McGill University, Montreal
March 20-21, 2004
10th Annual Graduate Symposium on Language and Literature:
“Infinite Impressions: Literature and the Promiscuity of Text”
Why Did You Put That Hole—?
Examining the function of Absence and Desire in Post-modern Texts.
In her text on the function of memory in Proustian writing Julia Kristeva
posits that : “absence becomes the system which is used to construct
meaning/signification. It is not the space filled with excessive presences,
the person or object pursued, the action or even the subject itself, but
absence which determines and orders meaning” (Time and Sense 77). Through
the construction of texts that leave the reader desiring a forever-elusive
clarity, within the discipline of literature that is increasingly blurred
with other disciplines (philosophy, linguistics), contemporary writers are
working to formulate not only a unique mode of writing, but also one that
fosters a differing mode of reading.
This panel seeks papers that explore the signifigances of textual absences.
How does textual omission—verbal, structural,temporal—work to signify
subjective desire? Can we as readers actually develope a system of
‘meaning/signification,’ thereby filling the inherent absences? Does
absence always allign itself with desire? Speaking of structure Anne Carson
suggests that it is all “an issue of boundaries […] in the interval between
reach and grasp, […] the absent presence of desire comes alive” (Eros the
Bittersweet 30). Can we view Reach and grasp as crucial; the actions, and
the space between the actions, operating as keys to a writers’
methodological work on locating the self? Is desire stagnant? Or must self
and subjectivity move in both the realm of the unreachable, and the
pause—that absence which exists before the reach is tried again? How are
the uses of negation and textual absences emblematic of the post-modern
conundrum of subjectivity? These are just a few of the questions this
panel seeks to discuss.
Please send 300-word paper abstracts to Erin Wunker [[log in to unmask]]
by January 26th, 2004.
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor: Karen Eng
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://www.missouri.edu/~graswww/resources/gerlistserv.html