CALL FOR PAPERS: No Rest for the Wicked: Guilt in the Long 19th Century

Respondent: Fritz Breithaupt

 35th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association (GSA) September
22-25, 2011, Louisville, Kentucky

250-word paper proposal deadline: February 5, 2011

We would like to invite you to submit paper proposals for a panel at the
2011 GSA Conference on the topic of Guilt in Literature of the Long
19thCentury. Proposals on the topic of historical or psychoanalytical
developments in social views of guilt are also welcome.

This panel will focus on nineteenth century notions of guilt and its
psychological effects, especially in literature. As is well known, the
nineteenth century saw the rise of the modern crime or detective novel in
which the guilty party usually receives an appropriate punishment. However,
what remains less known is which fears drive the search of the criminal:
what happens when guilt is guilt remains undetected? That undetected guilt
seems to lead to a potent mix of social and psychological theories of guilt.
Possible questions to consider include:

 - How do the effects of moral or legal transgressions illustrate a new way
of thinking about affect and responsibility?

- How are symptoms of guilt expressed in the form of Romantic moods such as
paranoia and anxiety?

- Does guilt invoke a return of the repressed? And if so, why?

- What role does guilt play in education (moral or otherwise) in an
increasingly secular society?

- Do religious and secular notions of guilt and atonement change in
the 19thcentury?

- How does the birth of psychoanalysis (or other medical developments)
change the way the 19th century sees the idea of a ‘conscience’?

- How do narratives of Romanticism or Realism deal with guilt as a driving
force and catalyst for catharsis?

- How do literary accounts of guilt deal with the psychological effects on
the conscience in cases where moral or legal transgressions are not

- Does guilt play a role in maintaining or breaking down traditional notions
of community in the face of the urbanization caused by the industrial

- Does the invention of ‘trauma’ as a psychoanalytical concept affect the
understanding of the pathology of guilt?

- Are guilt and its symptoms the primary affects of the Gothic?

-  What is the role of influence or contagion in literary accounts of guilt?

- How do literary accounts of guilt parallel political developments of the
19th century, such as responses to social upheaval and revolution?

Please send your proposals to Claire van den Broek [log in to unmask] by
February 5, 2011. All participants must be registered members of the
GSA byFebruary 15, 2011

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: