International Joint Conference (EMMA, ITEM)
Fashioning the Fictive: Literary Creation from Inspiration to Publication (20th and 21st Century British and Irish Novels, Short Stories, and Poems)
11-12 October 2013, University Paul Valéry- Montpellier III
Many novelists, poets, and short-story writers have saved materials that capture the creative process and have preserved the way in which they crafted their work. The purpose of this international conference is to explore how writers and poets create their novels, short stories or poems from inspiration to publication and beyond.
Although the complete paper trail of any given author’s work rarely survives or is available, in many instances enough material remains to tell some of the story of its creation. A close examination of unpublished and published materials from notebooks, diaries, sketches and rough drafts with extensive revisions to typescripts and galley proofs, enables scholars to trace the evolution and translation of original impulse into a final published text. Autobiographical material, correspondence with friends, colleagues, and editors can, of course, shed further light on a writer’s approach to fashioning the fictive. And beyond the archival revelations are disclosures in recorded radio and television broadcasts, captured on tape or in transcripts, as well as in authors’ published interviews, essays and book reviews.
In what ways does our study of revisions give us a better understanding of their published work? At various stages, writers choose to add or remove material that, however minor or extensive, can substantially alter their work. The deletion of a passage, for instance, can make way for a perhaps more wide-ranging unsaid that enlists the reader’s participation.
How does the actual choice and use of writing tools influence the creative process? Some authors write exclusively by hand, others compose directly on the typewriter or word processor before making autograph revisions, others use a combination of the two, and many employ collage techniques that anticipate the cutting and pasting so easily achieved on a computer.
Participants can explore the ways in which some writers work with the same thematic material across genres, successfully transforming, in certain instances, one of their works from one genre into another (such as a poem into a short story, or a short story into a play or a novel). And what does a writer's appropriation and transposition of outside cultural influences reveal about the creative process, and in what ways does such an inspired transmutation shape the final work?
Do writers’ ethical and moral considerations have an impact on their subject matter and editorial decisions? While some writers have been censored by external voices, others may instead monitor themselves. Is it then possible to detect such considerations at various stages of their work? Editorial suggestions for revision may enter into the process as well, after authors submit for publication what they consider to be their final version, and can transform texts just as dramatically—and sometimes enhance or spoil them.
The study of the creative process is not, however, limited to the stages that precede the first published text. In some cases, dissatisfied with the initial publication, writers and poets argue for revising or reworking the text and in some cases republishing it.
We welcome proposals for papers of 300-500 words. They should be sent together with a short biography and institutional affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 31st March 2013. Participants in this international conference will have the opportunity to submit their final articles for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Therefore, for the final article, only material the participant has been authorized to publish should be included.
Jonathan Bloom, Senior Lecturer (Université Paris-Dauphine), member of EMMA EA741 (Etudes Montpellieraines du Monde Anglophone)
Catherine Rovera, Senior Lecturer (Université Paris-Dauphine), member of ITEM (Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes) CNRS UMR-8132-SHS