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Department of English Studies


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Is a Novel JUST a Novel?

4th September 2014, 10:00 to 16:00, Durham University, Professor Andrew Bennett

Registration is now open for this one-day conference on 4th September, exploring the manifold functions of the novel in contemporary society. To register, email

The main aim of the conference is to raise various questions related to the position of the novel being more than just a novel: What is its use? Is reading a novel a way of understanding people better? Can a novel affect people’s way of thinking? Papers will discuss their point of view in terms of the novel’s function in literature as a genre and in life as a way of expression.


10.00 to 10.15: Registration/Reception
10.15 to 10.30: Refreshments

10.30 to 11.00
1st speaker: Keynote Speaker: Professor Andrew Bennett (University of Bristol), “‘What must it have been like?’: Suicide, Empathy and the Use of Contemporary Fiction”

11.10 to 11.40
2nd Speaker: Natasha Cooper (Durham University), “The Novel and Intertextual Reworking: The Reconstruction of the Epic Female”

11.50 to 12.20
3rd Speaker: Rachel Darling (King’s College of London), “‘The Novel is a Self-Evident Sham’: Metafiction and Authorship in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two Birds and Martin Amis’s Money

12.30 to 13.30: Break

13.30 to 14.00
4th Speaker: Stefano Rossoni (UCL), “Between Form and Knowledge: The Novel’s Anti-Canon”

14.10 to 14.40
5th Speaker: Agata Kolodziej (Jagiellonian University), “Collaborative Fiction as a Community Event. When Authors are Readers and Readers are Authors”

14.50 to 15.20
6th Speaker: Madalena Lobo Antunes (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), “The spontaneous combustion of the novel: Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet

15.30 to 16.00
7th John Marc Wilson (Aberystwyth University), “A Palpable Void: The Remediation of Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles as a Visual Work of Art in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes


All are welcome. For more information or to register please contact and/or 

The conference takes place at the Department of Psychology, Room L50, Durham University (Durham University Science Site, South Road, DH1 3LE)

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