International Pynchon Week: Pynchon on the Edge
Athens, Greece, June 8-12, 2015
Greek capital Athens hosts the first International Pynchon Week since the release of his eighth novel, Bleeding Edge. Here on the edges of the Mediterranean, of the European Union, of Western History, we have an opportunity not only to discuss the new novel, but also to reconsider the outer limits and internal limitations of the whole field of Pynchon studies. Paper proposals on any aspect of Pynchon’s work, life, thought and significance are welcome, but particular weight will be given to proposals that contribute deliberately to a fresh demarcation of these edges.
Topics might include:
- Methodological or technical approaches to Pynchon that wouldn’t have been possible in the previous millennium.
- Revisionary approaches to Pynchon and Pynchon Studies - approaches, that is, that aim to create a bleeding break or rupture where there’s currently a fluent critical consensus.
- Recuperations of Pynchon Studies’ own paths-not-taken - what long-deserted outposts of the field can we turn back into working conversations, especially at the prompting of the more recent fiction?
- Rethinking Pynchonian relationships – to concepts, to periodizations, to critical methods, to other authors, to places, to media.
- Pynchon Studies’ points of contact with other academic fields: how might we open a porous border between Pynchon and jurisprudence, analytic metaphysics, veterinary medicine?
- Geographical edges: in a setting - Athens - that conceives of itself as a border between the East and the West, what remains to say about borders, margins, and geographies in Pynchon’s work?
- Understudied passages of Pynchon – Wills and McHoul lamented Pynchon Studies’ recursion to the same few central passages as long ago as the early 90s: what path-changing bits of his work still lie undiscussed?
- Pynchon in touch with the 21st century – how has Pynchon kept up with the times? Does Bleeding Edge require us to reassess or reaffirm ideas that have appeared in his previous works, especially in relation to his main themes including but not limited to technology, politics, terrorism?
- What does studying Pynchon have to offer us today? Which of his established insights have lost their edge? What ideas has he offered us that we haven’t given their edge-creating due? Is his accelerating output an anachronism?
For individual papers, please submit 300-word abstracts for twenty-minute arguments. International Pynchon Week has long prided itself on democratic structures: no separate keynotes, no parallel panels, no hierarchies - everyone speaking and everyone listening. There’s room for experiment, though, with the hour-long block that precedes question time. We’re open to full-panel proposals that make use of three or more presenters and/or involve something other than the standard academic paper format. Proposals for full panels should be between 750 and 1000 words long, and contain an overall description of the panel’s aims as well as of each presenter’s intended contribution.
Please send your proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 1st 2014.