What You Must Know About the French Revolution: Literary Round Table / Les Must de la Révolution française: Table ronde littéraire

06bourbles-must-de-cartier-bookCall for papers: ASECS Annual Meeting (Albuquerque, NM, March 18-21, 2010).
NB: Participants at the conference may present a full-length paper in addition to their presentation at this roundtable. Deadline for submissions: 9/15/09.

In 1789, François-Félix Nogaret, a well-known courtier, author of occasional verse and slightly salacious fiction, dropped his light-hearted persona to enter the world of political writing, and urged others to take on a similar role of engagement: “tu ne peux porter ni le sabre ni le mousquet; écris ou parle” (“you cannot wield a sword or a musket; write or speak”; Dialogue entre Solon et François-Félix Nogaret, citoyen français [1789], 6).
The response was tremendous. Over 1,200 novels were published between 1789, when the Bastille fell, and 1804, when Napoleon triumphantly declared the Revolution’s end. And yet literary study of the Revolution and its aftermath remains a work-in-progress. Nineteenth-century scholars, like Eugène Maron in his Histoire littéraire de la Révolution (1856), dealt primarily with oratory and journalism, and dismissed fiction as unworthy of serious study. Inspired by the linguistic turn in cultural history and supported by new reference tools and databases, researchers since the 1980s have begun excavating this material. The pioneering studies of Béatrice Didier and Lynn Hunt launched this development; also formative was the work on revolutionary theater by Paul Friedland and Jeffrey Ravel. Malcolm Cook’s books have developed our knowledge of revolutionary fiction’s ties to earlier genres, Huguette Krief and Carla Hesse have issued impressive inventories of female-authored writings published during the 1790s, and most recently, Stéphanie Genand and Catriona Seth have resuscitated some notable literature of émigration.
This round table seeks to capitalize on all this activity, and to invite scholars to present short position papers that explain 1) what one literary work they consider a “must” for scholars and students, and 2) why it is important for us to read this text today.
Position papers will be 5-7 minutes in length, in French or English. Up to seven contributions may be accepted for the 75-minute round table. Longer versions (5-7 pp.) of the papers will be posted in advance on a website to encourage optimal discussion during the session.
Interested? Send a proposal and one-page C.V. (in the email message, no attachments) by September 15 to jdouthwa@nd.edu, or hard copy to Prof. Julia Douthwaite, 343 O’Shaughnessy Hall, Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

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