5 pm to 7 pm
“The Old Weird”
Kate Marshall, University of Notre Dame
This paper will provide an exploration of the literary affiliations of the weird, looking in particular at the character of the nineteenth century American literary imagination that subtends the imagined worlds of what is called “the new weird” in contemporary fiction and the speculative theories that share many of its interests. A standard genealogy of the weird might move from Melville to Miéville by way of the Weird Tales writers of the 1920s and 1930s. However, I will shift the focus of such affiliations to a much overlooked resource of contemporary literary weirdness, the novels and stories of late nineteenth century American realism and naturalism. By doing so, I’ll be suggesting that many of the interests guiding speculative and new materialist thinkers in current critical debates - interests including the modalities of indifference, the cosmic, and external or object agencies - have an important and understudied expression in the novel form.
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