Please see the list of topics below and submit a 250–300 word abstract and the requested presenter information in one Word or PDF file to <email@example.com> by Monday, February 1, 2016.
We also have an early-consideration deadline, Monday, January 4, because we will have a significant number of papers from international scholars, who often have an earlier semester break and who may need more time to make long-distance travel plans. Anyone may choose to apply by the January 4 early deadline, and we will respond within two weeks of that date. Abstracts received after January 4 and before February 1 will be considered in early February with results sent by February 15. Papers will be limited to 20 minutes.
Topics of papers may include (but are not limited to) the following:
- What is a forgotten book? How do we define the term?
- Contextualizing the forgotten book
- Recovering (or failing to adequately recover) literary history using digital methods, macroanalysis, distant reading, sampling, statistics, etc.
- Famous unrecoverable, unreadable books. (Books, influential in the past, that have been lost or destroyed and are now only known from summaries or excerpts quoted elsewhere)
- Books forgotten for decades or centuries that subsequently became key parts of the canon (Beowulf, Piers Plowman, The Book of Margery Kempe, Blake’s work, etc.)
- Books that have never been and should not be canonical but which tell us something important about literary history
- Once popular and influential books that have now been forgotten (or books and authors that were once greatly admired but are now usually read only by specialists)
- Once-popular forms and genres that have since gone out of fashion (e.g. miracle plays, epistolary novels, the blank verse epic, volumes of famous sermons, serialized fiction, clerical novels, three-volume novels, etc.). Papers may also address whether these genres have since reappeared in another form, e.g. modern equivalents to miracle and morality plays.
- Highly successful books that once languished unprinted, either in the authors’ possession or in publishers’ offices (e.g. Northanger Abbey)
- Particular unique manuscripts which had (or may still have) a limited number or readers, and these manuscripts’ reception history
- The significance of books on esoteric subjects that have always had a limited appeal.
- Forced forgetfulness (when conflicts, revolutions [e.g. The French Revolution, China’s Cultural Revolution], censorship, and changes in government have made publishing or procuring certain kinds of books difficult).
- The significance of forgotten or nearly-forgotten Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese, Hakka, aboriginal-language, and English texts in Taiwanese history.
- Politically motivated remembering or forgetting
- Books written by marginalized authors and/or communities
- Transported/Transplanted books. Books originally written in one place for one culture that, while forgotten or ignored by that culture, have become influential in another place and/or time. Similarly, books that are more popular in translation than they ever were in their original language.
- The reception history of translations of works that were highly successful in one country, were translated to meet a particular interest or need in another country, and have since been forgotten either in their original or in their translated form.
- Academic monographs as forgotten books
- Marketing’s effect on the loss or survival of books (e.g. The Great Gatsby’s increase in popularity after World War II [When Books Went to War]). Papers may address the creation of readership markets or books that failed to fit prescribed markets.
- Film adaptations as (in part) erasure of the text they adapt.
- The effect of the internet, e-readers, or other technology on literary memory and books’ survival.