CFP "Realism’s Mixed Modes" German Studies Association 2010, Oakland, California

Realism’s Mixed Modes

Eric Downing has pointed out, in his book _Double Exposures_, that realism
continues to be viewed as a “heavily normed discourse or style, that
purports to universal, transparent, natural, and ahistorical status, and the
simultaneously and necessarily excludes or represses both self-consciousness
and otherness. Katherine Kearns has also written that realism is “often
charged with blindsiding social, political, and epistemological
complexities, with throwing its considerable materialistic weight against
all that would challenge or suborn the status quo.”

However, while this stereotype of realism has certainly proven popular,
several studies over the last 30 years have sought to trouble it. George
Levine, writing in 1981, emphasizes that “realism posits ‘mixed’
conditions,” and he has more recently read certain realist novels as staged
duels between competing epistemologies. Marshall Brown, also in 1981,
explains realist narrative as a product of “interplay” between “Jakobson’s
metonymic and sequential order” and “metaphorical or substitutional order”;
as “the ordered or hierarchical intersection of contrasting codes”; and as
“a structure of ordered negations perceived within the text quite
independently of any relationship between the text and what is assumed to be
its ‘world.’” More recently, Lilian Furst has described the realist novel as
“a record . . . of a past social situation and as a texture made up of
verbal signs” which, “far from canceling each other out, . . . overlap in an
inescapable and reciprocally  sustaining tension that forms the core of
realism’s precarious enterprise.” How might German realism be considered as
a clash of competing codes? Opposed styles of knowledge? Content that
challenges form?

This panel proposes a discussion of German realism’s mixed allegiances: as a
mixture or hybrid form; or as a product of tension between various codes,
epistemologies, or other narrative modes; or even between content and form.

Please email abstracts of ca. 200-250 words in English or in German to Geoff
Baker at gabaker at by Friday, 5 February, 2010. Please also
include a short bio, contact info, and any audio/visual needs.  I will
notify those accepted within a few days and submit the final panel proposal
to the GSA by their deadline of 15 February.

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