Literary Epistolography in English Studies
Due Date: 04-15-2023
In English, as opposed to other languages, such as Spanish or Polish, the term epistolography seems reserved for (the study of) letter writing in ancient times, with a concession made to the genre of the epistolary novel, which is more recent and has been a subject of academic interest. In France, impressive work has been done in terms of publications and promotion of the study of letters—far beyond antiquity—by the Association Interdisciplinaire de Recherches sur l’Epistolaire. Since its foundation in 1987, the association has organized numerous conferences and created a vibrant community (see https://www.epistolaire.org/). Although letters of famous people, including writers, have been avidly read, collected, and edited in many parts of the globe, the academic reflection on modern letters as a literary form in their own right, in addition to being a source of information on a variety of topics related to literary studies, seems to have lagged behind. The time is ripe now to compare notes and interconnect various ongoing projects of reading, collecting, and editing letters in the context of English studies.
This call for papers is targeted at exploring issues such as
- epistemological ambiguities: definitions of key concepts and the area of letter studies, including the polysemy of the words letter, letters, correspondence, epistle, etc.;
- justification and consequences of delimiting the scope of research to “literary” letters;
- implications of shifts in traditions of letter writing, including the role of fashions and epistolary manuals;
- theoretical framework of epistolary practice and its relation to (auto)biography, performativity, modes of social life, etc.;
- practical (and) ethical challenges of reading, collecting, editing, and translating letters;
- ontological dilemmas and illusions: epistolographic personas, fictional letters, letters in fiction and drama, poetry as letter writing (“This is my letter to the World / That never wrote to Me”); and
- impact of new technologies on letter writing and study of letters: epistolomania versus the end of epistolography.
Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, a gold open access journal, has expressed interest in a special guest-edited issue devoted to literary epistolography in English studies. Please submit 200–250-word abstracts to Miroslawa Buchholtz (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 April 2023. Inquiries are welcome prior to abstract submission. The full article submission deadline is 15 December 2023. Word count: 6,000–9,000 words (including all notes and references). Studia Anglica Posnaniensia also publishes reviews, and the special issue may include reviews of outstanding recent publications in the field. Word count for reviews: 2,000–3,000 words.