of Anne of Green Gables.

[…]

Despite the darker elements to The Blythes Are Quoted, Penguin is hoping to reach children as well as adults, aiming for the readers who bought Budge Wilson’s prequel to Anne’s story, Before Green Gables, last spring.

This story was subsequently picked up by the Wall Street Journal in today’s Morning Roundup blog:

Anne Returns, Again: Someone who wasn’t afraid of sequels is Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the “Anne of Green Gables” books. Penguin Canada is going to publish the ninth volume of the series in full. “The Blythes Are Quoted” follows freckle-faced heroine Anne Shirley through the First World War.

This story was then picked up again by The Examiner in an article by Peter Franklin called “A scandalous week”:

Lastly, it was revealed just today that Penguin Canada is set to publish an unabridged version of the final book of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables series. Entitled The Blythes Are Quoted, the novel is said to include “adultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death,” as well as an experimentation with storytelling not seen in the other volumes.

This development adds to the growing pall around Montgomery’s public perception; her granddaughter admitted last year that the children’s author had died of a drug overdose.

However, most shocking here is Penguin’s plan to market The Blythes Are Quoted in all of its murder and misogyny to kids. Alison Flood writes: “Penguin is hoping to reach children as well as adults, aiming for the readers who bought Budge Wilson’s prequel to Anne’s story, Before Green Gables, last spring.”

The Blythes Are Quoted in Quill & Quire’s Fall Preview

The Blythes Are Quoted has been included in the Canadian fiction section of Quill & Quire‘s Fall Preview, compiled by Steven W. Beattie and included in the July-August 2009 issue, available now:

Benjamin Lefebvre edits The Blythes Are Quoted (Penguin Canada, $25 cl., Oct.), a posthumous novel from L.M. Montgomery that features the author’s usual themes: adultery, misogyny, revenge, and murder.

L.M. Montgomery—Writer of the World (20-23 August 2009)

The first international conference on L.M. Montgomery outside Canada

Uppsala, Sweden, will be the venue for an international conference entitled L.M. Montgomery—Writer of the World, 20-23 August 2009. The conference commemorates the first translation of Anne of Green Gables, the Swedish Anne på Grönkulla which appeared in 1909. Conference organisers are Gabriella Åhmansson, University of Gävle  and Åsa Warnqvist, Uppsala University.

The main theme for the conference is reading response and it has attracted 28 speakers from 10 different countries, including major Montgomery scholars such as Elizabeth Waterston, Mary H. Rubio, Elizabeth Rollins Epperly and Irene Gammel. The last day of the conference, Sunday August 23, is open to the general public, a tribute to one hundred years of devoted Montgomery readers in Sweden.

For a detailed programme and information on how to register, please visit the conference website http://ahmansson.com/montgomery2009.html or contact the conference coordinators at asa.warnqvist@littvet.uu.se.

The conference is hosted by University of Uppsala, one of Europe’s oldest universities, established in 1477. More information on the beautiful medieval city of Uppsala and its surroundings can be found on the Uppsala Tourism official website http://www.uppsala.to/en.

L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature (2010)

Call for Papers

Please note the extended deadline is now September 15, 2009.

L. M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature
9th International Conference
University of Prince Edward Island
June 23-27, 2010

In 2010 we invite you to consider L.M. Montgomery and the matter of nature. While multiple romanticisms have informed L.M. Montgomery’s passionate views of nature her descriptions were complex as she wrote both of and for nature. What are the effects of the representations and images of nature that are crafted and circulated in the fiction of Montgomery, and in that of other writers of literature (especially for children and youth)? How do her narrations of nature shape children and adults within and across cultures? How do particular constructions of nature work in fiction, across such differences as gender, race, culture and class? What are the cultural and historical contingencies surrounding nature in Montgomery’s work? In recent years, the matter of “nature” itself has been the subject of much-contested debate and theoretical innovation across disciplines. Nature situates binary relationships that are often represented as hierarchical and oppositional. These include nature and culture; child and adult; animal and human; male and female; reason and emotion; mind and body; modern and traditional; raw and cooked; domestic and wild; urban and rural?among others. How might any of these formulations be examined and challenged (or not) in the context of Montgomery’s work? What does it mean to consider Montgomery as a “green” writer (Doody) or as a proto-ecofeminist (Holmes)? What do Montgomery’s provocative readings of nature offer us at a time of environmental crises and ecological preoccupations?

Please send one-page abstracts and short biographical sketches by September 15, 2009 to:
L.M. Montgomery Institute
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3 Canada
E-mail: lmminst@upei.ca

Announcement: The Blythes Are Quoted

I’m pleased to announce that my edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered final novel, The Blythes Are Quoted, will be published by Penguin Canada in 2009:

The Blythes Are Quoted

By L.M. Montgomery
Edited by Benjamin Lefebvre
With a foreword by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly
Toronto: Penguin Canada, forthcoming 1 October 2009

The never-before-published complete and unabridged last work of L.M. Montgomery

Adultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death—usually not the first terms associated with L.M. Montgomery. But in The Blythes Are Quoted, completed shortly before her death and never before published in its entirety, Montgomery brought these topics to the forefront in what she intended to be the ninth volume in her bestselling series featuring the beloved heroine Anne. Divided into two sections, one set before and one after the Great War of 1914-1918, The Blythes Are Quoted contains fifteen short stories that include an adult Anne and her family. Between these short stories Montgomery inserted sketches featuring Anne and Gilbert Blythe discussing poems by Anne and their middle son, Walter, who dies as a soldier in the war. By blending together poetry, prose, and dialogue, Montgomery was experimenting with storytelling methods in ways she had never attempted before. The Blythes Are Quoted marks L.M. Montgomery’s final contribution to a body of work that continues to fascinate readers all over the world.