Events in Modern Languages & Cultures
Heteronymy and Heteronymity: Authorship, Selfhood, and Literary Practice Conference
A one-day conference to be on Saturday, 1 December 2012, on the theory and practice of heteronymic writing.
The literary practice of heteronymic – or heteronymous – writing is inextricably associated with the work of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, and often seen as being bound up with the modernist period: the seismic shifts in our understanding of nature, space, time, and person in the late 19th and early 20th centuries preparing the way for the a literary practice which opens up the figure of the author and the notion of the self to new vistas and analysis. But it is a genre which has both antecedents that predate the modernist period and numerous subsequent practitioners from a wide range of countries and continents who engage in often labyrinthine heteronymic games and inventions, This one-day conference brings together prominent academics working on a number of different authors who have engaged, or continue to engage, in heteronymity, or whose work brings light to bear on the issues and debates that emerge from it. In so doing, this event looks to open up a series of new avenues for discussion, not only exploring how the different individual cases can be understood in relation to their times and places of production, but also examining how they can be seen in relation to each other: what broader concepts and questions relating to the notions of author and self are raised by this literary practice? How do the different practitioners and thinkers play into each other, both consciously and unconsciously? Can we tease out a new, overarching theory of authorship from the genre? How does this literary game tap into and engage with other fields, from philosophy to linguistics to psychoanalysis? And in the world of online identities and avatars, can a focused and comprehensive study of heteronymity cast new light on and bring new understanding to the way in which we conceive of ourselves and the complexity of our identity/ies in the twenty-first century?
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