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2020 MLA CFP

EDIS MLA panel 2021 – “‘My Splendors are Menagerie’: the Persistence of Emily Dickinson’s Voice in Art Forms Other than Literature”

My Splendors, are Menagerie –
But their Competeless Show
Will entertain the Centuries
When I, am long ago,
An Island in dishonored Grass –
Whom none but Beetles – know. (F319)

The proleptic last stanza of poem F319 presents Emily Dickinson’s “Splendors” as a “Menagerie” whose unrivaled performance (“their Competeless Show”) will persist long after the poet’s death. Dickinson’s “Splendors” are indeed diverse and persistent, since her life and work have inspired other artists (playwrights, choreographers, screenwriters, composers, visual artists, …) to create new works that both celebrate the uniqueness of Dickinson’s voice and allow these artists to find their own. This panel therefore proposes to examine the many ways in which Emily Dickinson’s works and her unique voice persists, endures, through forms of art other than literature. Possible topics for the panels include:

  • Emily Dickinson and the performing arts (dance, theatre, opera, music,…)
  • Emily Dickinson and visual arts
  • persistence through other forms of art as a “Darwinian” evolutionary strategy, changing, evolving to survive in modern times
  • persistence as natural continuance: what in Dickinson’s poetry makes her work naturally suited to adaptations into other art forms?
  • persistence as resistance: have artists been inspired by Dickinson’s revolutionary style and eschewing of poetic/social conventions to create their own revolutionary works? Which aspect(s) of resistance in Dickinson’s life and work appeal the most to other artistic creators?
  • more broadly, papers could consider Dickinson in relation to other writers of the American Renaissance and in the overarching context of the American Renaissance: how has the pioneer spirit of the American Renaissance translated into other works of art? Are there differences/similarities in the ways these writers have inspired visual/performing artists?

Abstracts (250-300 words) must be sent before March 29, 2020, to Adeline Chevrier-Bosseau (