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[BKARTS] "Artists' Books" in Literature Departments

Apologies for cross-posting!

Call for papers:

Proposed Special Session
MLA Annual Convention in Philadelphia, December 2004
Submission deadline: March 15, 2004

ÒArtistsÕ BooksÓ in Literature Departments

The centuries-long history of experimentation with the expressive
possibilities of book form reached an international critical mass in the
late 1960s and early 1970s, when experimentation with book form coalesced
into the genre now known as the artistÕs book.  Identified by most critics
as an outgrowth of the Fluxus and conceptual art movements, the artistÕs
book is now recognized by art historians as a significant contemporary art
form.  But the possessive term ÒartistÕs bookÓ belies two important facts:
first, that many experiments with book form produced before and since the
sixties have been deeply influenced by literary movements as well as
contemporaneous debates in literary-critical and bibliographical study;
and second, that the readerly encounters engendered by these books (and
their institutional contexts) are deeply implicated with the concept of
"literariness."  Even the most canonically ÒartyÓ artistÕs book, Ed
RuschaÕs Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963), engages significantly with
problems of literary interpretation, alluding as it does to both
childrenÕs alphabetic primers and the American road novel of the 1950s.

This special session will consider the disciplinary status of the physical
book as a work of art; papers will ideally lead us to a discussion
concerning the relationship between artistsÕ books and current practice in
such fields as literary criticism, literary theory, history of the book
and literary pedagogy. Papers concerning individual works, artists, or
movements of the contemporary period (c.1960-present) in all nations will
be given priority, though papers on self-conscious books in earlier
periods are welcome.

Some possible topics include:

book history / book aesthetics
literary genealogies and the artistÕs book
the place of artistsÕ books in the history of books
the artistÕs book and ÒThe End of the BookÓ
teaching with artistsÕ books in the literature or writing classroom
the aesthetics of the paratext
visual and tactile experiments in narrative form
palimpsests, altered books
experimental editing
ephemera and literariness
book sculptures
text/image relations
spatial metaphors in literary theory
radical book design (popular phenomena such as Griffin and Sabine)
beyond the codex
innovations in illustration
cognition and reading
tactile books
books in the library, books in the museum
special collections, the art library, and acquisition policy
childrenÕs books
coterie aesthetics and trade book design
small press publishing, zines

Please e-mail 500-word abstract and CV by March 15, 2004 to

*** *** *** *** *** ***
Molly Schwartzburg
Department of English
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305
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