Call for Papers on Tom Robbins

Due Date: 09-15-2024

The editor seeks proposals for a collection that will broaden a critical understanding of the novels and short stories of Tom Robbins (b. 1932). Authoring eleven books that have been translated into dozens of languages, Robbins is an internationally popular writer, and yet scholarship of his work is underserved. Seeking to correct this, the editor seeks scholarship from those working not only in literary studies but also from a spectrum across the humanities, such as religion, philosophy, history, women’s and gender studies, queer studies, disability studies (in short, many disciplines with which his work is engaged).

Robbins has been revered and criticized for his deployment of female protagonists; his characters have been described as underdeveloped or stereotyped, as well as contemporary archetypes; his narratives described as willfully didactic but also inventively irreverent. Although he confounds some critics and his stories can be as complicated as his similes, for half a century Robbins has been a touchstone of counterculture aesthetics, often mentioned alongside Thomas Pynchon, Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey, and Douglas Adams. The editor welcomes proposals for essays that will articulate stylistic considerations and interpretations of Robbins in a range of discursive methodologies:

  • time and reality
  • religion and historiography
  • Eastern philosophy, “East” versus “West” philosophical traditions
  • sexuality, heteronormative gender constructions
  • the “feminine” and feminism
  • socio-psychological elements of plot and character development
  • sociology and politics
  • psychedelics and subculture
  • archetypes, symbolism
  • BIPOC representation
  • itineracy, travel, and globalization
  • magic realism, fantasy
  • textual stylistics, prose, metaphor
  • postmodernism, authorial voice
  • ableism, illness
  • ageism, defiance of age
  • community and the outcast, freedom
  • art and objecthood

Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and a brief bio to by 15 September 2024. Accepted papers will be 6,000–8,000 words in length, including notes. View the full call for papers.