Roundtable on Print Genres — Abstracts due August 15!
C19: “Reconstructions,” March 31-April 2, 2022, Coral Gables, Florida
Meredith McGill and Joseph Rezek
We are seeking contributions to a proposed roundtable on the changing relationship between genres and print formats over the course of the long nineteenth century. How and why do print formats become associated with particular genres, literary and otherwise? What are the converging historical, ideological, aesthetic, and technological conditions that establish such associations, and how do they change over time? What are the signs that a text is exploiting an assumed connection between genre and format, or trying hard to shake it off? Building on recent books by Derrick Spires, Jordan Alexander Stein, Hester Blum, and Rodrigo Lazo, as well as our own interest in such questions, we want to consider the effect that print genres had on a diversity of literary, social, and political movements. What does it mean when an author, editor, publisher, or printer either reinforces or challenges established links between genre and format? We consider these to be open questions and relevant ones to a wide array of contexts. In the spirit of the conference’s broad definition of “reconstruction” as “starting over,” we wish to explore the uneven history of print genres at moments of radical (or hoped for) change. How did American authors and publishers re-imagine (or intervene in ) the literary marketplace to make it more or less democratic, more or less inclusive of racial difference, more or less divided according to gender?